Planning the Perfect Vacation: Advice from the Classics

Jul 13, 2019

Not only does classic literature provide wisdom for life and virtue, but it also yields all the advice needed to plan the perfect vacation, as exemplifed in the following cursory survey. 

If you don’t want surprise company upon your return, be sure to lock the doors and close up tight when you leave home. (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Choose a mode of transportation that feels “free and easy and comfortable,” preferably one that allows for plenty of stops along the way. (Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)

Create drama rivaling a Spanish bullfight by inviting all the members of a love triangle to vacation with you. (Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises) 

Enjoy the fellow-travelers whom you bring with you or meet on the road: tell stories, play games—you might even try a friendly competition and treat the winner to a meal upon reaching your destination. (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales)

Speak often of your destination to bring cheer, anticipation, and purposefulness to your traveling. (John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress

If visiting foreign countries, charter a trusted tour guide. (Dante, Divine Comedy

Always identify the ingredients in the food you are served. (Herodotus, Histories)

Refer to a map and don’t rely on memory, especially grandma’s memory, when taking spontaneous side-trips. (Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”)

When your travels take you past the homes of friends or acquaintances, drop by for a surprise visit—but check first to see if they’re in town. (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice)

Don’t be in a rush to get home, but seize the adventures, explorations, and romances your return route offers you. (Homer, The Odyssey)

Lindsey Brigham Knott

Lindsey Brigham Knott

Lindsey Knott relishes the chance to learn literature, composition, rhetoric, and logic alongside her students at a classical school in her North Florida hometown. She and her husband Alex keep a home filled with books, instruments, and good company.

The opinions and arguments of our contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute or its leadership.

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