I have been travelling for almost my entire life, having gone on my first holiday (to Benidorm) when I was 18 months old. Since then I have been very lucky to get away most years, and even spent six years an an ex-pat flying back and forth a number of times a year. This means that I now see myself as a bit of a travel expert and thought it was about time I put down on here some of my top tips for travelling.
- When checking in luggage make sure you write your name and address on a piece of paper and place it inside the suitcase, in case the tags fall off. Also make sure you write the destination on the tag, so your hotel on the outbound leg or a friend’s house. Don’t put your home address on the tag if you home is going to be empty for a couple of weeks.
- Have a photo your passport saved on your phone under “favourites” so you can find it quickly if needed. Always worth making sure that a loved one at home has a copy of it too. Also make a note of the telephone number for the embassy or consulate of the country you are travelling to before you leave home so you have them to hand should you lose you passport
- If you are travelling long haul, try to avoid ordering a special meal. People who have ordered these often aren’t upgraded as there might not be a similar meal in the upgraded cabin.
- Make sure that you have a phone charger, plug adaptor and your laptop in your hand baggage. If the flight is delayed, or your luggage goes astray you will be glad you did. Ditto a toothbrush and other toiletries (bearing in mind the 100ml rules) and spare underwear.
- Don’t ever fly wearing nylon tights or tight fitting clothing. I watched a woman tell Oprah once that if there is a mid air emergency you might need to be able to climb over seats (terrifying as that sounds, it might save your life to not be in skinny jeans). Loose fitting, comfy clothes made from natural fibres are by far the best, and comfiest, items to wear.
- Bear in mind that your flight might be re-routed unexpectedly. Flying to California in shorts is lovely but if you unexpectedly have to stop in Reykjavik it might not be so pleasant.
- Make sure that you swap travel insurance details with everybody on the trip, swapping them with each other if you all have different policies. When Caity had her accident on holiday last year none of us knew who her insurance company was, not even her husband as Caity had taken it out a few days before and had it all saved on her phone. In between CT scans and X-rays Caity had to turn on data roaming in order to access her emails and get the policy information the clinic was requesting. This was the last thing she wanted to be doing, and if we had the information for it would have saved her having to do it.
- If you have to fly with prescription drugs, make sure they are not illegal in the countries you are visiting. Remember the case of the young woman jailed for taking Tramadol into Egypt? Legal in the UK with a prescription, but not in Egypt. Also make sure you keep any medicines in their original packaging and consider asking your GP to let you have a copy of your prescription to confirm they have been prescribed by a doctor.
- If you find yourself in the last row of the cabin and there’s ‘one chicken meal’ left, give your neighbour first choice. The crew will thank you and then you might get a meal from Business Class (and a free glass of wine)…..it worked for me once.
- If something goes wrong, complain politely. Bruce’s brother told a story of being on plane came from Auckland going via LA. He and his girlfriend had to get off at LA and get back on the same plane, and there was someone in his seat: the ticketing systems didn’t align and they’d issued duplicate boarding passes. After being moved once and then the same thing happening, he was simply told to ‘find somewhere to sit’. He started to complain, quite loudly, that this wasn’t really his job and someone appeared from nowhere and said he would ‘find a seat’. He said he and his girlfriend just started walking and kept going, soon they were being seated in First Class and sitting next to the ugliest man he’d ever seen….but in First Class.
These are my top ten travel tips, but do you have any others to add?
Image of a rucksack courtesy of Shutterstock