I’m going to keep this brief, because let’s face facts, our society has become conditioned to switch our focus every ten seconds…
I’ve already lost you, haven’t I?
Oh well, for those of you who are still here, we’ll jump right in and see what happens. Worked on my honeymoon…
10) Leave your baggage at home! To be clear, I’m not referring to your luggage (more on that in a moment). No, I’m referring to your mental clutter; all of those little details that are so powerful they not only nag at you late at night, they haunt your time in the waking world.
- That weaselly idiot Johnson at work. (Everyone has one; you would have ended him years ago but you’re too pretty to go to prison.)
- The price of gas.
- Your ever-growing metaphorical mountain of bills – which is about to grow even larger after your latest trip.
- The inescapable notion that your offspring regard you with as much respect as one would a serial killer. Or a Kardashian.
- The fact that your wife hasn’t done that thing with her tongue in over a decade.
- The fact your dog can do that tongue thing to itself.
- The fact you’re not a dog.
- All those aches and pains that occur more frequently every day.
- The delightful prospect of death.
It may be easy for me to say – and even easier to type – but you need to shove those little fears/realizations/details to the back of your brain-box while you’re traveling. If you can’t, well then there’s no point in leaving your driveway. This point pops up in my writing often. (You’ll see it covered again in my second book, assuming it ever sees the light of day.)
But I cannot stress it enough.
I’ve encountered guests whose minds are literally weighed down with such clutter every day for seventeen years and I have to tell you, it’s starting to get old.
9) Don’t bring your mistress/boy-toy to the same hotel you visit with your spouse. If you have to ask for more information about this one… you’re not worth saving. Enjoy your private reality, you poor, deluded bastard.
8) If you insist on traveling with your own pillow, invest in a clean, strong tote bag. Germs are not your friend, my friend. They exist for a singular purpose: to multiply. Throwing your pillow in the as-far-from-sanitary-as-Kris-Jenner-is-to-sanity-trunk of your car before placing it on a luggage cart that has had more bags on it than Madonna is a great way to spread those germs all over your face.
So don’t do it. Practice safe sleeping. The body you keep germ-free will be your own.
7) Take the road less traveled. Though not the actual road; that’s how you wind up in a horror movie. What you need to do is take advantage of the places and experiences your destination affords. Bellmen and concierges can be invaluable allies.
Whenever possible, consult a local. They’ll steer you in the right direction. Unless you tick them off, then all bets are off.
6) Play those cards close to the vest, gambler! You’ll meet many friendly and fascinating people along the road, kids.
But they aren’t the only souls out there.
Be ever-vigilant of the rapscallions, the grifters, the con artists. Don’t shout room numbers out. Don’t flash your wad. Use a credit card whenever possible. (Just be sure to pay it off at the end of the month; you’re not crashing on my couch, you bankrupt schmuck.) Don’t travel like a secret agent; just be smarter than the average traveling bear.
5) Be flexible – and not just in the bedroom. In travel, and in life in general, one must learn to expect the unexpected. Hell, at this stage in my hospitality career and life, I welcome it. The X factor keeps my existence from becoming as stale as an airport sandwich.
I have no idea what’s coming when I clock in. It could be a drunken cast member of The Sopranos who passes out in the hallway, a young virginal guest who decides to entrust me with the knowledge that she intends to lose “the purity of her secret garden” in the hotel (while Like A Virgin plays), or even a visit from a miserly, cranky CNN anchor who asks for change from a five dollar bill. Good times, indeed.
Granted, my life is not typical of… well, anyone’s. But your vacation is sure to be fraught with moments of peril, you can count on it. Make the most of those moments; turn them around and be grateful for the intervention of Fate.
And speaking of unexpected moments…
4) See the humor in every situation. For example, here is an exchange between myself and a female bus traveler. The “young” lady in question was actually older than soil itself but that didn’t prevent her from enjoying a chuckle or two.
GOLDEN OLDIE: (Responding to my knock at her door.) Who is it?
ME: It’s the bellman with your bags, miss.
GO: Is it really the bellman?
ME: Yes, but let’s be honest, miss… a serial killer wouldn’t answer “It’s a serial killer!”, would they?
GO: (Chuckling slightly.) No, but I’m still not sure.
ME: (Knowing the path is clear.) Listen, lady… you don’t have much time left! Open the door!
That did it. She broke into a fit of hysterical laughter that almost depleted her oxygen tank. She didn’t freak out at my “comedic genius”, she ran with it and everyone won.
3) If you can’t afford to travel… DON’T! Yes, this is strange advice when one considers the source, but ponder this: couples fight about money more than anything else. And I have to serve those couples.
- Travel is wonderful.
- Travel expands our consciousness.
- Travel can relieve our stress and extend our lifespan.
- Travel can keep us from snapping and finally stuffing Johnson’s face in the office paper shredder.
- Debt sucks.
Don’t let debt win. People have forgotten how to budget. Reacquaint yourself with that ancient practice and your life will be less stressful. Trust me.
2) Keep it clean! To be clear, I’m referring to…
Your car: A vehicle covered in coffee cups, empty cigarette packages and fast food containers will start to smell like the “dressing room” of an adult film shoot pretty fast. You may not realize it, but those odors will wear you down before the fun even begins.
Your luggage: Compartmentalize everything; pack shirts, socks, your Batman Underoos/underwear, etc. in separate bags. You’ll be able to unpack in a flash and get on with the business of having fun!
Your room: A clean space effects your state of mind. And housekeepers put up with enough garbage as it is.
1) Be efficient. You may scoff, but if you can’t unload your vehicle in less than sixty seconds? Well then, you’ve failed, Grasshopper. When you arrive at your hotel/resort/cave/destination, the mission is clear: Make the most of your time. Squeeze every ounce of fun out of your vacation because you’re on a Jack Baueresque timer, my friends.
And that clock waits for no one.
So clean out the kids’ sporting equipment, the dead hookers, the cloth shopping bags, etc., and above all, pack as much as you can in as few bags/suitcases as is humanly possible. It’ll be better for you, for your bellman, and for America.
This concludes our time together. See you in the lobby, kids…