"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
February 9th, 2010
1. Your school reading. Leave that dusty mongo-sized War and Peace at home, because you won’t read it. Trust me, you won’t. You’re supposed to finish the book by the time you get back, so– perfect!– you’ll just read a lot on the plane.
Nope, not happening.
Honestly, you’ll be thinking about how much fun your vacation is going to be, and reading Tolstoy (or Upton Sinclair or Nathanial Hawthorne) will instantly fall to the bottom of your priority list. Classics and the Bahamas don’t mix.
Suggestion: Bring some completely mindless young adult “novel” and read that instead. I read the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants once on the way to Denver. It was the perfect activity, really. I didn’t feel any pressure to finish it or understand it or analyze it, and yet I finished it for that very reason. I now had some more pop culture references under my belt and was able to reasonably mock the book because I had actually read it. Next time you want to read during a flight, try the Twilight series. You can even make a game out of it! Every time a new two-dimensional character is introduced, tilt your chair back a little. See if you can finish the book before you’re parallel to the ceiling.
2. Crumbly snacks. It’s the most uncomfortable feeling to try to sleep or listen to music or read sitting in the remnants of the popcorn you just ate. It’s like the sand-in-your-car-after-the-beach effect. On the No-No List: Popcorn, pretzels, anything with bread/cake involved, chips, crunchy cookies, crackers, pop tarts.
Suggestion: On the Yes-Yes List: grapes, chocolate candy bars, celery, skittles or M&Ms, carrots, small children.
Hahaha, just kidding.
About the celery.
3. Your homework. On a similar note to #1, you won’t end up doing your homework on the plane. Even if you muster up the will to do it, it can only end badly. Example:
Old Lady Next to You: Oh my, is that calculus?
You: … actually it’s just geometry.
Old Lady– let’s call her Gladys– Next to You: My grandson is taking calculus! I say, students do such complicated math these days. My grandson takes calculus and is a football player!
You: … this is geometry.
Gladys: Do you like football players?
If Gladys doesn’t get to you, the fact that there’s a good movie playing or the fact that you’re too tired will.
Suggestion: Bring one of those puzzle books. You know. Mazes, crossword puzzles, word searches. Gladys won’t have anything to say about it, and it’s okay if you get bored of it because it’s not going to be graded!
4. A huge bag of souvenirs. True, this only applies to return flights. But I’m going to share with you a little story that will forever scare you into fitting as many souvenirs into your checked luggage as you possibly can.
Once upon a time, Justine was coming back from France. Her big fat suitcase had somehow just barely fit the weight limit, and was soundly sleeping in the belly of the Continental aircraft. Her multitude of French/Swiss souvenirs, however, were crammed into a large paper bag that she was currently lugging through the aisle with great difficulty. And all at once there came a great clatter. Lo and behold, there were all of her souvenirs (Swiss chocolate, oven mitt from Bretagne, French piggy bank, truffles, magnets, books, etc.) strewn all about the blue carpet. After many multilingual verbal exchanges whilst holding up a line of strangers, I eventually found myself seated with chocolate stashed at my feet, an oven mitt in my sweater, and several magnets loose in the overhead compartment.
I hope this served as a valuable lesson for someone.
5. Explosives and/or Gatorade. TSA does not look favorably on either of those.
If you enjoy this – read advice about long car rides.