With so many people hitting the road this summer and a rebooted Vacation movie rolling out this week, there’s no better time to look back at the original run of Griswold travel excursions. The Vacation movies followed a pretty standard format throughout their run: Clark tries to take the family on a trip, everything goes wrong, they sort of hate him, but by the end of 90 minutes they realize how much they care for each other. It was certainly formulaic, but always managed to squeeze out a few laughs.
There’s some travel wisdom to be gained, though, in the Griswolds’ constant mishaps. So, before you crank up “Holiday Road” take a moment to learn what not to do with these 10 Clark Griswold travel lessons.
Take the proper precautions when traveling with pets.
As Clark finds out, traveling with pets brings with it its own set of problems. Especially when said pet is a hell beast like Aunt Edna’s dog. Pulling a Clark Griswold and accidentally forgetting to untie your pet from the bumper before setting off down the road will surely land you on PETA’s wanted dead-or-alive list and in deep trouble with the law, so maybe just leave Fido at home if you’re a careless sort.
Take time to really appreciate the local sights.
In true Griswold fashion, Clark takes no more than a few minutes to give Stonehenge a quick scan before haplessly destroying it. I mean, it is just a bunch of old rocks, so no harm done really, right?
Try to avoid going psychotic in front of your family.
Every vacation has those moments when things don’t go according to plan, but maybe try to avoid telling your traveling companions “you’re all f*cked in the head.” This sort of behavior is what leads to taking security guards hostage at amusement parks, and when that happens, nobody’s going to be singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” out of their a**hole.
Choose your means of travel wisely.
The first lesson here is never buy a vehicle from Eugene Levy. The guy will scam you every time. The second lesson is take the proper precautions to make sure your ride is tuned up and ready to go. You’re going to feel like a real jerk if you’re calling AAA before you even make it out of your zip code because you neglected that “check engine” light that’s been blinking since 2010.
“Kids, noticing all this plight?”
Clark Griswold is a man of the people. A man who’s not afraid to venture outside his comfort zone and ask anyone for directions. Even if that means being blindly robbed in the process. This scene probably wouldn’t fly with the PC police in 2015, but in 1983 nobody had an iPhone and people still asked strangers for directions.
“I have six dollars and 13 cents to my name, so I can see we’re going to have to work something out here.”
Having the proper traveling funds is essential for any trip, unless you want to be in Clark’s position and be forced to commit theft. Your family is going to be especially bummed if they miss out on amusement park rides because you’re in jail, so maybe bring some emergency traveler’s checks. Do people still use those?
Make a poor attempt to speak the native tongue.
By butchering the native language with your ugly Yankee accent, you’ll establish an instant bond with any locals you might meet on vacation. Insider tip: Go online and learn all the curse words first. That’s sure to impress people, and really those are the only words your friends back home are going to ask about anyway.
Take advantage of travel life hacks no matter the potential health risk.
We should all be so lucky as to have a cousin Eddie around to show us a good money-saving shortcut. Whether it’s cooking chicken on nature’s grill (a radioactive rock), emptying the toilet of his local RV in the city sewer system, or applying the one plate-method at a buffet, Eddie is a life-hack master. So go ahead and ask for a heaping spoonful of that “yella stuff.”
Plan your arrival accordingly.
Sure, jumping in the car with no agenda and going wherever the open road takes you sounds adventurous, but don’t be fooled. A little online research can go a long way and save you from looking like a total jack*ss in front of your family.
Practice proper driving habits.
Station wagons and minivans were never meant for desert terrain and dirt jumping. No matter how bad*ss it might look.