As someone who is politically active, I nonetheless understand that Consumer Traveler is not a political blog. This post is not about specific politics, but rather as a frequent traveler in a presidential election year, why I usually wear a button for my candidate.

Now, my number one rule about any button I wear is that I don’t initiate conversations. If someone wants to talk, great. While I’ve found that more often than not conversations are positive, I don’t mind if someone wants to disagree.

In addition, I avoid the buttons that are negative towards a candidate. While they can be amusing, they can also be an invitation to unpleasantness.

I’ve been lucky in not having any really negative encounters. More often than not the buttons have led to fun discussions. Admittedly, it makes sense that most people who comment tend to agree with my candidate, but I still had a very enjoyable chat this summer on a cruise ship with an older gentleman from Florida who was voting for the other guy.

Traveling overseas with a political button marks you as an American. But, since I haven’t been traveling anywhere with a State Department advisory (and I don’t seek out overseas protests and political gatherings), that hasn’t bothered me.

Most of my travel is within the United States anyway. But, even just in another city or state, it’s interesting to hear differing views, or even differing versions of the same basic view. Plus, it makes for a little more than the usual tourist connection with locals and fellow travelers.

I do realize that, as a friend once said, “Some people would rather discuss their sex lives than their political views.” That’s fine. But for those of us who feel otherwise, a button can make travel a little more interesting.

And as an extra bonus, talking politics with strangers is usually less stressful than discussing it with friends or relatives.

Have you ever worn your politics on your button while you travel? What have been some of your experiences?

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by L. Allen Brewer