7 Travel Tips We Learned From Our Favorite Eighties Movies


(AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)

How many times has your favorite 1980’s movie saved your life?

You know, like the time you were dumped, stumbled on a marathon of Sixteen Candles, and watched it back-to-back with boxes of Thin Mints and tissues?

Or maybe it was reminiscing with your good ol’ pals in The Breakfast Club about if you should put down the doobage and go out and make something of yourself.

And what about that time you found yourself stranded on Oct. 30 without the faintest idea of what to wear on Halloween? Thank you, Risky Business!

Our favorite ‘80s flicks have been pretty dependable friends throughout the years. They’ve made us belly-laugh to tears, they’ve made us ugly-face cry, and they’ve imparted nuggets of wisdom via monologues that we can’t help but reference like a nerdy dad at any given moment: “As Ferris Bueller would say, life goes by pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” (Yeah, we know you’ve said it.)

So if you’re a globetrotter, jet-setter, or nomad, why not turn to the films we cinematically revere for life lessons?

Here are seven travel rules to live by, inspired by the very characters that shaped the people we are today.

1. Top Gun - Pick the Best Wingman

Find the Goose to your Maverick! The people you travel with can make or break your trip, so be sure to pick your best travel companion(s) for your particular destination or getaway. Is your best drinking buddy the one you should go on a yoga retreat with? Probably not. So make sure to put some thought into how to make the trip most memorable by traveling with the right people.

If finding your Goose is what you’re after, there are tons of trips for solo travelers who are sure to connect with others while living out a one-of-a-kind adventure: Taglit-Birthright Israel transports Jewish young adults 18-26 from all over to their homeland; Peru Treks guides groups of hikers from beginner to experienced up the four-day Inca Trail of Machu Picchu in Peru; and Outward Bound connects youths and adults for educational water and land expeditions, where you can backpack, sail, canoe—you name it. After experiences like those, you’re sure to walk away with a friend for life.

Read more: How to pick your perfect travel pal.


(AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off - Leave Your Car With Someone You Trust

Whose heart didn’t break for Cameron when he discovered that his borrowed dad’s Ferrari had been taken on a joyride? Thanks to this favorite flick about playing hooky (and getting away with it), we constantly feel a fleeting moment of paranoia when handing the car keys over to the valet or garage attendant. When going away on vacation for a week or even for a long weekend, make sure your precious cargo is locked up safely at home, or check out your local airport’s parking experiences. We’re a big fan of Wally Park, which is affordable, easy, and offers quick door-to-door service before and after your flight.


(AP Photo/Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

3. Dirty Dancing - Be Nice to the Help

You might just fall in love with one of them! Baby and Johnny broke class barriers by taking their romance public at a stuffy country-club resort in the Catskill Mountains. Who wasn’t left with overwhelming love and appreciation for the staff after the final scene of that movie? So whether dining in Brazil, hopping a cab in Spain, or relishing an overnight stay in Thailand, here’s an all-inclusive guide from Conde Nast Traveler as to how to thank them. Be sure to brush up—or bookmark it!


(Photo: Associated Press)

4. Beetlejuice - Research Your Vacation Home Away From Home

We bet that if the Deetzes had today’s reference tools at their fingertips, they would have never ended up buying a haunted home—or possessively singing “Day-O” around the dinner table, for that matter. Today’s consumer-run review sites and apps can help to efficiently steer you toward or away from a hotel, hostel, bungalow, or apartment disaster. We all know that star ratings are a thing of the past, so before you book be sure to check out user reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, or HotelsCheap. If renting is what you’re looking for, AirBnB boasts a database of owners looking to rent their homes in over 192 countries, and Couchsurfing will find you a couch (yes, a couch) in over 100,000 cities.


(Photo: Associated Press)

5. Back to the Future - Take Pictures!

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads,” Doc tells Marty McFly. The top takeaway from this sci-fi trilogy is that you can’t turn back the hands of time. So you best make sure to capture the present by snapping photos, and then share them on social media. We’ve learned the hard way that your iPhone or Smartphone isn’t meant for every turf and surf so check out GoPro for underwater cameras and options to capture video while tackling any terrain.


(Photo: 1988 Paramount HE. All rights reserved)

6. Coming to America - Brush Up on Your Destination’s Culture

African Prince Akeem showed us the pitfalls of being a stranger in a strange land, but in reality, being a fish out of water isn’t so funny. Signaling to locals that you are wading in unchartered territories can make you a target for petty theft or worse (no fanny packs, Americans!). The best way to blend in and get the most out of your experience is to do your research. Get to know the location that you are visiting by perusing an extensive travel guide, such as Frommer’s or LonelyPlanet.com or try your hand at learning the language via sites such as Busuu or apps like Byki, which uses a flashcard program.


7. Fast Times at Ridgemont High - Make Sure to Relax

Iconic stoner Jeff Spicoli said it best: “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” All you need in order to make a vacation a success is to be in a place that helps you relax. Jetsetter, Living Social, and Groupon offer daily deals and will send alerts straight to your inbox. The search app HotelTonight is great for same-day hotel bookings and HostelWorld pulls from a directory of budget hostels and B&Bs in your desired area. Happy (and affordable) hunting!

Jackie Strause is a writer who recently relocated from NYC to LA. She has edited at some of the largest women’s magazines in America, including Life & Style Weekly and In Touch Weekly. She is a self-described pop-culture junkie and when she isn’t binge-watching movies or TV series on Netflix, she is living out her 2014 resolution to try something she’s never done or visit somewhere she’s never been once a week.

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