17 Holiday Travel Tips From Movies

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Paramount Pictures


Wednesday is the year's biggest travel day in America. Whether you're taking a train, a plane, or an automobile, you can find tips to make your trip less of a hassle, courtesy of your favorite movies:

1.) Don't overload you car
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: After robbing all the Whos down in Whoville of their Christmas paraphernalia, the Grinch packed up his sled. "Packed it up with their presents! The ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!" It was all far too much for his sled to handle. After the Grinch has a change of heart and tries to keep the sled from plunging off a clip, his heart must grow three sizes in order to save it. We may not all be that lucky.

2.) Check your headlights
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: A strong fog makes weather conditions too treacherous for Santa and his sleigh to fly, nearly canceling Christmas. Luckily Santa think to use Rudolph, who had just spent 90 minutes of a movie being ostracized for being different, as lead reindeer, lighting the way with his glowing red nose. We may not all have our own 75-watt reindeer, but it pays to keep a spare bulb around.

3.) Know your city's traffic norms
Elf: After Buddy the Elf discovers that he's in fact human, he embarks on a search for his biological father—a journey that takes him from the North Pole to the Empire State Building. He passes through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then walks through the Lincoln Tunnel to the streets of Manhattan, where he learns a valuable lesson about crossing New York City streets: "Watch out, the yellow ones don't stop!"

4.) Call ahead for reservations
The Nativity Story: A very pregnant Mary and her fiance Joseph journey to Bethlehem for the census, but once they arrive they discover there's no room left at the inn. When Mary goes into labor, the innkeeper offers them the stable, where Mary gives birth to baby Jesus among the barn animals.

5.) Don't bring your aunt ...
Vacation: Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) takes his family on a cross-country road trip. During a pit stop at a cousin's house (trailer) in Kansas, Clark reluctantly agrees to drive their Aunt Edna to her son's house. Unfortunately, Aunt Edna dies, adding yet another complication to the disaster of a vacation.

6.) ... Or your grandpa
Little Miss Sunshine: The Hoovers load into their antiquated, barely-running Volkswagen van to get daughter Olive from Albuquerque to California for a children's beauty pageant. Like the Griswolds, the Hoovers are unexpectedly sidetracked when Grandpa passes away during the trip, causing them to nearly miss the competition.

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Universal Pictures

7.) Carry on all baggage
Meet the Parents: A man flies from Chicago to New York to meet his girlfriend's family and makes the big mistake of checking his luggage instead of carrying it on. His bag gets lost, and when it's finally returned, the airline accidentally brings him another passenger's bag, which is full of sex paraphernalia.

8.) Stand behind Asians in the security line
Up in the Air: As a man who travels the country firing people, Ryan Bingham is full of travel tips, from the most efficient way to pack a suitcase to how to successfully (and then unsuccessfully) have business travel affairs. But the most memorable is his advice to stand behind Asians in order to get through security lines faster: "They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes. Gotta love 'em."

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Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn and Kevin Fallon

Eleanor Barkhorn is editor of The Atlantic's Entertainment channel. Kevin Fallon writes for and produces the channel.

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