Last minute packing, busy airports and long flights can leave anyone feeling frazzled. We asked the travel experts for their top tips on how to get holiday ready without the stress.
- Ways to save space in your bag, even if you're at the airport
- How to protect yourself against lost luggage
- How to get comfortable on long flights
As well as being up to date with the latest luggage laws, how else can you make sure your flight is as smooth as possible?
Packing advice from the pros
1. Check the airline's cabin luggage allowance
'Cabin luggage allowances differ from airline to airline and can change, so always check before you fly,' says Kate Simon, former travel editor of the Independent on Sunday and co-author of Lonely Planet's How To Pack For Any Trip (@lonelyplanet).
2. Don't forget a see-through bag
'The 100ml liquids rule in hand luggage continues to apply at UK airports,' says Kate. 'Pack them in a transparent plastic bag and put it in a side pocket for a less stressful experience at security.'
Many UK airports have plastic bags available, but you don't want to be hunting through your luggage for liquids if you're in a rush to get on a plane.
3. Consider cross-packing
'Travelling with a friend or family? Consider cross-packing,' says Richard Krulik, CEO of Briggs & Riley. 'Pack each person's essential items in both bags. That way, if a suitcase is lost, everyone will still be able to enjoy their trip until the bag is found.'
4. Can't shut your suitcase? Work out what you won't need
'Make a list of all the activities you plan to do, then make a list of the items you need for them,' says Richard. 'Go over the list and eliminate anything you don't need to pack.'
5. Make your suitcase recognisable
Ace your time at the airport
6. Check your route if travelling by train
'Find out at which station you need to get off and learn the station's name in the native language – particularly in cities where there might be more than one station that contains the name of the city.'
7. Be ready to board when the gate opens
'Try not to be at the back of the queue to board the plane,' says Andy Mossack, travel writer and managing editor of TripReporter (@trippyreporter). 'Sometimes airlines won't take all the hand luggage in the cabin – they might not have room for it and will put some in the hold.'
8. Copy your important documents
'Always have copies of your important documents, both a digital and hard copy,' says Sheila Manzano, founder and MD of Three Little Birds PR, who has more than 25 years' experience in the travel industry (@3lilbirdspr).
'If the worst happens, it's easier to replace these documents if you have copies that have all the correct details.'
If you can get digital copies of your travel insurance documents or plane tickets, download these as well – then you have both a hard and digital copy if one doesn't work or gets lost.
9. Use your card at the airport
Let your card company know you're travelling abroad – many banks have a phone or internet service allowing you to do this – but, if you forget, buying something at the airport will help let them know.
'That way, the bank will see you're travelling and won't cancel your card,' says Lysbeth Fox, frequent traveller and founder of Fox PR, a communications agency specialising in travel, wellness and food (@Fox__PR).
10. Turn your voicemail off, but don't forget to turn it on again
'Some mobile phone providers will charge you for voicemails received in a foreign country, even if you listen to them back in the UK,' says Lysbeth. 'Put a calendar note in your diary for when you land to put it back on.'
11. Have your phone charged and ready
'Buy a mobile battery charger and charge it before you travel,' says Lysbeth. 'But take your phone cable with you, as they don't all come with the right one – there's no point in buying a battery charger and not being able to use it!'
12. A quick fix for overweight luggage
'If your hand luggage is over the weight limit, buy something from duty free shopping to get a plastic bag which you can take on the plane,' says Nina.
13. Secure your loose items
'While queuing for security, put loose items in a side pocket of your hand luggage,' says Nina. 'Many people leave them in the tray, fumble around for them, or even lose them.'
Advice for a fantastic flight
14. Keep moving for a comfortable flight
'Keep your circulation going by circling your ankles and drawing the lower-case alphabet with your toes,' says Barbara Currie, a yoga teacher and former air hostess. .
15. Wear comfortable clothes
16. Arriving before check in? No problem
'If you're arriving before check-in, email the hotel directly and ask to use the pool and store your bags,' says John Spencer, frequent traveller and founder of luxury travel blog.
There's plenty you can do to be as prepared as possible for your travels, from travel insurance to charging your gadgets and even the perfect comfy flight clothes, so you can get that holiday feeling started before you take off.
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