Etiquette expert shares unwritten holiday rules from poolside manners to tipping

We've all been on holiday only to find that there's one person at the resort slightly ruining everyone else's experience.

Whether it's being obnoxiously loud, hogging the best poolside spots, or constantly wanting to chat to you about their daily life even when you've got your book in your hands, they're usually harmless but irritating nonetheless.

But now, etiquette expert William Hanson has offered a helping hand by sharing the unwritten holiday rules we should all be following – and hopefully, offer some guidance for those who haven't been taking note.

From being friendly to staff, to small ways to avoid annoying the guests in the next room, check out his top tips exclusively shared with Mirror Online…

  • When you’re a hotel guest, always be gracious to staff. If you're abroad, try to learn the words for thank you in the local language, and use them whenever possible.
  • Be considerate of others when coming back late. Not everyone may be as raucous as you, so keep your revelries to the hotel bar, not the room.
  • Try not to leave the room in a complete mess. A little untidiness is understandable, trashing the place is not.

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  • Remember to brush up on the tipping etiquette of the country you’re visiting. In some cultures it’s polite, in others it isn’t — and the percentage can vary.
  • Travelling is a tiring business but don’t take it out on the staff. It’s not their fault your airline fumbled your flight connection, and they’re probably doing everything within their power to help you. Put on a brave face and give them a smile, even if you've had the journey from hell!

As for poolside etiquette? Whether it's reserving sun loungers, having a cocktail or getting to know your fellow holidaymakers, there are some unspoken rules we should all be following…

  • Reserving sun loungers with a towel for longer than 30 minutes is a big no-no, beyond that grace period it’s first come first served.
  • Keep splashing to a minimum – it’s not a waterpark, and no one likes a showoff.
  • Poolside drinking is all very well, but try not to get too rowdy while others are having a snooze. If you must drink, plastic tumblers to avoid broken glass are usually acceptable.

William Hanson: Teacups and Tiaras – A History of Etiquette (for the socially less fortunate) is on a UK tour from Monday 2 March to Wednesday 22 April 2020. Tickets start from £24, concessions from £19. Find out more at

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