Every other year, my family takes a vacation.
This is more often than my parents took me on vacation when I was a kid, but is apparently bordering on child abuse and spousal neglect in modern times.
Anyway, I’ve learned a few things about traveling that I want to share.
Don’t go to Myrtle Beach during “Bike Week.” Total nightmare!
Don’t go to Disney World, ever… period.
(OK, admittedly, my last trip was pretty good, but I think it might have just been luck.)
And if you are traveling to a Caribbean paradise, like Jamaica, for instance, NEVER try to return home on a weekend.
First-hand experience on that last one.
My wife and I took my daughter to Jamaica six or seven years ago. When we arrived, it was pretty smooth sailing. Everything was orderly and well done. But trying to LEAVE the country was another thing entirely.
We got to the airport, and it was complete chaos. There were people everywhere! It was hot. It was nearly impossible to discern what line you were supposed to be in to check your bags for each airline. Matter of fact, it was hard to even find a line at all. They all snaked and twisted through the too-small terminal. Everyone was aggravated and worried.
It was clear we were NOT going to make our flight. Not even close. We were hours behind schedule.
My daughter, who was very young at the time, was agitated. This was a bad situation.
Suddenly, an official looking man appeared from out of nowhere, pointed at us, to my surprise, and told us to follow him. I thought maybe we were in some kind of trouble. We followed, and he took us to the front of the line to check our bags. I have no idea why that happened to this day, but it was like a blessing straight from Heaven.
It still took forever. And then, the security check to board the plane was insanely slow. It made me appreciate the relative efficiency of what happens in U.S. airports.
By some miracle, our plane was still there. We boarded, but missed our connecting flight in Atlanta. So, we got home behind schedule. I was just glad we made it home at all.
In talking to some folks, I was told that trying to leave the country on a Friday or Saturday is a bad idea. Better to plan leaving on a Monday or Wednesday. Much easier.
I know we sometimes think our airports are bad. But many of these countries simply do not have anything approaching the facilities available to us. It must be taken into account.
I know many of you are planning vacations for next year. So, I thought I’d pass on this little tidbit of experience in hopes that it saves you some of the aggravation I endured.