Sunday, November 29, 2015         


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Pleasant smells can beat bad odors

By McClatchy News Services


Question: What do I do if the person sitting next to me on a plane has horrible foot odor? This guy last week kept his shoes on (thank heavens), but I could still smell the unmistakable aroma of sweaty feet. It was really, really gross.

Answer: Well, it's not like he's going to be able to do much about it during the flight, unfortunately, so it's best to be prepared for this sort of situation by packing something that smells good to you and sniffing it occasionally during the flight. I have a lip balm that smells like freshly squeezed lemons -- that's been a lifesaver on past flights when I've been stuck next to rather ripe seatmates. Little tins of solid perfume work well for this, too. It's the old medieval pomander principle: If you can't do anything about the bad smell, you carry something that smells better.

Q: Could you please tell people that it's not OK to whistle along with the background music being played in, say, a rental-car shuttle? This guy sitting next to me took it upon himself to treat the bus to a rendition of a Billy Joel song as we drove from the terminal to the rental-car place, and it was really annoying.

A: You've just told them yourself. And yes, whistling to music, like singing along, is not cool in public. But, dear reader, there are these wonderful inventions called headphones that you can use to drown out folks like this so they won't bother you.

Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at

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