Travelling is one of my favourite past times. From the bustle of the airports, to the discovery of new cultures, languages and, of course, food and drink, I could think of no other way to spend my spare time. For some, though, travelling can be a bit of a stressful experience – for many of the same reasons. I find it most enjoyable, though, when I’m prepared. When I can simply show up at the airport and feel confident in knowing I have all my affairs in order, I find myself cruising through the airport without a worry. All it takes is a little preparation. Here are my top tips for keeping your sanity when setting off on your trip!
- Print your boarding pass in advance
This possibly seems a bit silly (or obvious) but with many of the smaller budget airlines charging up to £15 to print your boarding pass at the airport if you check in online, it’s definitely going to save you that extra money (and stress/time waiting in line). If you do choose to check in online in advance (which usually allows you to guarantee your seat), make sure you’ll have access to a printer! Many airlines have apps now that store your pass which is definitely the way forward, but I would still suggest taking a screenshot so it’s stored in your photos JUST in case the airport wifi is not up to standard!
- Bag up your bottles
This may be another obvious one but I find I cruise right through security when I have everything in order. I always try to keep my bags from the airport (thanks, Mum for that tip ;)) so I can pre-pack any liquids in my carry on before getting to the airport. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding out you have to purchase a small plastic bag and then having to dig through your hand luggage sorting out your liquids – as there’s usually a big line up of people doing the same. Save yourself some time and come prepared. You’ll hop in line and impress the security staff with your efficiency.
- Don’t bother with your Sunday Best
After many a flight, I’ve come to the conclusion that dressing comfortably for the flight is always the best option. I always have hand luggage (usually only hand luggage, actually) so I find it easier to wear the most basic outfit (free of belts, chains, buckles, etc) so when I get to the security checkouts, I just have to drop my luggage and (prepacked) liquids into the baskets and trot through the metal detectors. If there is a need to be fancy when I get to the other side, I already have those clothes in my hand luggage and can easily change on the plane or when I land. Getting through security can be a major headache so taking as many extra steps out of the equation as possible really helps move things along.
- Book airport parking in advance
One of my biggest stresses when travelling happens before I even get to the airport. Most of the time, I try to get early morning flights so I can drive to the airport when the traffic less manic. Sometimes, though, it can’t be helped and making sure I get my spot booked in advance really just helps that along. You also tend to get a bit of a discount when booking in advance and certain companies, like Flying Scot Glasgow (who I use when flying back and forth to London for work a few times a month!), offer special rates for frequent flyers! I simply show up, park my car, hop in the shuttle to the terminal – and go!
- Pack a picnic!
Nothing has saved me more from a case of the travel hangries than a sneaky granola bar or apple in my handbag on a flight. Airports are expensive because they can be. When you have no other option, you kind of have to bite the bullet. While I would remind you not to bother with a water bottle (unless you simply fill it up once you’re through security), I would definitely suggest popping a few wee snacks in your bag before getting to the airport to hold yourself over on the flight or while you’re waiting to board.
They say life isn’t about the destination but the journey. Finding a way to enjoy all aspects of travel will make your holiday feel a lot more like a holiday and less like a struggle. Being prepared is the best way to tackle these stresses and I have no doubt you’ll actually start finding the whole activity quite a bit more enjoyable when you can just breeze through it.