This post is also published on The Huffington Post.
One of the best things about being alive is the freedom to go on holiday. But one of the worst things about being alive is people who don’t understand how to behave in an airport or during a flight without making everybody around them want to punch them in the emergency exit.
When you’re in a relationship, finding out whether you can go on holiday and remain happy in each other’s company is one of the biggest tests you’ll face. Alongside discovering whether the other person has the brain capacity to remember when bin day is, it’s the issue most likely to break you.
So before you book anything, may I suggest you ask each other the following questions. Best to check you’re travel compatible before you invest to save having to say “Yes, he/she is a MORON” when the good people at customs ask if you have anything to declare.
1. How much of a sense of humour do you have at 3 o’clock in the morning?
Even the most relaxing of holidays can commence with a crack of dawn flight and a ridiculous o’clock alarm. And with that comes a decision – are you going to see past the early start and look ahead to the sun, sea and only using an alarm clock to wake you up in time to make it down for the hotel breakfast two minutes before it closes? Or are you going to be an enraged, under-slept tool from the moment you wake up until the second you go through passport control on the other side? Because if the answer is the latter, do you really want to use up your annual leave allowance finding out what that looks like?
2. Do you like fighting?
There’s a lot of potential argument material during a flight. You could fight about the weight of your luggage and whether you really do need to bring a litre of After Sun with you; about whether you enjoyed being searched by that rather attractive guard at security; or about which one of you deserves to get the aisle seat – the person with the longest legs, or the person who SACRIFICES EVERYTHING FOR THIS RELATIONSHIP. Or you could commit wholeheartedly to just being pleased to be going away and to have the opportunity to justify spending €10 on a packet of Pringles. Up to you.
3. What does airport time mean to you?
Do you see an airport as a brightly lit shopping box, filled with last minute purchasing opportunities, drinking holes, and snacks-a-plenty, or as a pale walled holding pen in which you will stand firmly beneath the flight information screen until your gate is announced and you leg it there, knocking any man, woman or child who dares to get in your way to the ground with the sharp end of your wheelie suitcase? You need to know what kind of person you have chosen to spend your life with (and if they’re in the second group, you need to confiscate their passport).
4. How fond are you of sighing?
You know that gentle breeze that flows through every airport across the world? That’s not happening because someone left a door open or because an air steward is using an extra high powered hairdryer; it’s because at least 50% of the airport population is always sighing. And maybe you like that – maybe you’re one of them. But either way you need to know – either so that you can run for the hills as fast as you can because ohforgoodnesssake, or so that you can set yourselves regular alarms to remind you to breathe in as well as out. Seriously guys, be careful.
5. How much do looks matter to you?
Even the most beautiful of people with the best genes and moisturiser aren’t safe from the horrendous effect that air travel has on the human complexion. But are you going to let that go and remember that everybody will look better after a shower and some real air? Or are you going to feel the need to point out how incredible it is that somebody who looks so close to death is still managing to function? It’s a good idea to talk this one through in advance, otherwise somebody may end up with an aeroplane plastic fork somewhere they do NOT want to find a plastic fork.
So what’s the verdict? Are you heading straight online to book the trip of a lifetime with your soulmate, or are you dividing up your things into ‘mine’, ‘yours’ and ‘for the bin’ and waiting for your parents to come and get you the hell out of there?
If it’s the latter then I’m very sorry to hear it but I think it’s for the best. If you want to feel better, just ask them what day they’ll need to put that rubbish out for collection. I’ve got a feeling their answer will confirm you’ve had a lucky escape.