Authors: Dave Barry
If there’s one thing you can count on from Dave Barry, it’s extreme humor. Nonstop yuks.”
“Dave Barry is the only living writer who makes me laugh out loud, something he accomplished on virtually every page of his latest collection of craziness—from the introduction to the final page.”
—The Boston Globe
“Have you ever had a vacation where you
lose the car keys or traveler’s checks, get a seat on the plane next to a crying baby or airsick adult, or end up divorced without ever going near Nevada? If so, you probably wouldn’t understand what’s so funny about
Dave Barry’s Only Travel Guide You’ll Ever Need
. The rest of us, however, would.”
—Kansas City Star
“For good old belly laughs and delightful play with clichés of the language, there’s
Dave Barry’s Only Travel Guide You’ll Ever Need.”
—The Boston Phoenix
By Dave Barry:
DAVE BARRY’S GUIDE TO MARRIAGE AND/OR SEX
CLAW YOUR WAY TO THE TOP
STAY FIT AND HEALTHY UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD
BABIES AND OTHER HAZARDS OF SEX
THE TAMING OF THE SCREW
BAD HABITS: A 100% FACT-FREE BOOK
DAVE BARRY SLEPT HERE
DAVE BARRY TURNS 40
DAVE BARRY TALKS BACK
DAVE BARRY’S ONLY TRAVEL GUIDE
YOU’LL EVER NEED
DAVE BARRY DOES JAPAN
DAVE BARRY IS
MAKING THIS UP
HOMES AND OTHER BLACK HOLES
DAVE BARRY’S GREATEST HITS
DAVE BARRY’S COMPLETE GUIDE TO GUYS
DAVE BARRY IN CYBERSPACE
DAVE BARRY IS FROM MARS AND VENUS
DAVE BARRY’S BOOK OF BAD SONGS
DAVE BARRY TURNS 50
DAVE BARRY IS NOT TAKING THIS SITTING DOWN!
DAVE BARRY HITS BELOW THE BELTWAY
BOOGERS ARE MY BEAT
DAVE BARRY’S MONEY SECRETS
DAVE BARRY’S HISTORY OF THE MILLENNIUM
Published by Ballantine Books
Books published by The Random House Publishing Group are available at quantity discounts on bulk purchases for premium, educational, fund-raising, and special sales use. For details, please call 1-800-733-3000
This book is dedicated to
Wilbur and Orville Wright,
without whom air sickness
would still be just a dream
Air Travel (Or: Why Birds Never Look Truly Relaxed)
See the USA First! (While We Still Own Part of It)
Camping: Nature’s Way of Promoting the Motel Industry
ankind has always had a yen to travel. Millions of years ago, Mankind would be sitting around the cave, eating raw mastodon parts, and he’d say, “Marge, I have a yen to travel.” And Marge would agree instantly, because she had frankly reached the point where if she saw one more mastodon part, she was going to scream. So off they’d go, these primitive tourists, exploring new territory, seeing new sights, encountering new cultures, and eventually having their skulls bashed into tiny fragments by the Big Rock Tribe.
But that has not stopped us. No, the human race is far too stupid to be deterred from tourism by a mere several million years of bad experiences, and today, we’re traveling in larger numbers than ever. We travel because, no matter how comfortable we are at home, there’s a part of us that wants—that
—to see new vistas, take new tours, obtain new traveler’s checks, buy new
souvenirs, order new entrees, introduce new bacteria into our intestinal tracts, learn new words for “transfusion,” and have all the other travel adventures that make us want to French-kiss our doormats when we finally get home.
Of course, traveling is much easier today than it used to be. A hundred years ago, it could take you the better part of a year to get from New York to California; whereas today, because of equipment problems at O’Hare, you can’t get there at all. Also, in the olden days a major drawback to traveling was the fact that much of the world was occupied by foreign countries, which had no concept whatsoever of how a country is supposed to operate. Many of them did not accept major credit cards. Sometimes the people would not understand plain English unless you spoke very loud. A few of these countries—it’s hard to believe this was even legal—
did not have television in the hotel rooms
So as you can imagine, traveling was often a harsh and brutal experience. In one case, a group of innocent American tourists was taken on a tour bus through a country the members later described as “either France or Sweden” and subjected to three days of looking at old, dirty buildings in cities where it was
not possible to get a cheeseburger
. It reached the point where the U.S. government was considering having U.S. troops, with special military mini-bars strapped to their backs, parachute into these countries to set up emergency restaurants.
Fortunately, however, most of these countries eventually realized the marketing advantages of not being so foreign. Today you can go to almost any country in the world and barely realize that you’ve left Akron, Ohio, unless of course you are so stupid as to go outside the hotel. “Never go outside the hotel”: this is one of the cardinal rules of travel. Another one is: “Never board a commercial aircraft if the pilot is wearing a tank top.”
These are just two of the many vital nuggets of information you’ll find throughout this book. Another good thing about this book is, it doesn’t mince words. The problem with most so-called experts in the travel industry is that they are—no offense—lying scum. These people
you to travel. That’s how they make
. That’s why they’re called “the travel industry.” So naturally they’re going to tell you whatever they think you want to hear.
: So, are there modern hotels in Latvia?
: Oh, yes. Very modern.
: Have you been there?
, no, but I have perused almost all the way through a brochure about it, and I can assure you that the modernity of Latvian hotels is pretty much of a legend. “As modern as a Latvian hotel” is an expression that we frequently bandy about, here in the travel industry.
And then, of course, when you get there, you discover that the hotel elevator is powered by oxen, and you have to share a communal bathroom with several Baltic republics, and the toilet paper could be used to deflect small-arms fire. But at that point there are no representatives of the travel industry within a thousand miles. You’ll never find
in Latvia. They spend
vacations at the mall.
Most travel guidebooks are the same way. For one thing, most of these books are filled with information that was gathered during the Truman administration. The writers never have time to update the information, because they’re too busy cranking out next year’s edition (NEW! REVISED! HIGHLY INACCURATE!). Also, no matter what destination these books are talking about, they’ll tell you it’s wonderful: “Even the most demanding traveler is bound to feel a warm glow after only a few days in Chernobyl …”
This is not that kind of travel book. We call them as we see them. If we think a country is awful, we’re going to say so,
even if we’ve never been to this country and know virtually nothing about it
. That’s the kind of integrity we have. Right off the bat, for example, we’re rejecting Paraguay as a destination. “Stay the hell out of Paraguay” is another one of the cardinal rules of travel, and we’ll be giving you many, many more of these time-tested axioms as we think them up.
And what qualifies us as a travel expert? For one thing, we frequently refer to ourselves in the plural. For another thing, we have been travelling
for many years, dating back to when we were a young boy in the early 1950s and our father used to drive our entire family from New York to Florida in a car that actually got smaller with every passing mile, so that by the time we got to Georgia the interior was the size of a standard mailbox, but not as comfortable, and the backseat hostility level between our sister and us routinely reached the point where any object placed between us would instantly burst into flame.
Yes, we have many fond travel memories. You are going to read about every damned one of them. Also, we may decide to make you look at the color slides we took of our trip to the Virgin Islands, featuring nearly two dozen shots of the airplane wing alone.