Q: Could you please let people know that sometimes passengers place their belongings in overhead bins in front of their seats because there is no storage space available directly above them? I flew JetBlue recently and had a seat in the second-to-last row on the plane. The overhead compartment above my seat was labeled "Emergency Equipment only" and the compartments nearby were already too full for my bag, so I had no choice but to move forward with it. I wasn't trying to be a jerk -- that was the only place to put my bag.
A: I think that's understandable. And it's important to remember that the vast majority of travelers aren't deliberately trying to be selfish with the overhead space. The people I have the biggest problem with are those who board the plane, throw their stuff in the first open overhead bin and blithely proceed to seats in the far back. At least you took your bag to the back and looked for space nearby. Some people don't even try, and that's rude.
Q: Should I fold bills when I tip housekeeping, or lay them out flat?
A: It doesn't matter if the bills are folded, flat or made into little origami birds. Housekeeping will just be happy that you remembered to tip. Just make sure they're somewhere obvious, like on the bed.
Q: Do kids belong in Vegas? It's one of the few places my family can fly to cheaply, but I'm not sure it's a good idea.
A: I think staying with kids in a hotel on the Strip could be tough. Sure, some of the hotels have amenities and attractions that kids would like (the pool and aquarium at Mandalay Bay, for example), but you're going to have to deal with the casinos, and the cabs with adult-oriented advertisements, and the people handing out cards for strip clubs ... not to mention plenty of inebriated fools.
I don't know how old your kids are, but you need to consider if they can deal with that (and if you can deal with discussing it with them). However, there are resorts in other parts of town, like Summerlin, that are much more family-friendly. You could base your vacation at your hotel's pool, rent a car and do some cool day trips, and have a great time without ever setting foot on the Strip.
Q: My mother's friend lives in a city that I frequently visit on business. She has mentioned many times that I'm welcome to stay with her whenever I'm in town. Well, I have to go there next week, and apparently there's a huge convention taking place. There are literally no hotels available under my per-night budget that don't look frighteningly sketchy. I know my colleagues are going to ask where I'm staying, though, and I don't really want to say, "With my mom's best friend," because they'll tease me. What can I do?
A: You could try looking for a different hotel for each night of your stay. Moving between them is annoying, but you might have better luck finding hotels with a single night's availability instead of three or four nights in a row. But if that doesn't work, I think your choices are stay with your mom's friend and deal with explaining it, or change the dates of your trip, citing the conference.
Actually, I think you might get some brownie points for being willing to stay with your mom's friend. "Oh, there's some sort of enormous convention in town and all the hotels were booked except for the Ritz, but I know these are really important meetings, so I decided to stay with a family friend instead of skipping them," makes you sound like a dedicated employee.
Email travel-etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.