Wave goodbye to airport meltdowns…
Greeting from Greece! I’ve spent four days over here with Zanna in Athens and it’s been B.E.A.U.tiful. They’ll be some travel content heading your way next week, but I thought to go with today’s video which is a little ‘pack along with me‘ number; featuring my top tips for throwing it all in your suitcase when you’ve only got hand luggage to contend with, that I’d mull over some advice that I’ve learnt the hard way over the past couple of years about how to make your trips run real smooth. From the time that I had to pay for fast track security because there was no other way of me making a flight, or that moment when I realised that my bags hadn’t made it and cried out an overdramatic ‘NOOOO!’ at baggage reclaim – here’s how to turn the stress notch down a little with some pre-trip planning…
Work out your airport transfers. It’s the one part of the trip that I always forget to plan, but if you haven’t thought about it, you end up reaching your destination and then standing there like a lemon. To get to the city centre from some airports it might be quicker and cheaper to book yourself onto a train, or coach. Perhaps taxi is easiest? Either way, take a look into it and download the CityMapper app to help you navigate your way from A to B.
Get your paperwork DOWN. It’s the boring part of travel, but it’s the one that if you get yourself in a sticky situation and you haven’t got your cards in order that you’re going to majorly regret. Firstly, make sure you have the correct VISAS and ESTAS for where you’re travelling to and through. Then make sure you have your insurance sorted (with the details easy to find if needed) and if you’re travelling within the EU make sure you have an up to date EHIC card with you – it’s free to apply for and provides you with the right to access state-provided healthcare during temporary trips within Europe.
Pack with a list (and pack it too!). You know I love a good print-out PDF and my packing PDF is one that I often use myself (even Mark asks for it!). Not only do I find packing a speedy sport with this in hand, I also pack it in my bag so that re-packing on the other side is just as quick. It also acts as an inventory so you can be sure that you haven’t left anything behind. ‘HAVE YOU LEFT YOU PHONE CHARGER PLUGGED IN?’ is always the last thing I ask myself and 8 times out of 10, I have.
…and leave space. Why is it that even if you buy absolutely nothing when you go away, that the contents of your suitcase will have somehow secretly multiplied by at least 3 when it comes to repacking it for the journey home? I like to make sure there’s a bit of wiggle room in my packing, so I know that even when this does happen, I’m not going to have to waste two hours in a hotel room sitting on top of an exploding suitcase.
Remember a tote. Lily always laughs whenever I pull out a spare tote from my suitcase, but let me tell you – it comes in so handy. You need an emergency beach bag? Tote. You need something to throw all your dirty washing in? Tote. Your Glossier Moisturising Moon Mask has exploded in your case? Tote – just give it a good wash when you get home. They also come in handy for when you’re erring on the side of excess checked baggage and you need to balance it out with a big more hand luggage.
Pack the essentials in your hand luggage. I always threw a pair of pants in my hand luggage, and it wasn’t until I got off a flight in Finland where my bags didn’t make it onto the connecting flight, that I realised just how important it was. When you arrive with practically nothing a fresh pair of knickers, a moisturiser, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a pair of PJ’s or even just a new t-shirt, feel like absolute heaven. Still ’em in your hand luggage, just in case.
Check-in online. Although you could wait to check-in at the airport, I like to do it online when check-in first opens. One, it means you’re usually able to pick your seats and snag yourself a window or an aisle – depending on how good your bladder control is. Two, rumour has it that you’re less likely to be bumped off an overbooked flight if you’ve checked-in by the time you set foot at the airport.
…and download the app. Most airlines have a dedicated app that amongst other things, you can check-in on. Personally I like to use it for that because then it’s so easy to add my boarding pass to my iPhone wallet, which means that I don’t need to print anything out and have any flappy paperwork with me at the airport, because it’s all kept on my phone. It’s really handy for checking-in on your return flight too because it saves you having to try and scout out a printer at your destination.
Reading material is EVERYTHING. There might be the odd hold-up and if you’ve got a book on the go that you can’t get enough of, then you may not be as peed off about it all than if you hadn’t. I like to make sure I’ve got a magazine to flick through to keep me entertained on the flight and then try and have a book with me too, incase I fancy digging into something more meaty.
Make your own guidebook. Chances are you’re being thrown recommendations left, right and centre from friends and family members, so I’d recommend collating them all and creating your own little word document with everything in, that can act as your personalised guidebook. Break suggestions down into categories and the list the address of each. This way you won’t be lost in the town centre desperately scrolling back through WhatsApp or eyeing up the top 10 restaurants on TripAdvisor and being turned away from every single one because everyone else is doing the same. Been there, done that, bought the room service instead.
Photos by Lauren Shipley
*Sign up to my monthly newsletter ‘An Edited Life’ here*