by Andy Rooney

I would like to mount a campaign once again to encourage people not to go anywhere.

Travel is still so expensive that I think people ought to stay home. People pay fortunes for their homes and then leave them to go someplace else.

"Away" seems to be our most popular destination. Why are we crowding our highways and airports? I was looking at all the ads in newspapers and magazines for places to go.

One of the best ways to save money these days is by staying home and doing things around the house.

Is everything done around your house? If you don't like it, sell it, otherwise stick around on vacation and take your pleasure doing the things that need to be done.

Sometimes, travel is quite unpleasant.

There's nothing good about going to an airport, waiting an hour and a half for your flight and then squeezing into a space half as big as you are next to someone twice as big. When you land, half the time it isn't anywhere near where you want to be.

It's hard to know whether it's better to have a friend or a stranger in the seat next to you. I always hope for a small, pretty woman, but I usually end up with a big, fat guy. My opinion is that they ought to let the smaller people on board for half price.

If you enjoy waiting on the runway, the airport's the place to go.

The runway is a great place to rest. I've made a dozen trips in the last few years and in the time it took me to get where I was going, I could have walked. They tell you about the flight time as though that was the actual time it took to get from departure to your destination.

The actual flight time is often the least of the time it takes to get there. You're on the plane for twice as long as you're in the air. The only thing good about flight is the flight attendants. I'm surprised that the attendants seem as good as ever. I don't know where they get them.

Airfares vary widely depending on your destination, when you book your trip, and the day and time of departure. If you really want to go somewhere, here are some sample airfares:

New York to St. Louis: $591

Buffalo to San Francisco: $482

New York to Los Angeles: $428

Newark to Anchorage: $819

Newark to Florida is about one third the distance from New York to L.A. but it's the same price, $428. I don't know why it's that much.

In many cases, of course, I'd be willing to pay NOT to go to wherever it was. You probably have a list of places you never want to go back to. I can think of half a dozen cities I hope I never have to visit again. I won't mention my old hometown because it may be on your list.

Once you've landed at the airport in the city you've flown to, you have to find a way into town.

It usually costs about the same as your airfare to get there, and if you're lucky the taxi driver has heard of where you want to go. More often, it seems as if it's the cab driver's first time there, too.

If you're staying at a hotel, it may be almost empty, but your room is down at the end of the hall. The biggest thing in it is the television set. Whatever the window looks out on is the same in Chicago as it is in Dallas, and it's seldom anything you want to see.

Many hotels still have the shower in the bathtub, which I dislike, but hotels are great about towels. The towels are usually big and there are several of them. I take soap home.

A hotel room in Sidney, Australia, is about $50 less than one in New York City. It costs around $2,470 to go from New York to Sidney and back, though, and I'd go, but I don't want to save the $50 and it's a very long plane ride.


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