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How close is too close at the beach?

Question: I was at the beach two weeks ago. We got there early and sat near the entrance in a really great spot. As the day went on, however, the fog burned off and it got very hot, and a lot of other people joined us. While we were taking a walk, another family put their blanket right next to ours.

I’m not exaggerating when I say there was about 1 inch of open sand between the blankets. There wasn’t even room to put a soda can between them. Obviously, we didn’t expect to have 10 feet of space on all sides of us for the entire day, but if this other family had walked 50 feet to the left or right, there were plenty of places where they could have put their blanket without being right next to someone else. They were also very annoying — they stayed on the blanket the entire time, and they never stopped talking (loudly).

Isn’t this kind of rude?

Answer: One single inch of space between blankets? Yes, I think that’s too close, and most TripAdvisor travelers agree. We recently did a survey, asking how close is too close for beach-blanket placement. The closest acceptable distance to sit next to strangers at a crowded beach is 3 feet, according to 27 percent of our 1,400 respondents. Twenty-six percent say you need to leave at least 6 feet between blankets. So I think your “neighbors” should have kept walking down the beach.

That said, however, if you don’t want other beachgoers right next to you, walk farther down the beach yourself when you arrive. When it gets crowded, people will fill in the spaces nearest the entrance point first. Yes, they should walk farther down where there’s more open space, but as you’ve seen, a lot of them don’t. So if space is important to you, schlep your things as far as you can from the entrance.

Q: What can you do if someone sitting near you on a red-eye flight is snoring very loudly?

A: You can’t do much, unfortunately. It’s not like they’re actively trying to bother you. Bring good noise-canceling headphones or good earplugs and do your best to ignore the snoring.

Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at deartripadvisor@tripadvisor.com.

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