Planning the Perfect Vacation: Advice from the Classics

Not only does classic literature provide wisdom for life and virtue, but it also yields all the advice needed to plan the perfect vacation, as exemplifed in the following cursory survey.

If you don’t want surprise company upon your return, be sure to lock the doors and close up tight when you leave home. (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows)

Choose a mode of transportation that feels “free and easy and comfortable,” preferably one that allows for plenty of stops along the way. (Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)

Create drama rivaling a Spanish bullfight by inviting all the members of a love triangle to vacation with you. (Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises)

Enjoy the fellow-travelers whom you bring with you or meet on the road: tell stories, play games—you might even try a friendly competition and treat the winner to a meal upon reaching your destination. (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales)

Speak often of your destination to bring cheer, anticipation, and purposefulness to your traveling. (John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress)

If visiting foreign countries, charter a trusted tour guide. (Dante, Divine Comedy)

Always identify the ingredients in the food you are served. (Herodotus, Histories)

Refer to a map and don’t rely on memory, especially grandma’s memory, when taking spontaneous side-trips. (Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”)

When your travels take you past the homes of friends or acquaintances, drop by for a surprise visit—but check first to see if they’re in town. (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice)

Don’t be in a rush to get home, but seize the adventures, explorations, and romances your return route offers you. (Homer, The Odyssey)

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