5 travel lessons we learned from ’90s TV shows

Welcome to Cheapflights

The simple way to find cheap flights and hotels from all your favorite travel companies

Whether it was the proper way to deal with a love triangle, how to get bubblegum out of a french braid, or why one should always, always define the terms of being “on a break,” there are so many life lessons we learned from ‘90s TV. And no episodes were more jam-packed with 22-minute morals than vacation specials. From lost passports to mistaken identities, pickpockets to weddings gone wrong, here are 5 travel lessons we learned from our favorite ‘90s TV shows.

“Friends”: While en route to your destination wedding, learn your fiancé’s name

Friends taught us about travel

If you’re a true “Friends” fanatic, chances are you still get a little nervous during the vows portion of any wedding you attend. It was one of the most cringe-worthy moments in sitcom history, when, after the gang flew overseas for Ross’ impromptu wedding to Emily, he accidentally says Rachel’s name during his vows.

While the now-infamous nuptials in a half-demolished church in London, England didn’t end quite so happily ever after, they did leave us with a few destination-wedding tips that still resonate post-millennium. First, the flight is the perfect time to rehearse your vows or speech—the in-flight entertainment can wait. Second, travel stress (you know, like flying to the U.K. to surprise the man you’re secretly in love with to tell him before his wedding to another woman) can make it easy to forget important things like your passport. And third, the perfect way to get out of attending a destination wedding is to be very, very pregnant.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”: Always lock up your belongings (and also beware ski chalet robbers)

Carlton Banks dancing at Christmastime

There are certain situations you just can’t Carlton-dance your way out of, one of which is having your chalet burglarized the day you arrive for a family ski vacation in Utah. While you don’t need Will Smith to tell you there are certain risks associated with letting a stranger into your home, there are ways you can protect yourself from thieves while traveling. (Because, as you probably know, touristy things like pulling out maps and Lonely Planet guides can make you a target for pickpockets.) Make photocopies of all your important documents — passport, Visa, tickets, etc. — and keep them in a separate bag. Use your hotel room or hostel safe, and buy a small lock for your suitcase zipper. Lastly, channel your inner Fresh Prince and embrace the fanny pack. 

“Full House”: When sailing, ensure your destination is an actual island and not a potato chip crumb

Uncle Jesse in Hawaii

In case the image of John Stamos in lime green swim trunks isn’t seared into your memory, let us wind back the laugh track to “Full House” episode “Tanner’s Island.” The Tanners are stranded on a Hawaiian beach after mistaking the remnants of their on-board snack for an island on their map (an honest mistake, really). After building a “Survivor”-worthy shelter in a frenzy of one-pieces and tie-dye scrunchies, the family realizes that they were just on the wrong side of the right island the whole time. The episode culminates, obviously, with a rousing rendition of Elvis’ Rock-A-Hula performed by Uncle Jesse and a local tribe. (Unfortunately for all, The Rippers couldn’t make the trip.)

While we’re hesitant to endorse any lessons learned from “Full House” plots, the episode does make a case for proper orienteering. For those who depend a little too heavily on Siri’s direction, learning how to not only read a paper map, but choose the right one for the job (i.e. topographic maps vs. road maps vs. thematic maps), can save your floral bloomers when traveling off the beaten track.     

“Saved By The Bell”: Las Vegas is a great place to get married…

Zach Morris and Kelly Kapowski

…As long as your dream wedding includes a weekend of hijinks, car chases and celebrity cameos. For those who recall Zack and Kelly’s Sin City nuptials in 1994 TV movie “Saved By The Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas,” getting married in Las Vegas isn’t quite the quick-and-dirty elopement it’s made out to be (see Ross and Rachel’s minibar-fueled, Sharpie-whiskered “I Dos” in season five of “Friends”). Just a heads up: if you’re one of the 80,000-some people who plan on getting married in Vegas in 2016, you can’t just show up at the chapel, as was the ‘90s-sitcom MO. Both parties need to appear in person before a clerk at the Marriage License Bureau. There’s also a pre-application process online, if you’re in a rush — or trying to tie the knot during sweeps.

Search for flights to Las Vegas

“Seinfeld”: Choose your travel buddies wisely

The Seinfeld happy dance

Remember the “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry gets two free tickets to Los Angeles to appear on “The Tonight Show?” We’ll spare you the spoilers, but Jerry, George and Kramer find themselves entangled in a murder plot after Kramer’s film script is found near a body. Cue the arrests, hysterical breakdowns and general tomfoolery. While it’s not a common concern for most discerning travelers, choosing the right people to bring with you abroad is essential. Read: drama-free, trustworthy companions who keep a cool head under tense circumstances—say, when you need to smooth-talk your way out of a prison stint.

 Main image: istockphoto.com/yinyang

5 travel lessons we learned from ’90s TV shows was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Chelsey Burnside
Author: Chelsey Burnside (22 posts)

Chelsey is a travel, fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Her work also appears in The Coveteur, The Ottawa Citizen, The Toronto Star and various notebooks left in airports.