Even the most experienced flyer in the world is bound to make some mistakes along the way. Travelling can be rather stressful and, without the right planning or preparation, your journey can end up taking much longer than expected.
Missed flights, delays, language barriers, or passport controls. Getting from point A to point B isn’t always as easy as it seems. If you want your travels to flow as seamlessly as possible, there are a few tricks of the trade that you should learn. In this article, we’ll share some of our best-kept secrets so that you can stop stressing about flying and start planning your next adventure.
# Book Your Flight During Off-Peak Seasons
If you want to benefit from the cheapest flights and the least crowded tourist destinations, it’s best to book your holidays during off-peak seasons. You may not always have the best weather, but you won’t be jam-packed in the airport, and you’ll be able to enjoy your destination more thoroughly.
# Set Off Early
If this isn’t your first rodeo, you’ll know that you should always set off early. The general rule for international travel is to arrive at the airport around 2 hours before your flight (Covid and seasonal flights increased this time frame to 3 hours). This should give you enough time to get through security, board your flight, and even browse the duty-free shop.
The earlier you set off, the less stressful the process of getting on a plane. You can even consider taking a book along, your Kindle or playing cards if you are travelling with a group. A bit old school, but fun nonetheless.
# Take Only What You Need
Not everyone has been blessed with great packing skills. A majority of travellers bring way too much with them. Only take the essential items and avoid bringing anything because “you may possibly need it”. This will also help save valuable time and money, as you won’t be forced to unpack so many items or pay for excess luggage.
# Check If You Need a Visa
Depending on where you are travelling to, where you are from, and the length of your trip, you may need a visa to travel. Some of these travel permits can be filled in online, others require a physical interview, and some are given to you upon arrival.
# Account For Luggage Fees
When you’re budgeting for your next trip, you’ll need to account for luggage fees. For example, if you’re flying internationally with Delta you should bear in mind that baggage fees will vary by departure and arrival country. Sites like FlyerGeek offer a comprehensive breakdown of their fees and rules, especially if you’re travelling internationally.
# Carry a Portable Charger
Nowadays your phone is essential for travelling, you have your boarding pass, your credit cards, and hotel reservations all on a single device. You need to have a portable charger to hand whenever you travel. If you work and need your laptop, you can even find portable chargers that are compatible with larger devices.
# Download a Translation App
Language barriers can make or break your holiday. It never hurts to learn a bit of the local lingo before you travel. If you’re not an experienced linguist, simply download an app that will help you communicate or learn the basics.
# Invest in an Airport Lounge Pass
If you’re planning to travel on a very frequent basis, it’s worth investing in an airport lounge pass. If you’re travelling for business, it’s a great place to make some new contacts. It’s also a good idea to get your hands on one of these passes if you have an extra-long layover. You can eat, drink, shower, and even take a nap before setting off.
# Open an Online Bank Account
Online bank accounts like Revlout, Monzo or Transferwise, allow for low, or zero, exchange fees. Instead of opening multiple accounts in multiple locations, you can have access to an array of currency accounts from the comfort of a single centralised app.
# Photograph Your Baggage and Belongings
Losing your baggage and belongings is an easy way to ruin a perfectly good holiday. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen. However, if the airline has lost your luggage, having a picture to hand will help them re-locate and identify your belongings in record timing.
# Don’t Keep All Your Valuables Together
This may seem like common sense, but you should never keep all your valuables together. If you’re staying in a hotel, find a safe spot to place your passport, phone, and cash. Use separate hiding spots or enquire with the front desk ask whether they have a safe you could use.
# Read Up on Where You’re Going
You should always make an effort to read up on where you’re going on vacation. Different countries will have different customs and traditions, so make sure you’re clued up on your destination. The last thing you want to do is offend anyone on your travels.
# Agree on a Price Before Accepting the Service
When travelling in a major tourist hotspot, you should always be careful and avoid being scammed. Locals may take advantage of unknowing tourists and overcharge them for simple services. For example, if you’re going to get a taxi from the airport to the hotel, make sure to agree on a price before accepting the service.
# Make Copies of Your Passport
If your passport is your only form of identification, you should make several copies of this important document. If you need an ID to go out and drink, you don’t want to be taking your passport because you may end up losing it.
# Keep Your Essentials to Hand
If you’re travelling long distances, you should always keep your essentials to hand. Your luggage may get lost along the way and leave you in an uncomfortable situation. Keep some essential toiletries, a spare change of clothes, and some cash on you at all times when travelling.
Overall, without a proper plan in place, you could find yourself in quite a pickle. Remember to always plan ahead, pack lightly, and start each day with a smile. Don’t forget that travelling is just as much about the journey as it is about the end destination. Hopefully, you’ve learnt a thing or two about travelling like a professional every time you fly.