TIPS FOR STRESS FREE FLIGHTS
Some people love flying, some hate it. Paul has some tips that might help your next flight more enjoyable.
Book a decent flight time
Being tired is one of the biggest factors for stressful travelling. You book an 8am flight without thinking that you check in 2 or 3 hours in advance and it takes an hour to get to the airport. That means you are waking up at 4am before a tiring and busy day. If you can, pick a mid morning or lunchtime flight so you can wake up at a normal time.
Last minute rushing around trying to find your passport, tickets or packing is always going to increase an already stressful situation. It may seem like a silly thing to say but make sure you are packed and ready to go the day before you travel. You just want to wake up shower and make your way to the airport.
Get some cash before you go
I always like to go to the post office a week before and get some local currency. I might never use it but just having it in your pocket means you can relax a little just in case something happens. I hate turning up in a foreign country and then have to run around trying to find a working cashpoint. I also would never change money at the airport as the rates are terrible and it is just another thing to do and increase that stress level.
Book a transfer
These can be a little more than local taxis but when you arrive in a busy airport it is nice to be met by your driver who will take you direct to your hotel. This is particularly true in third World countries where you are basically mobbed as soon as you leave the airport by taxi drivers and local touts. It also means you don’t have to join that huge taxi queue airports always seem to have. You can also relax knowing your driver knows exactly where he is going and you are not going to end up at the taxi drivers brother in laws hotel.
Enjoy an airport lounge
Do you have a international flight with a long stop? Are you dreading that 3 or 4 hours in some faraway airport in the middle of the night? Why not book a lounge. Lounges are not just the domain of the business or first class traveller. You can pre-book and pay for a lounge pass that gives you a few hours of comfort. Most will offer free food and drinks, quiet areas with comfy seating areas and free wifi. Some will also have sleeping areas and even showers. Prices range from £15 to £50 depending on where you are. If you don’t pre-book some lounges will also allow you to pay at the door. It really will make your long international journey much more enjoyable.
If you are going somewhere for a few nights why are you checking in your bag? This means it takes longer at check in and you have that annoying wait around a busy carousel when you get there. Why not just get a decent sized cabin bag so you can go straight to departures after checking in online. Then when you land you are straight out and on your way. Cabin backpacks are my personal favourite. I have a Cabin Zero backpack which is an official size for cabin baggage and is really spacious.
Wear comfy clothes
We all want to look like a stylish international traveller when we go on holiday. Although you will find that on long flights that loose fitting comfy clothes are the best option. Make sure you wear layers as airplane cabins always seem to either too hot or too cold. I have been tempted to take my pyjamas but I think changing into them might pose issues.
Sliders or slippers?
I always take my sliders. Your feet swell up with the cabin pressure and so shoes and trainers can become uncomfortable. Why not just take off your shoes you say. That’s fine but remember that when you go to the toilets you don’t want those suspicious wet puddles soaking into your socks!
Okay so they look a bit stupid but they really do work. I can sleep pretty much anywhere and always on flights, much to the annoyance of my wife. I did always wake up with a crick in my neck though. Then I bought a neck cushion and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done this years ago. I always take one now and I also use it as a pillow when I am sunbathing by the pool.
Charge your phone
Some of the better planes have charging points in your seat. Although a lot don’t. I hate not having a phone, especially when I have just landed in a foreign airport. Running out of juice and not being able to use your phone to check out important things or contact people you need to is incredibly stressful. Our phones are our lives now and so always make sure you charge yours fully before you go and buy a separate power pack. They don’t cost much.
Of course we would all like to fly First or business class and have that flat bed and champagne service. We can’t all afford it though. You could just upgrade one leg of your journey. You don’t have to upgrade the whole trip. Why not upgrade the overnight leg from economy to premium. Sometimes you only pay a few pounds extra to do this and you get a bigger seat and more enjoyable experience. You will find it easier to sleep on that long overnight leg back from the Caribbean or out to the Far East. Also ask about business and first class companion fares. If you are travelling with someone there are some great deals to be had. Sometimes even 2 for the price of 1. There’s nothing better than turning left when you get on the plane!.