1) Don’t risk bankruptcy for a good time. If you can’t afford to travel… Don’t. Look for deals online. Pay off your credit cards and stock up on cash you can afford to throw away on overpriced junk like Starbucks coffee or Niagara Falls: Home of The Hook” t-shirts. Okay, they don’t really have “Niagara Falls: Home of The Hook” t-shirts. But they should.
Create a travel budget for yourself. Stick to it. The truth is, most people can’t afford to travel but they risk melting their credit cards and plunging themselves into a black hole of debt nevertheless.
Don’t be one of those people.
2) Leave your baggage at home. The right frame of mind is the key to a successful vacation. The only one who can ruin your trip is you. If you can’t commit to cutting your demons loose for a little while, then stay home! I’ve seen what happens when a tightly-wound traveller unravels, and it’s not pretty.
3) Don’t be a douchebag while travelling. If you are a douchebag, don’t be you.
4) Make a list while packing and check it twice before you leave. Hey, it works for the fat guy in the red suit.
5) If you insist on packing your own pillow, for Dog’s sake, put it in a bag. You don’t want to know what how many different forms of bacteria will attach themselves to the thing you lay your face on at night.
6) Strollers and wheelchairs are not luggage carts. Only luggage carts are luggage carts. Never forget this. Grandma needs her wheelchair and Junior needs his conveyance.
7) Purchase a suitcase or duffel bag. Filling your trunk one item at a time may seem like a good idea at the time, but so was putting the Kardashians on TV. And we all know how well that turned out, don’t we? And by the way, pack your extra, smelly, dirty footwear in a bag, okay?
8) Get used to lines. You’re not the only one travelling and you never will be. Use the time to size up your fellow travellers and ridicule their appearance and mannerisms.
9) Keep it together, man! When a Front Desk clerk tells you your room isn’t ready you have face two options:
- Push for another room. (Trust me, there’s always a clean room available, you just have to be willing to pay for it.)
- Don’t behave like you just received a death sentence. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and store your bags with The Hook until your room is ready. Then go out and have fun.
10) Never shout your room number out loud to your family or travelling companions. At least try to make it harder for thieves to track you down.
11) Never bring your wife to the same hotel you bring your mistress. For that matter, never bring your family to the same hotel you use for your “weekends away with your friends”. You know, the ones where you gorge yourself on hookers, booze and whatever else makes you forget whatever you’re running from?
12) Do your homework. Take a break from whatever “educational” pursuits you’re pursuing on Tube8 or BeccaTube (sorry, Ms. Cord) and research your destination. Make phone calls and ask the right questions as well. Trust me, the last thing you want to is to arrive at your hotel/resort after hours/days of travel time only to be greeted by monkeys in hard hats. You can go back to BeccaTube after, kids, Becca’s antics makes for good viewing.
13) Buy a GPS. It’s 2013, you schmuck! Get with the program! I’m not expecting you to link up with NASA from your mini-van, but don’t waste time – to say nothing of the danger of a knock-down, drag-out battle with your partner while rolling along the highway at 120 miles an hour – searching for an off-ramp.
14) Read your kids the riot act before you leave the house. As I write this, a pack of wild jackals have been rampaging through the lobby for over twenty minutes, a can of Red Bull in each of their hands, drool flying from their foaming mouths.
“Aren’t they cute?” a clueless grandmother chirps.
No. Puppies are cute. My wife is cute. Screaming, over-caffeinated children are a menace and a threat to the travelling public. Make sure your kids know the score. A single look from an older family member should stop a rampaging child dead in his or her tracks.
15) Don’t drive like a tourist. This is self-explanatory. Don’t put yourself, your travellng companions and the residents of your destination at risk by gawking out your window like a cheese-eating high school boy. Pay attention to the road, doofus.
16) Have respect. For other travellers. For your family. For service workers like myself. Leave your good manners at home and sooner or later you’ll pay for it, you have my word on that.
17) Be empathetic towards your housekeeper. I want you to cut loose and enjoy yourself but don’t be a total slob. Housekeepers have it rough so go easy on them whenever possible . (You couldn’t pay me enough to clean up a room after some depraved jerk spends the night partying with three hookers. Semen is the ultimate super glue, kids; get any on your hands and you’ll have to fight the urge to sever your hand with a cleaver. Don’t say your old pal The Hook never taught you anything.)
18) Don’t forget to tip. This brings us back to budgetary issues. Make room in your travel budget for gratuities or I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
Okay, that was a bit overboard. I don’t have the time to look for you. I’m a busy man.
But trust me on this, tipping builds trust and goodwill and you never know when you’ll need a favor from a housekeeper, server or your friendly not-your-neighborhood bellman. Tip me well and the next time you show up with your spouse, I’ll act as though you were never here with your lover. Tip your housekeeper and she’ll actually change your sheets. Gratuities pay for themselves.
19) Create an itinerary for yourself and stick to it. Make the most of your trip and hit all those spots you were thinking of during the planning process. Regrets are a waste of time and lead to lines and ulcers so don’t bother with them.
20) Let the wind take you where it will. Have fun exploring a devil-may-care attitude for once in your structured, home-by-five, in-bed-by-nine, life. Go a little nuts and see what happens.
Yes, I’m all over the place. Get used to it.
21) Go easy on the liquid courage. I know many of you worship at the temple of Ninkasi – “The Lady who fills the mouth” – (she is the goddess of brewing or alcohol.), but too much courage can lead to imbecilic behavior, and imbecilic behavior can lead to disaster. And don’t forget, guys, too much alcohol can lead to a “failure to launch” between the sheets. And ladies, I once had a girl fall off of me after crawling inside a bottle so keep that in mind before overdoing it while travelling.
22) Leave the electronic devices at home.Unless they are absolutely necessary to your existence, leave the tablets and laptops behind. You need your phone, yes, but not to play Candy Crush or check office e-mail while your wife flirts with the waitress. (Seriously, the times, they are a-changin’, kids. Lately I’ve seen more than one bored wife hook up with a server while hubby sits in the bar and plays with his phone.)
And parents, please hear me now: make family memories, not nightmares. I’ve seen so many families glued to their devices instead of engaging in actual conversations and it never ends well in the long run.
23) Listen to the experts. Enough said?
24) Expect the unexpected. Always. Murphy’s Law is unavoidable. (This Murphy guy was a barrel of laughs, wasn’t he? His wife must have drank heavily.) This rule can be applied to your life in general. You can’t control the universe. (You can’t, can you? But if you can, then I need a word or two.) All you can do is control how you react to whatever the universe throws at you, so just remember…
“I’m here to have fun, not to despair. I can handle anything. The Hook has faith in me.”
25) Vacations, like our very existence , are finite. Live life to the fullest while travelling. Otherwise there’s no point in walking out your front door.
And that’s all I have to say about that.