By Greg Price
Visited the parents for Thanksgiving thanks to a steal of a deal from Air Canada and got a surprise visit from the sister and niece and nephew from Seattle to boot to help celebrate Turkey Day.
As I pondered my travels over this past week with family, I realized I’ve broke the double digits of different countries I’ve seen in my lifetime in visiting family and friends and for work.
And so with that, I’m offering Greg’s (At Times Humorous) Travel Tips to make one’s trip more enjoyable:
INTIMATE MOMENT: Going through airport security is never a fun experience, but there is a sure fire way to liven it up. As you emerge from security screening, smile and lock eyes awkwardly for a prolonged amount of time with the person beside you as you both put back on your belts, shoes, hats and coats as if you both just shared an extremely passionate and intense moment together…like…going through airport security.
DON’T BE THAT GUY: I get it, one should be grateful and try and make one’s air travel as enjoyable as possible. Please and thank you should always be said to stewardesses who help serve you with food and beverage and answer any concerns you may have.
If you are afflicted with IBS or a nervous bladder, perhaps a window seat is not for you where aisle is preferred if you need constant trips to the bathroom.
Help that elderly person or mother struggling with their young kids with their overhead bag. But never, ever, short of navigating out of a horrific snow/rain storm, should you be that guy who stands up and claps after the plane lands.
BATHROOM BREAK: Your time is precious and so to conserve it, it’s all about life hacks.
Make sure you don’t wash your hands after using an airport bathroom, the time you save can be better used in those precious minutes to stare at your phone while waiting for a flight that is still an hour-and-half away from boarding.
Or better yet, what better way to seal a power deal or hug a loved one than doing it with feces-laced fingers.
SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST: When you have been waiting in line at an airport food kiosk for 10 to 20 minutes, make sure you don’t ask your young children what they’d like to eat until they get to the very front of the line as they ponder the menu for another five minutes.
Make a game of it, where it’s fun for the whole family and pretend like the kiosk is from the magical land of Narnia where the menu may change at the last second with its magical properties.
LANGUAGE OF LOVE: Seeing it many times abroad, adopt the attitude of some of our American brethren (not all)…get angry at people you visit in far away lands that they do not speak the only language you know.
Not only should your foreign policy be protectionist, so too should your vacation experiences. While you are at it, make a big production that they don’t have the same beer that you’ve been drinking for the last 20 years, seek out a McDonald’s in Paris…Oui! Oui! There’s no place like home!!! New experiences are scary and unwanted in lands God apparently hasn’t blessed.
DINNER CONVERSATION: Liven up those cookie-cutter visits back home with family with some lively conversation. Everyone loves talking politics, religion and money between morsels of their fancy feast. But change things up from the drab topics and opinions that they are always used to hearing.
If you’re hardcore liberal and going to a more conservative household, get the lines of communication going by saying things like ‘safe words should be mandatory for kids playing at school.’
Or how about…’Jimmy Carter is my favourite president.’ If you need a wildcard perhaps ‘there’s things we can learn from communism.’ Inversely, if you’re hardcore conservative and want to break the ice in a liberal household, nothing gets them started like ‘yes, trickle down economics has proven a roaring success, time and time again.’
To elicit compassion for your fellow man that you’re looking after them, perhaps suggest brown people from poor countries need to be screened more for everyone’s safety. With the rising threat of North Korea and ISIS, everyone is worried about freedom…perhaps ask a question like ‘is it really freedom if you have to wait 10 days for a gun…in 10 days I’m not angry anymore.’
VEGAS BABY: Always keep them guessing at the blackjack table. Split 10s when the dealer is showing an ace. Stay on 9. Hit on 16 when the dealer is showing a six.
Continually get angry at the dealer that they have miscounted cards when they haven’t. After you’ve got your fifth blackjack in a row, there’s no way the dealer is getting a tip from your hard-earned money. Give unsolicited advice to the people at the table.
Follow these tips from situations I’ve personally seen at tables in Las Vegas and you’ll make friends for life.
BALANCING ACT: You can sometimes get caught up in vicious cycles with moms and grandmas when you come to visit and are showered with home-cooked meals.
One needs to find the delicate balance of the universe when enjoying the culinary skills of the the people that helped create you.
Eat too little and you fear offending the matriarch, eat too much and you’re sure to get the ‘you could lose a few pounds.’
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Be careful of how you dress as you travel abroad. I’ve found my Donald Trump/Kim Jong-un T-shirt mimicking a scene out of Step Brothers has been a big hit in places like punk concerts in Edmonton, and beer and wine tastings in Lethbridge — in Montana and retirement communities in Arizona — not so much.
All joking aside, be grateful for your family and friends as you travel no matter how exotic the locale may be.
Memories are best made when you get to share them with the people you love and care for.