Thought Catalog

The Rules To Traveling

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As a New York transplant originally from the land of New Age crystals, long floral dresses and terrifying canyons, I’ve spent a sizable portion of the last three years of my life in an airplane going from coast to coast. After enduring endless security lines, honing in on the airport food that won’t give me diarrhea when I’m up in the air, and successfully avoiding anxiety attacks upon takeoff, I can say with confidence that I’ve become sort of the expert traveler. Here are some tips I’ve acquired through the years that will hopefully make your next travel experience less traumatizing and, well, sort of fun.

Rule # 1: Fly Virgin America exclusively

When Virgin America debuted in 2007, it basically waved goodbye to every airline that previously existed. With plush seats, an amazing selection of independent films, snacks and cable channels on your very own TV screen, and a weird cokey nightclub aesthetic, Virgin America reinvented the model of what an airline should be by making flying fun, chic, and hip. Not only do they have Wifi, a bevy of babes fly Virgin so the likelihood of you being seated next to a hot piece of ass rather than an old foreigner reading Eat Pray Love are very high.

Rule # 2: Get to the airport early so you can engage in Secret Airport Behavior (S.A.B.)

I’m a freak who likes to get to the airport very early. This is done partially to abate any anxiety I have over missing my flight, but it’s also done to ensure that I have time to participate in Secret Airport Behavior. Think about it. Airports are one of the only places left where you can be truly anonymous. What goes on in a place like JFK or LAX actually stays in JFK or LAX. Secret Airport Behavior are things you would never do with a friend or even in the city you live in; they are reserved only in the privacy of an airport. These behaviors include: buying an ice cream sundae from McDonalds, reading an issue of Nylon, eating at TGIFridays, having inappropriate conversations with someone traveling on business etc. When you’re in an airport, you’re free to go to your dark shameful place. Be careful though because there’s a 1% chance you might run into someone you know. It happened to me while I was enjoying a solitary bite at Gladstone’s. All of a sudden I heard someone call my name and with tartar sauce dripping down my mouth, I saw a friend of mine from school approach me. Blast! Now I couldn’t even buy Tori Spelling’s memoir at the bookshop to read on the plane. My friend would judge. She would not understand my S.A.B. That was a dark day.

Rule # 3: Don’t drink

You probably think I’m kidding but I’m not. Personally, I’ve never understood the appeal of getting wasted in a tiny enclosed space while sharing recycled air with strangers. God forbid there’d be turbulence, I would start slurring my prayers and prepare for my death. It’s better to just take a sliver of a Xanax instead. That will take the edge off without making you feel crazy and/or claustrophobic.

Rule # 4: Dress comfortably while still respecting yourself

The airport is not a fashion show. When I see someone strut by in heels and Rodarte, I get confused, envious, and annoyed. That being said, the airport is also not a pajama party. It’s not a place for you to break out your Ugss and have fucked up hair. The perfect airport outfit for me is a loose-fitting pair of jeans, a plain white tee and a cute hoodie. #FASHION. I’m comfortable without attracting the snarkiness of twenty-something bloggers.

Rule # 5: Be careful about talking to the person next to you on the plane

This one time a cute girl sat next to me on an airplane and I got super excited. Finally! Someone who speaks English and is my age! So I started to chat her up, which turned out to be a huge mistake. She was one of those girls who told you her weird screwed up life story without letting you have a word in edgewise. She discussed her bulimia, her absentee parents and her shitty ex-boyfriend without any sense that she may be disclosing too much. Opening a conversation with someone when you’re about to embark on a long flight with no exit can be a bad idea. There’s no real polite way of saying, “Stop saying things to me!” You have to awkwardly stop talking and put on your headphones. Then you just shuffle around and give the occasional smile. Gee, I’m getting uncomfortable just blogging about it. My advice is to tread carefully and sniff out the crazy before saying, “Sup?” TC mark

image – Moto@Club4AG

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    • PERFECTCIRCLES

      Rule #2 sounds like you would get along really well with my parents.

      I lived through rule #5 in a way. The person turned out to be a giant Christian but we had a good conversation most of the flight about religion and shit (and the people around us must have enjoyed it). We went on one date when we both got back to the OC but it didn't go anywhere.

    • Lindsey-lu

      S.A.B.: i'm a vegetarian, but i eat McDonald's chicken nuggets at the airport only

    • http://twitter.com/nanabuuui Anna B

      Rule #5. I was on a flight back to California with my “The Sun Also Rises” novel for class. The lady next to me started a conversation only ten minutes before we landed. She was an English professor! I WAS SO SAD I DIDN'T GET TO TALK TO HER EARLIER. OMGGG *dies*

      IT STILL SADDENS MEEEEE

      Although, on the way to NY, the guy next to me offered me a Jack and Coke. He ended up helping us get a cab to the hotel and whatnot. YAY!

      The cray crays are more common than the awesome, fasho.

    • Jimmy

      Can you get out of my brain? This is eerily similar to my flying protocol.

    • bailey

      THE AIRPORT IS NOT A PAJAMA PARTY

      • http://twitter.com/nanabuuui Anna B

        TOTEEES IS! It hurts when I see a chick all decked out with heels and nice clothes :[ makes me feel extra bummy :[

    • Caitlin Kelly

      Rule # 6: If you're sitting beside a doctor and really need his advice, wait til the plane is starting its final descent so you can still get enough advice without being an exploitive asshole.

      Rule # 7: The airport/plane is for flirting like crazy with someone you'll never seen again and would never have met otherwise. I had a great boy sandwich on a flight from Winnipeg between two pro football players.

      Rule # 8: Pay attention to boarding times during Rule #7. While flirting with a cute boy at the cafe, we almost missed our flight. They were about to take the bags off the plane.

    • hereisafantasy

      I can't afford Virgin air! All my travel probs would be solved if I didn't have to ride in coach with the norms, babies, and those people who bring McDonald's french fries onto the plane and end up stinking up the entire cabin with salt and dead animal grease. OMG UGGH.

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