We may be expecting snow in some parts of the country this weekend, but in other parts of the world they’re prepping for the onslaught of tourist season. With my own summer holiday only a matter of weeks away, I’m already picking my outfits out and stocking up on suntan lotion ready to spend a week doing little other than sipping cocktails by the pool. Although once you touch down at your chosen destination the joy is free-flowing, inevitably the journey to get there is somewhat troublesome. If you’ve ever rushed to the airport, forgotten something essential, spent the flight feeling uncomfortable or ruined the first few hours of your much anticipated holiday trying to find the car hire desk, then you need my top tips for ensuring you fly absolutely stress free. As someone that often travels a lot for work as well as pleasure, I feel I’ve got the process nailed and know how to minimise any discomfort or potential problems. So read on and be holiday ready…
LEAVE PLENTY OF TRAVEL TIME
I hate the feeling of being rushed, or not having the time I need to stock up on pre-flight essentials and duty free. Worse still, I absolutely hate that gut-wrenching sensation you get when you think you’re going to miss your flight/train/boat. (After experiencing this in New York a number of years ago and googling the prices of other flights while sitting in a traffic jam outside of JFK, it’s not something I want to repeat any time soon!) It sounds simple, but leaving plenty of time to get to the airport (and plenty of time once you get to the other side) is the key to all happiness. If the airline ask you to check in two hours ahead of your flight, make sure you’re there ten minutes early with bells on; it’s always better to be a little ahead of schedule than panicking because you’re behind.
SPEAK TO YOUR TRAVEL PROVIDER
If you have any allergies, intolerances or dietary requirements, make sure you speak to your travel provider or airline before you board. It may not be a big deal to skip lunch if you’re only on a short flight, but when you’re tackling a 7-10 hour journey it’s really not ideal. I can’t eat dairy, but I often find breakfast and lunch on-board meals are made up of as much cheese as they can cram in; after spending a flight back from the USA starving hungry, now I know to always let them know about my dietary requirements before I get anywhere near the plane. If you can, make a note of it within your booking at the time of payment; alternatively, let the check-in desk know upon your arrival.
EAT BEFORE YOU BOARD
With the increase in availability of decent food at airports, it’s also adviseable to eat a full meal before you fly. Airline food is full of preservatives and salt, so it may be temporarily tasty but it’s going to dehydrate and dull your skin over time. If you can have a hearty breakfast or lunch before you board, and skip the in-flight meal, you’ll feel much better on the other side. The same goes for those of us with an allergy or intolerance – it’s always safer to fill up ahead of time, so even if they can’t accommodate you you won’t be starving. It’s also a great idea to take your own drinks and healthy snacks onto the plane, as all they ever give you is a mini can of Coke and a pack of peanuts!
PACK AN EMERGENCY KIT
There’s nothing worse than starting to feel a little ill when you’re traveling, and not being able to do anything about it. Packing a little kit of paracetamol, upset stomach relief tablets and a heat pack that needs to be broken to be activated is the best advice I can give. It’s also a great idea to take an empty water bottle which can be filled up when you need it, rather than relying on the drinks trolley coming around every two hours and only giving you three drops into a tumbler. (Drinking plenty always helps your body to cleanse away what’s making you feel dodgy.) Using earplugs and a super soft eye mask will also help you get some shuteye – never rely on the awful free kit they provide you if you want to land feeling refreshed!
HAVE LAYERS WITHIN EASY REACH
Temperatures change immeasurably when you’re on a flight; what may seem like a warm and cosy cabin initially can quickly become a refrigerator. Packing layers of jumpers and scarves, as well as a blanket, will help keep you comfortable and alert – especially important when on a long-haul flight or when traveling overnight. Those rubbish little blankets they give out can barely be classified as such, so make sure you have as much as you need to keep you enjoying your journey rather than counting down the minutes. Wearing shoes that can easily be slipped on and off, layers that can be stored away until you need them and a jumper that could double up as a pillow may seem a little OTT – but you won’t regret it.
KNOW YOUR ON-BOARD BEAUTY ESSENTIALS
Traveling can take its toll on our skin, so it can be beneficial to pack a little supply of beauty treats that you can bring out while flying through the sky. Removing your makeup and applying a hydrating cream will ensure you land looking fabulous, while sheet masks and nourishing serums will inject your skin with goodness that it may otherwise be losing. Don’t forget a hard working lip balm and hand cream too, as well as some hair bobbles and a calming sleep spray if you want to nod off. Check out my list of hand-luggage beauty essentials if you need some other suggestions!
PLAN YOUR ONGOING JOURNEY
You may get a little excited and preoccupied with planning how you’re going to spend the next week or two, but planning your ongoing journey when you get to the other side is the key to a stress-free start. Whether you’re picking up a car, catching a bus or need to hail a taxi, make sure you know where you need to go and how much money you’ll need. Hiring cars often involve leaving a credit card and deposit behind (which they mostly don’t tell you when you book,) while finding a bus stop after a six hour flight is probably the last thing you need. Ask for directions or a clear onward journey plan while you’re still on UK soil.
Do you have any other top tips for making your holiday journey as easy and stress free as possible?
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