We used to be terrible at planning things in advance when it came to taking a flight. More often than not we would simply rock up at the airport and hope for the best. Maybe it’s come with age or because we travel on a frequent basis, but now we are uber organised and ensure everything is booked, paid for and prepared before we even set foot on the actual plane. As Vicky is a nervous flier, by having a routine, it helps her and elevates her fear to a certain degree. So what 10 things do we always ensure we do so we have a great (and hassle-free) flight and subsequent trip? Read on to find out.
Pre Book Airport Parking
We always drive to the airport for our flight as it is the most cost-effective way for us. Also, it means that we are masters of our own destiny. As it means we do not have to hang around when we arrive back after trip waiting for public transport. We can simply jump in the car and hit the road. Therefore, we always have to book airport parking. The sooner we do this after we have booked flights, the better offers we find. If we leave it until the last minute, even with a sneaky internet discount code, we always seem to end up paying a fortune, often double what we would have paid if we’d booked earlier.
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Get an Early Night at an Airport Hotel
As our closest (decent) international airport is at least two hours away, we often book a night at an airport hotel for the evening before our flight, especially if we have an early morning flight. It gives us that extra couple of hours kip which seems to benefit us when we arrive at our destination as we are not as tired as we would have been. Also, for us, it feels like our holiday starts the second we rock up to the hotel, as we can relax, have a meal, a cheeky couple of glasses of wine and the all-important early night. Yes, it’s an extra cost on top of our trip, but one we feel we can justify.
Prepare for Check-In
When possible we check in online before we even leave home because a lot of airlines actually charge you extra to check in, in person and some simply don’t even offer the option. However, when we are heading off on a package holiday or flying long haul then we have to physically check in, usually because we have our hold bags to drop off too. Therefore, we always ensure we have our passports close to hand, usually in our pocket in order not to keep our fellow passengers waiting and also to avoid the embarrassment of having to unpack our bags on the floor of the departure hall.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
This is a biggie. We simply cannot abide being uncomfortable on a flight. If we could fly First Class around the world then maybe it wouldn’t be such a problem. But if like us, you have ever taken a 14-hour flight in economy class then you will know that comfort is everything as space is limited. Anything that digs in, in unnecessary places is an absolute no-no. For us, it’s loose, breathable cotton all the way. Ok, so we may not look like we’ve walked off the catwalk when we arrive at our destination, but we may have been able to catch a couple of hours shut-eye and been comfortable doing it.
Don’t Get Stopped By Security
A massive bugbear of ours are people who hold us and the rest of the 40-mile queue up at security. Even if someone has never flown before the airline always sends you an email explaining what you can and cannot take on board with you in your hand luggage, yet people still do not read it. We’ve lost count of the number of times we have seen security pulling numerous full-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash etc out of people’s bag. Not only is this a waste of time for everyone but also a costly mistake for the person whose bag is it, as the items get confiscated – read the rules people!
Indulge at an Airport Lounge
Another expense that we feel we can justify is booking into an airport lounge, especially if we are flying long haul. Airport departure lounges are loud busy places and airport lounges offer a little quiet haven where we can relax and compose yourself before getting on the plane. It gives us the chance to grab a bite to eat, a couple of glasses of Dutch courage and the opportunity to give our devices a last-minute blast of power. Most charge around £20 which we always think is great value for money. A lot of banks in the UK also offer a few free lounge passes per year if you hold certain accounts with them.
Buy some snacks
We’re sure we’ve all been on a plane where the food has been dire and often inedible. Or if like Vicky, repetitive – she ticked (by accident) the Hindu Vegetarian option for our flight to Australia and was therefore served 6 curries in a 24 hour period! Seriously, surely no one can eat that many curries in such a short space of time?! So we always ensure we buy a range of snacks at the airport, just encase hunger strikes mid-air. Depending on the time of day and length of the flight but it’s usually a Boots Meal deal and a big bag of Haribo because as the advert states – ‘kids and grown ups love them so!’
Fill In Your Paperwork
The biggest tip we can offer is – always pack a pen! We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve had landing cards to fill in and didn’t have a pen between us. This then delays us getting through passport control at our destination as we frantically filling forms in at the back of the queue. It’s also important to declare everything on the landing cards/entry forms i.e. food because if you don’t and get caught with it, you could face massive fines. So when we don’t finish our Boots meal deals, we always ensure we leave the remainder of it on the plane, we’ve watched too many episodes of the show – Australia’s Front Line.
Arrange Airport Transfers in Advance
When we land at our destination we like to know in advance how we will get from the airport to our hotel. More often than not, we pre-book our transfers. There are loads of companies that offer the service and can found by doing a simple Google search. This usually saves us time as we do not have to hunt down a taxi or wait for a bus. Also, someone is normally waiting for us in the arrivals hall displaying our name, which makes the process of getting from A – B super easy even if there is a language barrier. It quite often saves us money too and reduces the risk of being ripped off as a price has been set and paid.
Surely this is the most important thing, right? The steps we go through, usually ensures that the process of getting from our house to our accommodation runs smoothly. This means that our holiday more often than not starts the right away – stress free and enjoyable.
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