I’m no expert (I don’t even use the “expert traveler” lane at security), but my recent experiences with international travel confirmed the following traveler types.
The Social Drinker
You become fast friends with all the flight attendants before the plane even takes off. If you haven’t finagled your way into first class, you’re either upgraded to business class or you have an exit row seat. During the flight, your charm, wit and amiable attitude affords you a couple of free Bloody Marys and a slew of new Facebook friends who would be happy to put you up the next time you are visiting (insert exotic land here). When the plane lands, you barely notice how much time has passed because you’ve been having such a great time with your new besties.
Something about travel lulls you. You’re nearly REM cycling at the waiting gate, so it’s a miracle you even make it to your seat. You always request the window, because it’s hard for you to wake up and let your seatmates in once you’ve already gotten comfortable. You don’t read any of the magazines you brought, since you only wake up twice—once when you intuitively sense the beverage cart is passing and again when the wheels hit the ground at your destination. You have a constant crick in your neck, but you’re too sleepy to buy a neck pillow before takeoff.
You reminisce for the good old days (most likely before you were born), when people dressed up to travel. No matter how long the flight, you wear pressed pants or a skirt, a jacket and uncomfortable shoes. You gingerly lay your jacket on top of everyone’s overhead luggage only after takeoff to ensure no one else disturbs it. Sometimes, you opt for the luxury of reclining your seat, but for the most part, you sit straight up and type quietly on your laptop or watch the in-flight movies. You do not sleep on planes.
You have no qualms about wearing pajamas to the airport. And if you didn’t think the TSA agents would find you strangely suspicious, you would wear your bunny slippers, too. You come fully equipped with a giant pillow, blanket, headphones and pre-packed meal, plus 18 different magazines, the latest New York Times bestseller and an iPad. If there is an open seat next to you on the plane, you spread out into it and nap (Why not?). You tried to paint your nails once, but the fumes bothered your seatmates.
The Package Deal
Whether there are two of you or twelve of you, you arrive together, check in together, sit together, go to the bathroom together (unless one of you is watching everyone’s stuff), eat together and board together, differing boarding zones aside. You do whatever it takes to make sure you’re seated next to each other, even if it means giving away your window seats and the m&ms you bought in the gift shop. You socialize with others only when necessary, armed with the knowledge that everything you need is right next to you (probably attached to your arm).