As the calendar flips to March, college students are feverishly attempting to survive flu and midterm season. And, with the promise of Spring Break, many are also in the process of preparing their minds for trips home and their livers for trips to Cabo San Lucas. Meanwhile, the nationwide transportation industries brace themselves, preparing for the influx of college students to abrupt their otherwise typically monotonous springtime passengers. To avoid strengthening the reputation of people in their late teens and early twenties as less than expert travelers, here are some time-tested travel tips and bits of information that go a long way in ensuring that the travel process is almost as rewarding as the final destination.
1) Be polite and nice to security agents. They’re only doing their job and the least one can do is respect them. If nobody were there to do what they do, traveling would be a far more harrowing and dangerous than it currently is. Getting frustrated with the people who are only enforcing rules is neither productive, nor satisfying. For those working a job where complaints are entirely expected, being polite, even (God forbid) smiling, go a long way in creating a far more enjoyable flying experience.
2) It’s OK to be mad if a flight is canceled etc., but one shouldn’t take it out on any individual, even if that individual works for an airline. Delays/cancelations are almost always due to weather or maintenance problems; both are factors completely out of anyone’s control. Especially in the case of a maintenance issue, if one comes up, one should be thankful it was noticed before the beginning of the trip rather than in the middle. There isn’t anything that anyone can do about a situation like this, so getting stressed out, especially to the point that that one’s own stress is taken out on others, serves nobody.
3) While relaxing and being flexible is important, doing it to the level that one might confuse the plane/train with a normal place of residence isn’t advisable. Planes and trains are germ tubes paralleled by few other things. To put it mildly, it’s definitely safe to say that flight attendants don’t get nearly the credit they deserve for cleaning airplane bathrooms. One wouldn’t walk around the DMV without shoes, and there’s little difference between the DMV and a plane or a train. That liquid on the floor? It’s not water. Additionally, the drop-down plastic tables that are so perfect for bags of peanuts or pretzels are akin to drop-down diaper or fingernail clipping platforms, and so it’s best to touch these as little as possible. While some would say that ignorance is bliss, it seems to me that the benefit of fully grasping the environment one temporarily inhabits far outweighs any potential drawbacks.
4) Finally, one should take nothing for granted, and enjoy his/her ability to take advantage of the wonders of modern technology. Merely 100 years ago, a journey one takes now would have taken many times the length it takes today. By looking at a trip in a historical context, one gains an appreciation for human ingenuity and the comforts of the modern world. When one appreciates the past as well as the present, whatever the future destination holds, one can be sure it will be rewarding.