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Column: Aisle seat the answer to 7 of 10 vacation ills?

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My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall.

We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up.

I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign me an article to read in ShopSmart magazine: “Your Feel-Good Vacation”


According to this piece, there is actually little chance you will feel good. These are some things they want you to worry about.

Traveler’s diarrhea: In this section we learn that seven out of 10 travelers experience this, which is why requests for aisle seats trump window seats on most overseas flights.

An infectious disease specialist said, “Many people have been derailed by this problem.”

I am sure even more have been de-planed and de-boated. But I suppose it does happen on trains as well. The good doctor suggests you take a drug called bismuth subsalicylate with you on the trip. But in a real emergency, I’d suggest just saying Pepto Bismol to the druggist. You really haven’t got a lot of time to mess with the pronunciation.

The doctor directs you to not drink tap water or eat local fruits and vegetables that may be contaminated, but apparently he didn’t read the warning in the next paragraph.

Constipation: This is a different doctor (I know, I know, medicine is getting really specialized) who says that four out of 10 people suffer from this disorder on trips. Wait a second: Seven out of 10 have the first problem, and four of 10 have the other problem. That means one person has both problems. Or does that mean he kinda doesn’t have any problem?

All I know is that the four out of 10 people don’t need an aisle seat. By the way, this physician suggests eating a lot of fruit and vegetables. Seriously, do these doctors ever talk to each other?

Blood clots: Here’s another cheery section. It begins by telling readers who travel by plane to stand up as often as possible and stretch, so “it’s most important that you get an aisle seat.” Sadly, most of those seats are being taken by you-know-who. If you do end up with the middle seat, you better hope the guy in the aisle seat isn’t sitting there very often, which come to think of it, he won’t be.

Motion sickness: Once again, an aisle seat is recommended, but hurry. Those seats are going fast. However, if you are traveling by car, you should take the window option.

Back pain: “When people lift bags into the top compartment, many swing them in a way that can cause harm,” says an orthopedic surgeon.

That is so true. On our trip to Ireland a few years ago, I decked a man and half his family with a poorly timed toss of my duffle bag into the overhead.

Dr. Santi Rao goes on to advise that you should always hold your bags close to your body. Good advice, especially in the New York and Amsterdam airports.

Next to this article is a lovely color photo of suggested travel drugs and what they will look like when you pack them neatly into one smart-looking designer carry-on bag. There’s Miralax, Ricola, Dramamine, Lomotil, Pepto Bismol and Benadryl, to name a few. It’s a visual representation of everything that can potentially ruin your trip.

The magazine admonishes against purchasing these products overseas because in some countries the over-the-counter meds are counterfeit. But you probably will have to buy them there, anyway. Once the TSA agent sees that stash at the airport, you’ll be lucky to still have your 2-ounce bottle of shampoo.

Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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