17 Holiday Travel Tips From Movies

9.) Keep track of your kid in the airport...
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: In the Home Alone sequel, the family manages to avoid leaving their son at home—but they end up losing him at the airport. He mistakenly gets on a plane to New York while the rest of the family heads off to Florida.

10.) ...And on the plane
Flight Plan: A woman boards a New York-bound airplane in Berlin, with her daughter in tow. After finding their seats, the mother falls asleep. When she wakes up, her daughter has disappeared—but no one on the plane believes her.

11.) Wait for the plane ...
Home Alone: When a mother discovers she left her son at home while the rest of the family went on vacation, she wants to get back home to him as quickly as possible. But holiday travel being what it is, she can't get on a flight, so she hitches a ride from Scranton to Chicago with a group of workaholic polka musicians. Twelve hours and 700 miles later, she finally arrives at home—about five minutes earlier than the rest of the family, who had waited for the next flight.

12.) ...Or don't
Forces of Nature: After the plane he's taking to his wedding gets engine failure, a man decides to rent a car and drive to his destination with a good-looking fellow passenger. Over the course of their journey, he realizes he would be making a big mistake if he married his fiancee—and that he's in love with his traveling companion.


New Line Cinema

13.) Stay clear of news cameras
Four Christmases: Unmarried with no children and two sets of divorced parents, Brad and Kate escape the burden of awkward Christmas obligations by pretending to go away to do charity work each holiday season—in reality, they head to tropical destinations. But when all flights are grounded due to a fogbank, Brad and Kate's plans are canceled. Worse, a TV news crew interviews them about the ordeal, alerting all four parental units that they will be in town for the holidays, forcing the couple to endure four Christmases.

14.) Don't be too friendly with people at the airport bar
Red Eye: A woman's flight is delayed, so she goes for a drink with a handsome man she's met at the gate. Big mistake: he turns out to be a terrorist bent on killing a government official—or her father.

15.) Keep track of your belongings at all times
The Polar Express: A young boy has the experience of a lifetime when he's picked up by a train on Christmas Eve and taken to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. He's selected as the lucky kid to receive the first present of Christmas and asks for a bell from Santa's sleigh. Santa obliges—but when the boy returns home he realizes he's lost the bell because it fell through a hole in his pocket.

16.) Pop a breath mint before picking up loved ones
Love Actually: The love it/hate it romantic comedy begins with Hugh Grant's character saying, "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport." The monologue is delivered over a montage of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, and old friends all reuniting in an airport terminal, homecomings that are alternately romantic, heartbreaking, happy, sad, and, sometimes, sexy.

17.) Train travel may not actually be safer than air travel
While You Were Sleeping: With the TSA's new body scanners raising concern among air travelers, some are considering taking trains home this year instead of planes. But this movie shows that train travel can be just as problematic as air travel. A man gets mugged and knocked unconscious on a train platform, and when he comes to several weeks later he realizes a delusional woman has been claiming to be his fiancee for the whole time he's been in a coma.

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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