Their Trip Advisor Reviews Are Bad
Travel enough and something will eventually go wrong along the way. Usually it’s something troublesome but ultimately insignificant; a plane delay, a mislaid hostel booking, a street food platter that makes the squat toilet your best friend and worst enemy all at once. It sucks, but it’s not the end of the world.
Remember, it could always be worse. The hapless souls that booked with these fictional travel companies on film or TV encountered problems that didn’t just ruin their holiday; they ruined their lives.
Oceanic Airlines (Lost)
Every traveller occasionally ponders what would happen if their plane crashed on a remote island and they were forced to survive until the rescue team showed its face.
It wasn’t until Lost, and the mysterious crash of Oceanic flight 815, that travellers started worrying about polar bears and smoke monsters, mysterious hatches in the ground containing doomsday machines, time travel and... look, we didn’t bother watching the last series, okay?
Oceanic didn’t prove terribly adept at tracking its planes, and its passengers paid the price. Maybe choose a different airline.
Sun Searchers (Little Britain)
Some travel agencies aren’t too helpful in helping you plan your dream gap year (not us, we’re super helpful, book with us! *winky face emoji*)
Sun Searchers, as seen in season three of Little Britain, didn’t employ the most accommodating staff in the world. Oh, you want to tour Southeast Asia via Myanmar before bungee jumping in New Zealand and getting a job in Australia? Sorry, computer says no.
We don’t have anyone like Carol Beer working for us. Phone us. Love us. We will love you back.
Rekall (Total Recall)
Virtual reality travel is closer than ever to being a real prospect for consumers, and with any luck it’ll prove a great deal safer than what befalls Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall.
Rekall implants memories of a holiday directly into your brain, so you can travel anywhere and have any experience without ever leaving your local high street. Except as Arnie discovers, the implant carries the risk of paranoid delusions, henchmen trying to murder you and, if you’re really unlucky, lobotomy.
You’re probably better off taking a real holiday for now.
Lyle Lanley, Monorail Salesman (The Simpsons)
Using public transport abroad can be a tricky business. You won’t know which bus to catch, or how to get on a train carriage with seats, or where that unusual smell is coming from.
Thankfully there’s nothing out there quite as bad as Lyle Lanley’s Monorail system, sold to a newly-flush Springfield with a painfully catchy song and built so shoddily that everybody nearly dies the first time it goes anywhere.
So next time you’re crammed into the back of a bus with a chicken pecking at your nostrils, remember that things could always be worse.
Weyland-Yutani Corporation (Alien)
In the interest of fairness we should point out that travel is not this mega-corporation’s chief focus, but the sheer size of its commercial empire means the company is frequently responsible for shipping people across the infinite steppes of space.
The USCSS Nostromo is returning home from a mining expedition when it is invaded by the titular alien, a phallic parasite altogether set on murdering the entire crew. You’d think Weyland-Yutani would help. Instead it deems the crew expendable and tries to preserve the parasite.
If you’ve been on the road for a few months you may have picked up a few parasites of your own, and you definitely won’t want them preserved.
Team Zissou (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
The problem with travel today is that so little uncharted territory remains. We yearn for the days of exploration before the spoilsport exposure of Google Maps and Snapchat.
So the adventures of Steve Zissou, an old-fashioned explorer and submarine-owner, that see him delve into the unknown depths of the ocean, may seem pretty appealing.
Except that his last partner was eaten by a Jaguar Shark. And his ship gets attacked by machine gun-wielding pirates. And his helicopter isn’t brilliant at staying in the air. Basically, his health and safety record isn’t something he’ll be pinning to his fridge any time soon.
You’re probably better off on a package tour.
The Overlook Hotel (The Shining)
It isn’t just transport that can leave you, well, dead. There’s plenty of fictional accommodation that you should avoid on your travels at all costs.
The Overlook Hotel is the first to strike from your bucket list. On the surface it’s quite appealing: a secluded but well-equipped hotel nestled in picturesque mountains. Unfortunately it also boasts the marauding spirits of murdered guests, elevators soggy with blood, and the small matter of close loved ones trying to hack your face off.
Shared dorms suddenly don’t seem so bad anymore.
The biggest annoyance usually encountered on a flight is being seated next to a baby, or your legs falling asleep so severely that you fear you’ll never walk again, or contracting syphilis from the recycled air.
Fly TransAmerican and you risk death by severe food poisoning, molestation at the hands of a horny inflatable auto-pilot, being beaten up by your fellow passengers, and a crash landing at the hands of someone unqualified to fly the plane.
See also: Ryanair.