A Preppy Survival Guide: How to Travel Like a Civilized Human Being
Sometimes things just don’t go smoothly at an airport. (Photo: Think Stock)
Nothing makes me more excited than planning a vacation and then actually going on that vacation. My imagination runs wild, fantasizing about indulgent hotel rooms, the incredible sights I’ll see, the fantastic meals I’ll eat, and the future, “Oh this little top? I picked it up in a teeny shop right off the beach in Trancoso” conversations I’ll have to have when I return home.
But enough about me. Before you even board your first flight to Bahia, you must obey the public protocols in the airport and on the plane. Why must you? Because it is the only right and decent way to travel if you don’t go by private jet, donkey, or share the name Branson. This is how nice people do it. You are a nice person.
Going Through Security
By now it would be surprising if any traveler were surprised that going through airline security is the most time-consuming portion of any trip—whether you are traveling on business or for personal reasons. The long snaking line is always filled with people who are drinking from enormous tureens of bottled water, who wear layers of sweaters, waistcoats, jerkins, bodkins, and dickeys … and carry a multitude of electronic equipment. Most of the time you will be stalled behind tourists who do not prepare themselves for the conveyer belt routine of undressing, exposing their toiletries, debelting their pants, unshodding their feet, and turning on their laptops. (Sir, over there with the large fanny pack, I’m speaking to you. Take that vile thing off your waist and put in in the bin. Yes, you.) Eventually, even that family with four children under the age of 6 will figure it out, hopefully with time for you to make it to your gate. At the very least, be mindful that though style is almost as important as politeness, wearing your knee-high gladiator boots will cause you to be the most disliked passenger at Miami International Airport. Wear slip-ons, and you will not disturb the peace.
An airport mishap. (Photo: Lori Greig)
Where was it written that Walgreens made the best travel bags? I’m not talking about the totes they sell in their ubiquitous pharmacies/groceries/sushi stores; I’m talking about their plastic shopping bags. What an insult to Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot! (Not to mention Tumi.) Whenever the line for the escalator is especially long and energetic in an airport terminal, I’m invariably standing behind someone with a matched set of bulging Walgreens luggage, worried that the overstuffed bag poised above me will burst. And what happens when said bags are hoisted into the overhead compartments? They do not fasten and they are forever spilling out their contents. I consider these valises a pitfall of modern travel. In a perfect world, of course, we would all check all our luggage—free of charge. Then we could sashay around the airport unencumbered, without worry that if we needed to go to the bathroom, or to visit the unappealing food courts we wouldn’t have to take all our carry-ons with us. Upon landing, miraculously, our bags would be unloaded simultaneously with the passengers, so that we wouldn’t have to wait another 45 minutes to be reunited with our black ballistic nylon rolling bags. A woman can dream, can’t she?