40 Keys to Being a Traveling Gentleman

Education begins the gentleman, but reading, travel, good company and reflection must finish him.-Locke

The Gentleman Traveler is a rare breed.  In our travels we have identified some traits that we admire in men that travel well.  Here are a collection of a few:

1)  Open doors

This is first on the list because it is the essence of being a gentleman.  Always put others before yourself.

tie a tie

Know your knots

2)  Be knotty

Be able to tie the following:  Bow-tie, Full and Half Windsor, and Four in Hand.  Never, under any circumstances wear a clip on.

3)  Listen

A gentleman always focuses on the other person.  Focus in on the person reading the menu, offering directions, interpreting the Picasso or sharing her feelings.

4)  Golden rule

It applies to all the gentleman’s activities.

5)  Tip well

Be well versed in the local tradition, and give a little more than expected.  Always reward great service.

6)  Look sharp

Always dress a little better than is expected.  T shirt and jeans means button down shirt and jeans with no holes.  Business casual dinner means khakis, dress shirt and jacket.

7)  Know your place

In advance of traveling, a gentlemen bones up on the history of the area.  Do not neglect: region, culture, food and customs.

8)  Ask deep questions

Gentlemen ask good questions.  Travel offers a cold, refreshing, wellspring of knowledge.  Drink deep my friend.

9)  Hydrate

Speaking of drinking….Hydrate.  Basic wellness 101.  Water preserves physical and mental wellbeing.  Always be on your game.

Always pack the right things.

Always pack the right things.

10)  Carry cash

A gentleman’s billfold always has a modest amount local currency.  Always have some small bills for tipping.

11)  Know the town

In advance of arrival, pull up Google maps and get a feel for the town.  Before you land, pull out the airplane magazine, turn to page 53 and find your arrival airport.  Understand it’s shape.  Identify the baggage claim and taxi stand.

12)  Never lose your cool

A gentleman never, ever losses his cool.  No excuses.  Regardless of how late the plane/food/ect is, you must always be polite, factual and kind.

13)  Pack options

On the spur of the moment a gentleman will get invited to an artist’s home for tea in Savannah, Georgia.   Be prepared to pull something out of the suitcase that would be appropriate.

14)  Minimize

A gentleman, a packrat is not.  Avoid carrying too many items on ones person whilst sightseeing.

15)  Drive Well

The  ability to drive a clutch goes without saying.  The ability to drive everything from a Volkswagen bug to a Ferrari 459 is crucial.  Be familiar with all kinds of autos.   Backing, parking, and winter driving skills are mandatory.

16)  Shine your shoes

This falls under the don’t be a slob category.  Always have a shine on the shoes

Be able to drive anything, anywhere.

Be able to drive anything, anywhere.

17)  Kiss and tell

Never do it.

18)  Write right

Own at least one Montblanc.  Lend it to no one.  Use blue ink.

19)  Know your current events

Stay current on world politics.  Avoid talking about them.

20)  Know the language

You must be able speak the following phrases in Mandarin, French, Italian, Spanish, German and one other obscure language (try Turkish):

Where is the WC?


Thank you

The bill, please.

Goodbye and Hello

You look beautiful.

I love you. (Here is the Fighting Couple’s Cheat Sheet)

21)  Compliment

Always look for the best in every situation.  Offer honest compliments to those in your company.

22)  Be a peacemaker

In disagreements, be the one that offers the olive branch.

23)  Be a fighter

How could we not include this?   Fight only with your significant other.  Pick topics that really matter.

24)  Fly spiffy

Be unique.  Dress up for traveling.

25)  Wear a wristwatch

Time is of the essence.  Pick the right one for the right place.

26)  Pack a jacket

Always have a sport coat packed.

27)  Sweat the details

Have a plan.  Use it only if you have to.

28)  Have financial options

Your wallet should include options should one not work.  Follow our friends World Wanderlusitng on which you should carry.

Be well read.

Be well read.

29)  Key reads—

Read the following books: The World is Flat-Friedman,  Undaunted courage-Ambrose,  Everything by Shakespeare,  Who wants to be CEO-Fox, 5 Love Languages-Chapman, Total Money Makeover- Ramsey, Legends of the Fall-Harrison, For Whom the Bell Tolls-Hemingway, Master and Commander-O’brian, She Comes First-Kerner, Heart of Darkness-Conrad, Count of Monte Cristo-Dumas, Gatsby-Fitzgerald  AND read Atlas Shrugged-Rand twice.

30)  Voluminous vocabulary

Regularly add new words to your vernacular.  Avoid words of the four-letter variety.

31)  Be noteworthy

Carry simple thank you notes with you and extend handwritten thanks to key individuals.

32)  Don’t forget Paris

Visit Paris often.

33)  Be a saint

Be well versed in the world’s key religious perspectives.  Rarely discuss.

34)  Carry a clean kerchief

The accessory of every true gentleman.  Wipe a tear or test the oil level.

35)  Chameleon-istic

Know enough about most things to carry on a convo with a local: sports, current events, fencing, ect.

36)  Early to rise.

Rise Early.  Retire Early.

37)  Protection

Be vigilantly aware of the surroundings.  Do not linger when your spider sense says leave.

38)  Listen to the Locals

A gentleman always seeks the advice of the locals….and nearly always follows it.

39)  Buy art

The gentleman avoids cheap souvenirs.  He is always on the lookout of real craftsman and their wares.

40)  Prosper

A gentleman is always planning his next voyage.  This keeps him alive and thriving.


Regardless if you are at one of the Luxury Hotels London or on safari on the Kalahari, there is a place for the perfect travel gentleman.  Be one.

Did we miss anything?  What else would you add?



3 Responses to 40 Keys to Being a Traveling Gentleman

  1. Jeremy October 5, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    Being friendly, patient and knowledgeable of the local customs will take you a long way in the world … great list!

  2. Turkey Tours October 22, 2014 at 4:43 am #

    Great post, I am sure this list gonna help many traveller around the globe to be a good traveller..

  3. Molly December 7, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    Love this list…I plan to adopt most of these as a female traveler :)