How To Be a Cheerful Holiday Traveler!
By Burt Carey
Internet junkies can find lists of lists of holiday travel lists these days. There are lists for traveling with kids, lists for visiting grandma’s house, lists for traveling by air, train, bus, car and turtleback… No, I made that one up.
There’s even a list of tips for traveling breast-feeding moms. That one’s real.
Finding the right advice and just the right tips that will get you through the holidays and into 2016 could take longer to research than it would take to watch every episode of Dexter in succession. If you’ve never heard of Dexter, you’re better off doing the research, or begging for cliff’s notes like the gems below I’ve collected from around the web.
Through it all remember this: The holidays are supposed to be fun. You know, laughter and making memories, and remembering memories, and being reminded of those memories you’d rather forget, and wondering why your creepy 85-year-old aunt keeps staring across the room at you. (Just smile. She’ll wonder what you’re up to.)
Granted, my mind doesn’t work in ways normal humans would assume a brain is supposed to function. I tend to go for the unusual, urbane for sure, sometimes sincere, and most certainly always the most ludicrous tips imaginable (because that’s what makes the holidays so much fun).
Of all places to find one absolute gem of a travel tip, I found this on the site of AMAC, the Association of Mature American Citizens. (I digress: Does that mean immature Americans need not apply for membership?) Anyway, AMAC says that when you’re looking for the best prices on hotels, airfare and car rentals, put your computer’s browser into incognito mode and clear the cache. If that sounds foreign to you, ask your teenaged son or daughter to show you how it’s done.
The result will be the lowest prices available, and your cookies won’t be tracked. Again, ask a teenager. Online cookies need more than sugar to make them palatable.
There was another tip on that site that caught my eye — you’ll fit more clothes into your suitcase by rolling them. That one gave me flashbacks of the resultant wrinkled Marine Corps khaki shirts we’d pull from our sea bags on deployments. Now I just pack fewer clothes, which remain amazingly fresh, and I can spend time drinking eggnog (adult version) instead of steaming the wrinkles out of my holiday wardrobe.
I’ve got to give props to the Travel Channel. They do know their business. Picking their best tip is definitely challenging, so I’ve settled on two: Pack earplugs, and don’t get hangry. (Not a typo.)
Earplugs, really? Ear buds are the 21st century version of earplugs. My cell phone carrier assured me that’s the truth. They were only $49.95… Wait. What?
And the hangry thing, now, that’s just plain funny. It’s a take on getting angry when (and probably because) you’re hungry. Don’t let low blood sugar spoil your holiday travels. Keep a good stock of Dunkin’ Donuts, Cheetos and cheesy fish things around so you can keep the humor about you.
OK, I can’t pass it up. Back to AMAC we go, and I’ll quote: “If you want to watch a movie on your iPhone, you don’t have to hold it in your hand for hours. Simply turn your sunglasses upside down and set your phone on top of your new, ingenious iPhone stand. Stuck in the back seat with nowhere to set your phone? Then put your iPhone in a sandwich bag and use paper clips to hang it from the headrest.”
I couldn’t make up better material than that. (Brought to you by Oakley and Ziploc.)
The IndependentTraveler.com is actually a serious travel site, with a sensational list of holiday travel tips. They obviously want their readers to enjoy the hustle, bustle, pushing, shoving, long lines and TSA body cavity searches that are the busiest travel days of the year.
With that in mind, they recommend that you keep your cool with these cautionary words: “Airline employees have considerable power over your well-being. Unfortunately, some enjoy wielding it against you, and few respond well to anger.”
Some folks at USA Today appear to be connecting with the whole holiday-is-supposed-to-be-fun-and-relaxing thing. Their list includes the topics, “Say a prayer,” and “Breathe.” Not bad, grasshopper, not bad.
And don’t forget, if you’ve still got your sense of humor about you when that third flight cancellation leaves you overnight waiting for a connection home, you can always lighten your day by following @TSA on Twitter and Instagram.
Sarcasm aside, may your travels over the coming holidays be filled with tremendous memories, lots of laughter and fun, and that the spirit of the season gives you warmth, strength and good health leading into the New Year.