Many movies and television shows have painted the idea of time-travel as both wondrous and dangerous. One moment you can be marveling at a beautiful futuristic society, and the next you could be running for your life from a ferocious Velociraptor in the Cretaceous period.
While both events are possible to a time traveler, life and death aren't the only things that you have to worry about when exploring different time periods. Cultures have changed drastically over the years, and you'll have to make some effort to blend in.
Now, if you're planning on pursuing a career in the time travel industry, make sure you consider a few points.
Watch Your Language
If you look back thirty years, you can easily see how our speaking language has changed. "Crunk" and "righteous" for instance, became "fleek" and "awesome." That may seem simple enough, but depending how far you travel, there are quite a few words that don't exactly mean the same thing that they do today.
For example, if you go back about five hundred years ago, it wouldn't be wise to try to "flirt" with someone. Especially because back then, to flirt meant to flick something away. Perhaps that isn't the best way to express romantic interest.
You always have to be careful when complimenting people in other time periods as well. For instance never call someone a nice person. Or how about just don't refer to them as "nice" in general. Especially because nice used to mean silly and/or foolish. Feel free to call them "awful" as much as they like, especially back in the 1700s when awful actually meant "awe-inspiring."
Mind Your Manners
Believe it or not, our society isn't quite as courteous as it used to be. If you want to take someone to the movies, you can send them a text or drop them a message on social media. If you were to travel to Victorian England, taking a companion to the theater would be much more laborious.
In order to take a woman to the theater, you'd have to first send a letter inviting her to the event, and she has to reply immediately. If she agrees to go with you, then you have to purchase the best seats available, sit next to her, accompany her to the foyer during intermissions (unless she chooses to stay in her seat), and applaud politely at the end of the performance. Not to mention it'd be impolite to show romantic affection to each other in the theater, so no hand-holding or arms around the shoulders (you know guys: The move).
Just in case any of you prospective time travelers are looking to find your soul mate in a Victorian opera house, make sure you buy some good stationary and an appropriate suit for the occasion. Oh yeah, suit, that reminds me...
Be Careful How You Dress
The t-shirts, blue jeans and hoodies that you see around today aren't exactly optimal attire for, say, the 1930s, where we see Lucy and the crew in the Timeless trailer. Men would have to ditch t-shirts in favor of button-up shirts and overcoats. And don't forget those fashionable fedoras!
Girls get a bevy of dresses, gowns, and furs to strut about in. And forget about long, styled hair. Women in the 1930s had their hair up, often with various stylish hats to wear in public. So Lucy better have a change of clothes when she arrives in the past, or else her modern fashion could disrupt the future as we know it!
Ditch The Smart Phone
Alright, it might be fun to go back and meddle around a bit. You could take a page from the Dan Cummins book of comedy and give a high-five to the guy who was just about to invent the high-five. You could spy on your parents when they were children so that you could have some dirt on them. You could even go bite your thumb at Shakespeare. Just whatever you do, leave your Samsung Galaxy at home.
If you traveled to the future with current technology, they might just think that you have some awesome antiques (or rusty pieces of scrap). But if you go back to the middle ages and show off your sick Pokemon Go skills, you might just doom our present time to a post-apocalyptic world ruled by sentient robot overlords. Plus you won't have anywhere to charge your phone if it dies.
Avoid Yourself At All Costs
This might be the most cliche time travel trope in movies like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but it's repeated for a reason. Never ever ever visit your past or future self. According to some theories, meeting yourself could put an end to your very existence.
Even if the consequences aren't quite that severe, you could seriously mess up your present by interacting with your past self. If you try to give yourself any helpful advice, it could potentially harm you back in the future. And if you gain knowledge on your future self, it could influence your present decisions, which could disrupt your future self's own existence. How about you just take the safe path and wear a thick hoodie every time you're around your past or future selves?
Whether you're hopping aboard Doctor Who's TARDIS or you're enhancing your DeLorean for a trip to the past, make sure you do your cultural research first. You don't want to show up in ancient Rome sporting blue jeans. Or maybe you do. They're probably more comfortable than tunics anyways.
Make sure to check out Timeless on NBC, starting October 3, 2016.