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6 Travel Tips Learned from Holiday Movies

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The holidays are a time for travel, whether to family or as far away from family as possible. Fortunately, there are countless holiday movies to show you how to make the most of your trip, make the most of a thin road premise, and in the case of “Home Alone” make the most of the almost exact same plot twice in a row.

 

Almost every form of transportation will be shut down.

Bruce Willis at a snowed-in airport in “Die Hard 2”

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In both movies and TV shows there is never really a change in weather until the holidays, at which point the temperature suddenly drops and it snows so hard you practically expect to see dinosaurs dropping dead in the background. Of course, that means all means of travel will become impossible, whether it is cancelled flights, iced-over roads, blizzard-blocked train tracks or even the possibility of walking to your destination since it will turn into the Donner Party almost seconds after you open the door and says, “Let’s do this.” And with everything going wrong, that’s when you’ll have to add to the poor planning by seeking any means available to reach a family that would have been more than happy to just Skype with you for the holidays by listening to the following travel tip…

 

Always travel with strangers.

Steve Martin and John Candy waiting for a ride in Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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In real holiday family road trips no one will say anything to anyone for hundreds of miles—probably because everyone got angry at each other even before you pulled out the driveway—unless it’s to scream, “You just missed the exit!” or “I said we’ll have five Chicken and Ranch McWraps!” into a drive-thru intercom system. But in holiday movie road trips inclement weather, bad luck, or necessary plot points will force you to share that ride with an absolute stranger with which you can’t avoid conversation, hi-jinks, and eventual bonding over shared experiences/misery. Like John Candy’s polka player character in “Home Alone.” Or John Candy’s curtain ring salesman character in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” In fact, best if you just wait for John Candy to show up and offer you a ride, which would probably be both a lot of fun and quite frankly a Christmas miracle to boot.

 

You will forget something.

Home Alone scene when Kevin’s mom realizes that her son is not on the plane

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With all the pressures of the holidays and all the rushing to get to your destination on time it’s only natural that you forget something like a family member’s Christmas gift, a family member’s luggage, or a family member in a timely lesson on why you should never give birth to more than three kids to avoid a wrong headcount before travel. (On the other hand, having so many kids like in “Home Alone” would give you the freedom to shrug your shoulders and mumble, “Meh” upon realizing you lost one of them, because frankly the human mind can only retain so many names even if they are related to you.) And naturally you will only realize your oversight at the most inopportune moment possible, like mid-flight or perhaps Boxing Day when you pass the Christmas tree, realize someone hasn’t opened up any of the their Christmas presents yet, and then try to figure out what to do over a leisurely breakfast of waffles and still more turkey leftovers.

 

You may get to meet Santa Claus.

Santa greets the main character in The Polar Express

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Christmas is a magical time. It’s also a chaotic, consumer-mad, sometimes lonely, often overwhelming time, but you can’t deny that there is something different in the air, a feeling that anything could happen. Like, say, a train appearing right behind your house in the middle of the night promising to take you to the North Pole and you getting on despite everything your parents have warned you about taking rides from strangers or making travel decisions when off your anti-hallucination medication. Sure, the odds of this happening are quite slim, but should you get the opportunity for such holiday travel for the love of God take some photos once you reach your destination. Even if they’re all selfies, so long as we see some elves, the Big Guy, and what Christmastown really has in store for all the naughty children of the world.

 

Once you finally reach your destination you will want to kill everyone.

dinner scene from Home for the Holidays

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There is an old saying that goes, “People may love their family but that doesn’t mean they always like them.” That’s because as movies like “Home for the Holidays” show, once you do complete your holiday journey and greet your relatives it will soon become very, very apparent why you moved so far away from them in the first place. But if you stick it out perhaps some necessary family issues will finally be addressed, some broken family bonds will finally be mended, some new members of the family will finally realize what a huge mistake they made in marrying into your family, some elderly family member will say something wildly inappropriate that everyone will laugh off even if it causes them to die a little inside, and the entire family will finally get to eat a huge meal, which is really the whole reason you traveled all this way in the first place.

 

If everyone is traveling to your home then flee. Now.

Finale of Christmas Vacation when cops break into the home

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While holiday travel is indeed fraught with headaches, heartaches, and various other aches to vital organs, at least you can always turn back at any moment or start a new life wherever your car breaks down. But if you are having people over to YOUR house there is no escape. You can’t run back home if family is annoying you because you’re already home. You can’t tell everyone to go to hell because you invited them over in the first place. In fact, if movies like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” prove anything, it’s that such gatherings at your place will be always be a rapidly increasing disaster until the SWAT team shows up, the house is destroyed, and you suddenly realize the yuppie neighbor next door is played by Elaine from “Seinfeld.” That’s why it’s crucial you get out of your house before anyone shows up. Leave them the keys, leave them some food in the fridge, leave them a note saying, “Don’t steal our towels” but just leave, get on the road, and use the preceding advice to find holiday travel bliss.

 

Which
one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

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