Since I have been traveling for work almost a year now, I feel I am in a position to offer some insightful travel tips and hints. With any luck, these will not frighten you away from ever traveling again.
1. Sweaters with festive metallic threads will light up a metal detector like a Christmas tree. You will be groped and cavity searched. Happy holidays.
2. Atkins bars show up as liquids in the scanner. They will open your carry on and paw through it. They may or may not grudgingly admit that Atkins bars are not liquids. They will not apologize for accusing you unjustly of smuggling liquids, nor will they apologize for pawing through your bras once again.
3. Sometimes it is quicker to go pick up your rental car first than to go wait for your luggage.
4. Sometimes it is not and they will whisk your bags away to Unclaimed Luggage when all you did was stop to pee and buy a coffee before heading to the luggage carousel.
5. Ice scrapers mysteriously disappear from cars, especially when they are laden with ice and you are late.
6. Do not torment yourself by repeatedly checking the weather before you leave on your trip. Sometimes it will actually be better and sometimes it will be worse. The only constant is that it will change a million times over that 10 days. Get a quick impression. Will it be crappy? Will it be hotter than hell? Will it be cold as f*ck? Pack accordingly and then never look again. Unless you really want to. Or if it looks like the sky is falling. Get a weather app for your phone and you can torment yourself hourly.
7. You will always be seated next to a screaming baby. Some people like to pay to fly their screaming babies first class, so don’t think you will get out of it that way.
8. Everyone in first class will be swilling alcohol. Especially the innocent looking little old ladies, who will get hammered and begin to swear like sailors. A flight attendant friend of mine told me that all that drinking is because in first class the alcohol is “free”. They will drink no matter what. Even on a Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM. Especially on Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM. Especially if they are going to work that day. Because it’s always 5:00 somewhere.
9. No master how slick a traveler you think you are, you will always manage to do something that is wrong, clumsy, and awkward. Get over yourself. You’re not that slick.
10 You will always get lost in the Minneapolis St Paul airport. The architect was drunk. The people who made the signs were drunkerer.
11. You will hate the Denver airport. It will hate you back.
12. The Houston airport always smells like tacos.
13. You will always drop the bag your computer is in.
14. They do not allow you to bring food or drinks into the Delta Sky Club, even though the food and drinks they provide in there are free. Go figure. Yeah. Think about that again. Than, go figure, because I can’t. But you can always sneak them in. I do.
15. While waiting to catch your plane, you will be sitting next to a fat loud business man who is on his cell phone at top volume, thinking he is the Wolf of Wall Street, and looking and sounding like a fool.
16. The computer charge ports will be occupied by bored texting teenagers who have piled their bags into the adjacent seat, which you will have to ask them to move so you can charge your computer.
17. Sometimes your Kindle will spontaneously burst into flames while you are on an airplane. No. Really.
18. You may become trapped in an airport bathroom once all your luggage is dragged in after you. Something will always fall on the floor. The toilet will flush while you are on it. The doors open inwards, so good luck getting out of there.
19. You will suddenly need to poop as soon as you get on the plane.
20. The soap in the bathroom dispensers always look thick and fluffy, but it is watered down and it is never enough.
21. The water in the sink will cut off on you 700 times as you try to wash your hands.
22. You will look at the weirdos at the gate and think, “Thank goodness, I won’t have to deal with them because I am in first class.” They will be sitting next to you in first class.
23. The crossword in your Sky magazine will always be partially worked, in ink.
24. They may or may not detect a weird chemical while doing a random swoop of your carry on. They will not tell you what it is, or if it is dangerous. They will then remove everything from your carry on, even your undies. They will glare at you, and wish they could cart you off to Gitmo.
25. You will eventually be in a situation where you will have to receive a full pat down. They have an entire hour long speech that they are required to give you first. You cannot stop them from giving it by telling then not to worry about it and just get it over with. They will give you the full speech anyway, even if you are late. Especially if you are late.
26. The luggage is loaded on to the plane by large angry mountain gorillas, because they are cheaper to pay than people. This is all the explanation you will need to understand the appearance of your luggage when you get it back. IF you get it back.
27. Your ride to the airport will either be early or late. Either way, it will be the most inconvenient outcome possible.
28. You will sit in the wrong row of seats on the plane many times. At least I do. I like to think of myself as Aisle Impaired. The most common phrase I hear while traveling is, “Excuse me, ma’am, I think you’re sitting in our seat”. I don’t understand how in the hell I keep doing that.
29. Just as you begin to happily think that the seat next to you will be vacant, your seatmate will be the last person who gets on the plane.
30. It may or may not be true that if the person next to you is so obese that they require a seatbelt extender, that the whole plane will tip over sideways in flight.
31. Your rental car’s last occupant was always at least 8 feet tall. All seats, belts and mirrors will be adjusted accordingly.
32. Every single rental car has its gas cap in a different damn place.
33. Your next door neighbor in the hotel will be a sex fiend screamer who likes to bang the headboard against the wall, a family with multiple small children with a father who likes to tickle and wrestle with them so that they scream and giggle while he hoots and hollers, or a drunken cowboy who indefatiguably loves to hurl all available furniture against the wall.
34. Virtually all hotels now are strictly nonsmoking, but someone on your hall will be smoking anyway.
35. Woe betide you if you are in your room when they come to clean it. They will ask you if you want each individual service, in an effort to wear you out and shame you into telling them they can skip vacuuming today. It is not considered acceptable to say, “Just do your damn job!”, even if you really want to, because next time they will spit in your coffee pot.
36. There will always be some elderly person checking in for a week long stay at the desk if you run down there with a quick request. They will question the desk person about each item to be initialed, and argue about whether or not they need to sign it. They will have forgotten what kind of car they drive, and they will have to go outside and look.
37. If you leave canned soda in the trunk of your rental car in a cold climate, it will violently explode and leave Cokesicles hanging from the underside of your trunk lid. If you are lucky, it will be diet. Don’t ask me how I know this.
38. Walmarts are like weird warps in the space-time continuum. Once you enter one, you could be anywhere. You can walk into one in Ohio, and when you walk out you may be in Alabama. Strange but true.
39. Airplane bathrooms are scary biohazards. One day they will discover that Ebola got started there. Never forget to close the seat before flushing, or that weird blue water might get on you. And then you will have Ebola.
40. You will forget about the drink you bought to drink on the plane until you get off the plane.
41. There will always be some chick on the plane who will glare at you for no apparent reason.
42. If there is one person on the plane with peanut allergies, they will not serve anything containing peanuts. This is probably prudent on their part, but I am using this paragraph as a platform to segway into the fact that I think that it is totally weird that I knew no one ever who was allergic to peanuts when I was a kid, and now everybody is. Same deal with gluten. Will they one day no longer serve wheat on planes either? Because if so, please remind me to bring my own snacks.
43. There will always be a kid behind you kicking your seat. Their parents never notice, probably because it keeps the kids occupied.
44. Having children does NOT make you tolerant of other people’s children. Does not. Does not. Actually, it’s usually the crappy parents I’m intolerant of.
45. Someone on the plane is always wearing shorts and flip flops on a flight to North Dakota in winter. It is amusing to ponder how anyone could really be that stupid.
46. Money does not guarantee taste. And no, a fuzzy chartreuse sweat suit that says Juicy Couture across the ass worn with a multicolor Louis Vuitton bag with blaring primary colored logos all over it and gold sequined Uggs do not make you look rich and classy. They just make you look like Walt Disney threw up on you.
47. Someone always has luggage that is so nice that you want to bop them over the head and run away with it. Do not give in to this impulse.
48. Who was the settler who arrived in North Dakota in the dead of winter, surveyed the 8 feet of snow surrounding them, stuck their nose out in the -19° weather and said, “This place is AWESOME. I think I’ll stay”?
49. Your phone battery always runs down much faster than you think it will.
50. Accept the fact that something bizzaro is probably going to happen to you. Today. Revel in it. If nothing else, it will make an awesome blog post.