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Travel Ideas

The ultimate pre-vacation checklist for stress free travel

Global tourism has been on the rise for years, and for many of us the current travel restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have driven home just how much we love to get out and explore the world. If that sounds like you, you probably cannot wait until the international borders open again and you can head out on your next trip! After such a long gap however, you might find that you are a little bit rusty on the steps you need to take to prepare for a stress-free journey. To help you out, here are the main factors that you need to take care of before heading to the airport. Bon voyage!

Leaving home

Before you leave your house, there are a few tasks to take care of that will ensure you donot come home to any nasty surprises. Clean out all the food from the refrigerator, empty all the trash, and turn off all the electronics that will not need power while you are away. Depending on the weather you might also want to adjust your thermostat, for example to prevent pipes from freezing. Set your burglar alarm if you have one, check that all the doors and windows are locked, and consider putting your lights on timers so that it is not obvious your home is empty. Finally, try and leave everything clean and tidy so that you donot end your vacation with a list of chores to do!

Packing

Packing is of course one of the most important tasks to get done and the best advice is not to leave it until the last minute – that is how key items get forgotten! Make a list in advance of everything that you think you will need, taking into account the climate of the destination you are traveling to, the type of activities you are going to be doing there, and how long you will be away for. Pay special attention to those items that you cannot buy if you leave them behind, such as prescription medications or your child’s favorite toy.

When you start actually packing your suitcase, be sure to check the restrictions of the airline you are traveling with. Try to stay under the weight limit to avoid excess charges and remember not to pack any prohibited items in your carry-on bags (such as large containers of liquids). It is also a good idea to keep your ID and boarding pass in an easily accessible place, to speed up your movement through the airport.

At the airport

When it comes to the airport, there are a few more aspects to consider than simply booking your flight! Firstly, make sure you know exactly which airport you are flying from and to. This might sound obvious, but lots of major cities have more than one and it is an easy mistake to make. Secondly, plan out how you are going to get to the airport in advance. If you are traveling by public transport consider buying your tickets beforehand to save you waiting in line on the day, and if you are driving make sure you arrange your airport parking early through a website like Parkon.com.

You should also plan to arrive at the airport with lots of time to spare in case of delays such as traffic or long lines at security. The general advice is to get there two hours before a domestic flight, or three hours before an international one. To make going through security smoother, consider wearing clothing that doesnot have much metal on it to avoid setting off the scanners. Shoes that are easy to slip on and off can also be a great time saver. Make sure that whatever you wear is comfortable too, especially if you have a long-haul flight ahead of you!

On your flight

A lot of people get stressed out about flying, but it can actually be a fun part of your vacation if you plan it right! Here are some top tips:

  • Check in online before getting to the airport and choose the best seat.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water both on the flight and for the few days before you fly.
  • Avoid having too much alcohol, coffee or salty food on the plane.
  • Pack a travel bag of mini toiletries to help you feel refreshed before you arrive at your destination.
  • Invest in a good quality travel pillow and sleep mask to make it easier to get some shuteye on the plane.
  • Bring a selection of your favorite snacks to munch on (including some healthy ones).
  • Grab your noise canceling headphones, curate a playlist in advance, and make sure you can listen to it offline.
  • Download a movie or a season of a new TV show you have being waiting to watch in case there is nothing on the in-flight entertainment system that appeals to you.
  • Pack a good book (or download an audiobook) that you can get fully immersed in during the flight.
  • If you wear contact lenses, consider switching to glasses during the flight to let your eyes breathe and stop them from drying out.
  • Dress in layers of comfortable clothing so that you can easily adjust your body temperature.
  • Get up and stretch as often as possible.

Your accommodation

If you are traveling a long way, you may well be tired when you land and the last thing you will want is hassle in getting to your hotel. Work out all the details of how to get there from the airport before you leave home and consider booking a shuttle service or train tickets in advance if possible. Keep all the documentation regarding your booking in an easily accessible place in your hand luggage, as well as digital versions on your phone, to make the check-in process nice and smooth. For extra peace of mind, you could always contact the hotel you are staying at a few days before you fly just to confirm that everything is ok with your reservation. Then all that is left to do is get excited about your vacation and start planning all the fun and relaxing activities that you want to do!

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