Take one somewhat uptight man (Robert Downey Jr.) and one easy-going goofball (Zach Galifianakis) and force them to take a road trip together. What have you got? Planes, Trains And Automobiles? No, wait, Due Date! That’s it – Due Date. A mismatched couple comedy that sees a trip travelled and hijinks jinked at a high level. But after watching it, it made us think that road tripping with a dog is probably not a good idea – and whether other movies had any tips for our next travels abroad. Guess what? They do…
Tip taught:** Never forget your multipass
*Where we learnt it from:* **The Fifth Element.
So you’re on a trip to somewhere spectacular, exciting, luxurious… Fhloston Paradise, say – you know the place – the luxury cruise liner floating out in space, complete with twelve swimming pools, 400 beaches, and none other than DJ Ruby Rhod to entertain, delight, and shout at you.
Sounds like fun, but there’s one thing that could ruin it all: not having your ID with you. Without your Multipass, you’re just not getting in, or getting around. Our suggestion? When approached by anyone, anyone at all, just whip out your Multipass and say the word ‘Mul-ti-pass’. It works surprisingly well, and will get you our of almost all tricky situations. Apart from the ship exploding, mind. Can’t do much about that. Soz.
Tip:** When approaching a roundabout, make sure you have an exit strategy.
*Where we learnt it from:* **National Lampoon's European Vacation
Foreign countries, eh? They’ll do anything different, just to be different. Breakfast? Completely bizarre. Gesticulations? A minefield. Traffic rules? Even worse. So when you’re in another land, inhabited by strange people, always remember to brush up on the driving necessities, because you really can’t be too careful.
Want an example? Well, take pity on the poor family Griswold, whose potentially exhilarating trip around jolly old London is irrevocably ruined by an oversight on the whole roundabout management conundrum. On the plus side, they do get to see Big Ben, Parliament. And Big Ben. Parliament. Not to mention Big Ben, Parliament.
Tip: After flying, take off your shoes and socks and make fists with your toes.
Where we learnt it from: Die Hard
Don't like flying? We can sort that. In fact, you wanna know the secret to surviving air travel? After you get where you're going, take off your shoes and your socks then walk around on the rug barefoot and make fists with your toes. We know, we know, it sounds crazy. Trust us, we’ve been doing it for nine years. Yes sir, better than a shower and a hot cup of coffee.
And sure, it might be a bit of a nuisance if you have to take out a bunch of terrorists later in bare feet, and the terrorist’s shoes you have to steal are smaller than your sister’s feet, and there’s broken glass all over, but hey, that’s the least of your problems to be honest.
Tip: If someone’s phobic, just don’t fly.
Where we learnt it from:** **Midnight Run (and Rain Man)
So you need to get where you’re going, and you need to get there quick. So you book a plane and you look forward to your flight. Unfortunately your mob-snitch accountant bounty / long-lost autistic brother is afraid of planes, and that somewhat scuppers your plans.
What to do? Well, whatever you decide to do, do not try and persuade them to get on the airplane with you. There’ll be screaming, there’ll be crying, there’ll be trouble. And you won’t, repeat won’t, do any flying – so you might as well rush off and buy those Stagecoach tickets now buddy, because pteromechanophobia is one hell of a fear, and there’s no way your going to defeat it today.
Tip:** If you love her, give her the window seat.
*Where we learnt it from:* The Wedding Singer
You don’t like the aisle seat? Well just suck it up champ, because you’re meant to be the big man, and she’s your lady, and sometimes you don’t get what you want. While we’re at it, let her hold the remote control (sometimes), bring her medicine when her tummy aches and give her your coat when she’s cold. Capiche?
Because though you’re on holiday, there’s still no reason to not be a gentlemen, people. And though you don’t have to perform a song and dance declare your undying love to every travelling companion, it sure is cute if you do.
Tip: The importance of your mode of transportation being able to actually start properly cannot be exaggerated.
Where we learnt it from: Little Miss Sunshine
As if being a member of one of cinema’s most dysfunctional families ever (“Everybody just pretend to be normal") wasn’t enough, driving along in an old yellow camper van that won’t start properly isn’t helping things at all.
Your brother’s a sarcastic, whiney, pretentious phoney, your son has taken a vow of silence, and your father’s a crotchety old letch with Nazi lead in his bones, but with a clear road ahead of you, everything should be fine. Except you need this motley crew of misfits to help you start the goddamn thing, so it’s all going to hell. Take your car to the garage and get it fixed – unless, of course, you fancy some quirky hilarity with your road trip journey, in which case, just leave it be.
Tip: Those aren’t pillows.
Where we learnt it from:** **Planes, Trains And Automobiles
The trip is not going well. The flight’s grounded, the weather’s atrocious, the hotel’s full up. You have to share a room – a bed, even – with another man. Should be fine, though: the bed’s big enough, you’re both tired, it’ll be okay.
Then your snuggling chip kicks in and you’re hand-in-hand on one side of the bed with your male amigo, and worse than that, his hand is in between two pillows. Wait. Those aren’t pillows! Good God no, God no God no oh God no! See that Bears game last week? Yeah, helluva a game, helluva game. Bears gotta great team this year. So there it is: you can never have too many pillows. Actual pillows. Real, actual pillows.
Tip:** If you’re a regular traveller, it pays to be part of the club.
*Where we learnt it from:* **Up In The Air
Up In The Air has a lot to teach us about the refined art of travel, from how much your life weighs (and whether you can fit it all in a backpack), why you should never get behind old people in the security check-in queue, and just what hire car service you should use.
But more than anything else, it teaches us to look at travel as a game. Collect the points, clock up the airmiles, have some fun with it. Then, and only then, the unforgivably awesome Sam Elliot might rock up in a wicked-ass pilot’s uniform and hand you a super limited edition loyalty card. Sure, there’s some other message about the importance of family or summink, but Sam Elliott! 10,000,000 miles! Awesome!
Tip: Trains can get lost. Even though they’re on rails.
Where we learnt it from:** **The Darjeeling Limited
You think your trip around the subcontinent will be a voyage of spiritual discovery (and sure, maybe it will be), but it’s also going to be a worrying test on your nerves, patience and digestive system.
India’s a wonderful place, but if anything can go wrong, it probably will, and it’s best to just take it all in your stride and try not to kill any of your travelling companions or attempt anything too dangerous or drastic. Especially when your face is all beat up and bruised. And you’re in a Wes Anderson movie. Definitely not then. The best thing to do is comfort yourself in the knowledge that you’re impossibly well-dressed and own the most gorgeous luggage ever to grace the face of the planet, and just sit back and try to cultivate some serenity when faced with the vicissitudes of travel.
Tip: Always double check the size of your hand luggage.
Where we learnt it: Meet The Parents
Gaylord Focker’s bad day, when travelling to meet his prospective in-laws, starts when he boards a plane to discover that his hand luggage is just slightly over regulation size, and an officious stewardess is determined to force him to check it in. His temper tantrum following this confrontation only makes matters worse, and if we were conspiracy theorists we’d suspect that it’s this behaviour that results in his luggage then going missing en route.
Also, his decision to start singing “bom-be-bom-bom” when he’s told you’re not allowed to say “bomb” on a plane is simply not well-advised. Just a word of warning.