IS IT JUST me, or has everything been said already—twice? It seems that every article I settle down to read tells me stuff I already know, and everyone else already knows too. For example, I just saw one that was called “How to Be a Travel Artist,” promising to make your travel experiences fabulous and hassle-free. Naturally I clicked, since all of my travel experiences are fraught with unplanned problems I am ill-equipped to handle.
Tip # 1 was “Don’t check your bag. This allows you to avoid the crowds at the baggage-claim area and ensures your bag will not be lost.” Oh really? Gee, I never thought of that before, right? Wrong—who doesn’t know that by the second grade? The rest of the tips were just as lame, like, “Don’t just take pictures on your iPhone—instead, look around at the scenery.” Again, thanks a lot.
What I want are solid suggestions for how to handle the following scenarios, a few of which have happened to me and some of which very well might have:
1. What if 20 minutes after takeoff the pilot announces you will be making an emergency landing and orders everyone to slide down the rubber chute, first removing all shoes and eyeglasses? Should you actually remove your glasses if you are helpless without them, or risk permanent blindness if they break and puncture a cornea?
2. How do you remain sane during an eight-hour layover in a crummy airport like, to pick one at random, Newark or LaGuardia?
3. Supposing you suffer a surprise bout of bleeding hemorrhoids at the gate as they’re starting to board your group. Do you get on or not? What if you’re wearing white pants—is the answer any different?
4. You just remembered there’s half an ounce of pot in your carry-on bag while you’re going through security and your bag is already on the conveyor belt. Should you run?
5. You get to your hotel at 11pm and learn that your room is right next to the elevator, there’s a convention of video gamers going on, and the air-conditioning is broken and it’s Phoenix in the summer. Do you check in or sleep in the park?
6. The 24-hour train from NY to Miami has left the station when it is announced there is no Dining Car and you’ll have to get all your meals from vending machines at the stations where the train stops along the way. This includes Georgia. Is that the moment to take that cyanide tablet stashed in your bag in case of a nuclear holocaust?
7. What if just as you land in a low-lying area there’s a tsunami?
These are the questions I want answered. Surely I’m not the only one.