Feb 6, 2020
Health & Lifestyle | Lauranne Heres
When you travel, there’s enough to worry about with flight delays, potential hotel disasters and travel bugs. Regular travellers are efficient, and always breeze through security without being stopped. You’ve all heard about rolling your clothes and packing the heavy things at the bottom of the suitcase. But what are the things that make travelling a great experience, rather than a hassle?
Let a travel expert tell you all about it!
Get the right technology
There’s a bunch of apps that can help with organising every little aspect of your trip. Try looking for the best flights via Skyscanner or Kayak. Check out a place to stay using Booking.com or Hotels.com and once you’re there, use TripAdvisor to check out the best restaurants and tours. Always download the app of your airline, as this means you won’t have to print your ticket if you don’t want to, and if they have on-flight entertainment, you’ll be able to get that on your phone or tablet. For frequent fliers, App in the Air is a lifesaver, as it keeps all your flights in one place. It also has funky stats about where you’ve been and sends regular updates if your flight’s delayed.
Invest in a great suitcase
Yes, they are expensive. But buying the right luggage is essential. While softs bags are more forgiving when you overfill them, I’m a fan of a hard shell. I finally caved and bought Samsonite bags in different sizes, and I have not looked back since. They are well made, and their warranty means they’ll give you a new suitcase if there’s anything they can’t fix. If you’re going to places where thefts are rife, consider a non-zipper case for sure. This is also more eco-friendly than wrapping your luggage at the airport. Also make sure you have a TSA-approved lock, as they open your luggage quite regularly if you travel to the US, and most airports also have the right keys for that, in case you ever forget your keys at home (been there, done that).
Packing cubes are your friends
Rolling your clothes works well but rolling them inside a packing cube means you can separate tops and underwear, pyjamas from leggings and you can even pack outfits ahead of time. Always pack a laundry bag (sometimes they come in a set with cubes, or you can grab one at a hotel and reuse it) and have some bags for your shoes too. You don’t want any mud getting on your clothes after you trekked across the jungle! Invest in good bags for your toiletries: a bigger one for long journeys, where you can just throw everything in when it’s time to go. For your cabin luggage, invest in a sturdy plastic bag that will fit everything you need for 3-4 days and won’t break after two trips like the bags you get given at security.
What to bring
If you’re going for a weekend, less is more. Wear the same jeans for 3 days or bring a spare pair of leggings and a nice tunic if you’re likely to go out at night. Settle on versatile shoes, like fancy slip-ons or snazzy trainers. For longer trips, make sure you pack sweaters for cold nights (even if you’re going somewhere hot), as well as a dress or two for the occasional fancy dinner. Make sure you remember your swimsuit and a microfiber towel. Always pack different types of shoes, because your feet will need change. Waterproof trainers with good grip work best, as do sporty ballerinas or low Converse. Consider packing a hold-all in case you exceed your luggage allowance with souvenirs! Always remember to pack an extra pair of underpants, as you will need them if you get stranded somewhere! And make sure you don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen!
They’re usually easy, so just bring a book or a tablet and enjoy the ride. Get a meal beforehand or pack a sandwich which you can eat on the plane. If they ask to put your suitcase in the hold and you don’t mind, just do it. It’s a lot easier to travel when you’re not lugging a bag behind you. And consider investing in a cute backpack instead of a handbag you must carry. Try to go to the loo before getting on the plane, and make sure you check-in as soon as possible so you get your favourite seat.
For flights that last over 5 hours, make sure you take your cabin luggage with you and fill it with essentials. Have snacks to hand and pack a little bag with wet wipes for your face and lady bits, deodorant, as well as hand and face lotion as the cabin air dries out your skin. Bring eye drops if you’re prone to dry eye and don’t forget to have medication close to hand. Bring anything else you need to have with you, like a seatbelt-adjuster if you always find them too tight, or a headphone splitter if you plan on watching a movie with your flying buddy.
Choose to wear loose-fitting clothes and bring a cardigan because the plane gets cold. Always go to the toilet whenever anyone else in your row gets up, as this will prevent people being woken up for no reason. Remember to move your feet and legs regularly, so always stretch when you get up and walk up and down the aisle while you wait in the line or on your way back to your seat. Wear flight socks if you can as this will really help with any pain. Try to sleep if you’re flying East, and make sure you stay awake if you’re flying West. Jetlag can be helped a little with herbal medication like melatonin tablets or by adjusting your cycle a couple of days before you leave. Keep it easy on your first day and always try to stay awake until 8 or 9PM as this will help you regulate.
Breeze through the airport
Get there at least an hour and a half before a short flight, and two hours before a long flight. There are likely to be queues at bag-drop, and security. Make sure you are ready before it’s your turn by keeping your electronics to hand and making sure you have your toiletries ready. Remember you will have to use several trays and to separate electronics from your bag and coats. Avoid wearing belts and wired bras (I swear, they beep every time), and don’t take boots because those will have to come off.
Bring a reusable water bottle and try to use the water fountains if the airport has any or buy a bottle and recycle it straight away as it’s not always done on planes. If you’re stuck on a layover, take a walk instead of sitting at the gate for hours, as you’ve been sitting on a plane and will do it more later. Check out souvenir shops and see if the airport offers some local food you can try while you’re there. Have a portable charger at the ready so your phone doesn’t run out of juice and don’t miss your flight because you’re wandering the duty-free!
Hopefully now you’ll have all the tools to hand to have an amazing vacation. Remember to enjoy every second of it!