“What's the point of going out? We're just gonna wind up back here anyway." - Homer Simpson
With 606 episodes, 28 seasons, and even a movie, The Simpsons - especially Homer - have taught us what not to do in life, love, business, and guess what? Travel. Fan sites note that the beloved cartoon family has traveled to every continent on earth, 24 countries, 21 U.S. States, heaven, outer space, and "The Island." Powered by a whole lot of Buzz Cola, we've gleaned through their travel adventures and other mishaps to extract the best lessons to help you better hit the open road.
Marge Simpson: Chuck Garabedian says you can fly mega cheap if you don't care where you go. Chuck: That's right. Just go to the airport and wait for some no-shows. Then you can buy their seats for a fraction of the price.
You don't save money booking at the last minute.
In the episode, "30 Minutes Over Tokyo," (Season 10, Episode 23) the Simpson family attempts to fly stand-by to Japan hoping to score cheap tickets. That may work in Springfield, but unfortunately, in the real world, most airlines increase their ticket prices within two weeks of departure, and again within three days. If you are looking for a bargain, stick with advance purchased fares. Better yet, track the most affordable and easiest time to travel with apps like, Hoppr.
Jacob: You don't want to do a photo with me? You can hold my gun. - I used it in Entebbe.
When traveling somewhere new, try experiencing it with a local. In "The Greatest Story Every Do'd," (Season 21, Episode 16) the Simpsons tour Israel with Jacob, an outrageous Israeli voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat fame. Hilarious memories are made. Part of seeing the world is understanding it through the eye of a local. The travel site, Airbnb, now has a feature that enables hosts to offer guests experiences that showcase their local knowledge. Traveling to Europe? You may want to book on Icelandair. The airline lets you stopover for seven nights in the country for no extra charge. They'll even arrange a free "Stopover Buddy" to show you around for a day.
Royalty Valhalla MC: Once we reach our exciting, and hopefully virus free destination, romantic Antartica, Our activities will include building shelter, hunting food and starting civilization anew.
Know who to call before you get into trouble.
You wouldn't have wanted to be aboard the cruise ship, Royalty Valhalla, when Bart tricked everyone onboard into believing a deadly virus plagued civilization in "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again," (Season 23, Episode 19). The cruise ship descends into anarchy en route to Antartica, where the crew plans to start humanity anew. Stay abreast of real travel dangers by enrolling in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) when you travel to foreign countries (or on a cruise ship). STEP is a free service that sends you travel warnings in the event of a real emergency. Besides danger, think about who you'll call in the event of logistical emergencies. The travel gurus at The New York Times recommend researching what travel assistance your credit cards offer and keeping their international phone numbers handy. Put those travel rewards cards to good use.
Homer: So it's opposite land! Crooks chase cops, cats have puppies!
Lisa: No, Dad, it's just the weather.
Homer: So hot snow falls up?
You get what you pay for, especially with the weather.
In the episode "Blame It on Lisa," (Season 13, Episode 15), the Simpsons go to Brazil. As Homer arrives, he tells Bart to forget the fluent Spanish he learned during the flight and is shocked to find out the seasons are reversed (It's "100 percent hot with a high chance of passion in Brazil," in case you were wondering.) It's easy to be seduced by low airfare or cheap resort prices and forget about the weather you'll face on your trip. Check out the website, Best Time To Go before you look at prices.
Bart: That took too long. How come we had to transfer in Atlanta twice?
Lisa: I just say we should have paid the extra $1.50 and got a bus with restrooms!
Sometimes, it's worth it to pay more for a better itinerary.
In "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" (Season 9, Episode 1), the Simpsons "save" money by taking the long way to The Big Apple. But as the Simpsons know, suffering through a red-eye flight or relying on multiple connections to help save money can have large opportunity costs. Homer ends up paying for an insane number of parking tickets. Think how you'll feel about all the money you saved when you're buying a new toothbrush and overpriced meal stuck (if you're "lucky") at an airport motel when you could be sitting pool side in Cabo. Not good. Think carefully about the value of your time, sanity and cost of meals and incidentals when choosing a travel route. Feel like splurging? Many airlines offer upgrades at check-in for reasonable prices.
Homer: Why can't you people learn to speak my language? I learned to eat your food!
You can communicate in every major language with your smartphone. In "The Italian Bob" (Season 17, Episode 8), after enjoying some wine at a McDonald's in Pisa, Italy, the Simpsons crash a Lamborghini and run into language problems. They didn't need to. Armed with the Google Translate app, Homer could have whipped out his smartphone to avoid insulting the locals. Recommended by the travel website, Triphackr, the Google Translate app offers text, voice and camera activated translation for 27 languages - without data! Just note that while a smartphone may make it easier to travel, it never hurts to learn a few local language courtesy words. La toilette per favore?
Flight Attendant: Sir, return to your seat.
Homer: But I have to go to the bathroom.
Flight Attendant: You should have thought of that before you drank the fluids you need to live. Don't get kicked off the plane.
In "Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson" (Season 23, Episode 10), Homer, despite his political credentials, is kicked off an airplane for using the bathroom at the wrong time. You may think that you can get away with small offenses as an airline customer, but Federal Aviation Regulations give flight crew wide latitude to kick off a passenger from the plane. The travel blog, Airfare Watchdog, notes that besides losing your ticket, if you are kicked off a plane for anything other than being an inconvenience to other passengers (uncontrollable crying baby?) you will face legal and financial penalties. Follow the lighted signs when onboard and save your partying for after you land.
Not even Homer could screw up getting the best travel deal at Quote.com.