By Andrea Zimmerman, Condé Nast Traveler
It's a bold claim, but we asked a born-and-raised Midwesterner about the personality traits that make them the ideal travel companions.
1. The stereotype is true: We're friendly. We're the people you want next to you when your flight is delayed, your luggage is lost, or an airline rep is rude. In truth, we'll probably apologize to you when your layover in Minneapolis is five hours longer than scheduled because the plane is de-icing -- again. That's because we feel directly responsible for our state's horrendous snowstorms. (Really, we're so sorry.)
2. We handle flight delays with the patience of saints. Because when your main airport hub is Chicago O'Hare International, which until 2005 was the busiest airport in the world for takeoffs and landings, we've already pre-planned for a leisurely (read: delayed) travel day. Which is why...
3. We probably already own a pair of practical shoes. Because we're a practical people, of course. And with a pair of comfy kicks, the world -- and the O'Hare food court -- becomes your oyster, my friend. Just make sure to kindly remove them in the security line; the TSA doesn't appreciate your sneakers as much as we do.
4. You won't have difficulty understanding our accents. While a Boston accent drops its Rs and a Tennessee drawl can sound charming, the General American accent -- the one most American newscasters are trained to speak in -- is most closely related to a Midwestern accent. In short: You'll have no trouble understanding the words coming out of our mouths. (And because we're friendly, you'll hear plenty of "please" and "thank you.")
5. We'll talk to anyone. We might border on being too trusting when it comes to chatting up every barista, busker, or homeless person we come across, but that means we never get too lost (because we're never too prideful to ask for directions), and it guarantees we come home with at least six epic stories, three new best friends, and quite possibly $100 missing from our wallets.