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Published on August 4th, 2014 | by gareth

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Top 4 Travel Lessons Learned from National Lampoon

You’re counting down the days to that perfect, much-deserved getaway, and while watching movies like “National Lampoon’s Vacation†makes for a great laugh, experiencing it is not something you want to do, at least most of it. Of course, guys, you’d probably love to jump in the pool with Christie Brinkley—but that’s an entirely different story.

Who Needs a Fall Back Plan?

In the 1983 film, Clark Griswold brings his family on a road trip from Chicago to California with the ultimate goal of seeing Marty Moose at Walley World. His wife Ellen has a pretty good handle on planning ahead and getting their household prepared for the adventure—she’s “locked the door, stopped the newspapers, notified the police, called to get the grass cut,†and so on.

OK, calling the police is going too far, unless you happen to be pals with the chief. But there is something that she obviously forgot about—unexpected expenses. What happens if one, or all, of your tires blow out, like the Griswolds who found themselves in the middle of the desert where the local mechanic happened to be the sheriff? They ended up having to fork out $500 for bald tires.

Remember when Clark first spotted that hot blonde, driving the red Ferrari? He nearly crashed, with the jolt causing one of the suitcases to go flying off of the roof of the Family Truckster. Of course, that was where Ellen’s credit cards just happened to be. The lesson here is to be sure you have a contingency plan such as a savings account for potential emergencies that can be easily accessed out on the road and a travel protection plan that offers coverage for unexpected travel blunders.

Asleep at the Wheel

In “National Lampoon’s Vacation,†while Clark is driving late at night on the interstate outside of St. Louis, Missouri, the entire family falls asleep, including Clark. The car swerves off the road, goes barreling through town and eventually makes a miraculous stop in a hotel parking lot. That’s not going to happen in real life. It’s a movie.

In reality, driving while drowsy is said to cause over 100,000 crashes annually, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Association. So don’t risk it. Get a good night’s rest before hitting the road and avoid driving at times when you’d normally be sleeping. If your eyes are feeling heavy, find a safe place to snooze or pass the driving responsibilities to one of your travel compadres.

Call Ahead

After a cross-country drive and all of the mishaps on the road, Clark and his family find that the moose-themed park is closed for two weeks to “clean and repair.†While the notion that a major amusement park would actually be closed during the summer season for repairs is pretty far-fetched, there is definitely a lesson here. Vacationers who head out on the road during the peak travel season without reservations, may find themselves stuck sleeping in the car for the night, or longer.

Go with the Flow

Not everything the luckless Griswold family does is a mistake. There are definitely a couple of ah-ha moments, like in “Christmas Vacation,†when they show how going with the flow is a good way to cope when the inevitable bumps in the plan transpire. The turkey dinner is practically inedible as the cook hasn’t been around a conventional gas powered stove in quite some time. Ellen looks on the bright side as she gnaws on the meat, trying to choke it down while saying, “Oh, it’s just a little dry, it’s fine.†After Clark makes his 55th attempt at lighting the house for the holidays, his wife chimes in, “I can picture it in my mind Clark, and it’s wonderful.â€

Even if you’ve seen those National Lampoon flicks countless times, popping in a DVD in and hitting play once more can reveal at least a few lessons you might use to ensure a better, less disastrous vacation. Remember, life’s 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.



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