Going away this Christmas holiday? Travelling over the holidays can be busy and stressful, but the news isn't all bad. Check out our 10 tips for holiday travel and find some joy this holiday season.
1. Check all travel documents
Prepare a travel checklist and check it several times. Ensure that your passports and visas are valid. The last thing you want to do is turn up to check-in with an expired passport. Note that many destinations require at least a 6 month validity on your passport. Check your travel insurance policy and don’t forget to read the fine print.
2. Label your luggage
You don’t want to turn up at your destination empty handed without your luggage. Even in todays age of electronic luggage tagging by airlines, luggage gets misplaced. Before checking in your luggage, write your destination address on the front of your luggage tag and your home address inside. Its also a good idea to have an email address or a contact phone number on the tag in case your bag disappears. It just makes it easier and faster to help reunite you with your bag. To help identify your bag easily on the carousel and save your yourself from walking away with somebody else’s bag, tie a brightly coloured ribbon or something else easily identifiable to your luggage.
3. Travel light and pack wisely
The measure of a good traveler is how light he travels. Leave any unnecessary items at home. It will not only save you on excess baggage fees but also helps you manoeuvre your luggage through crowded airports easily. Get yourself a lightweight suitcase and save your back trying to lift a heavy case from the baggage carousel.
4. Backup your important documents
Email copies of your passport, flight and accommodation details to yourself before you travel in case you misplace or lose your passport or documents while you are away. Take screenshots of directions and location details of your destination accommodation on your phone and avoid looking like an awkward tourist trying to explain your destination to a taxi driver in unfamiliar language.
5. Leave early and check in online
During peak travel times, it is common to encounter traffic jams, full parking lots, delayed shuttle buses and long check in lines. It is best to leave for the airport early to anticipate all delays that you may encounter. You may also like to check in online. Many airlines allow you to check in online upto 48 hours before your departure time and have a dedicated lane for bag drop off at the airport. These lanes usually have shorter queues and move faster as well. Online checking may also help you get seats together with your family members and travel companions.
6. Remember to pack chargers and adaptors
Make sure to pack all chargers for all your electrical equipment you plan to take with you, including phones, tablets, cameras, laptops and the right electrical adaptors for your destination. Keep them all in one bag to protect them from any spillage en route. Consider getting packing cubes to organize your chargers, cables and adaptors. Charge everything before you leave home and to avoid running out of juice halfway through the first leg of your journey. You may want to pack your smartphone and tablet chargers in your hand luggage in case of a lengthy delay at the airport.
7. Have liquids in re-sealable plastic bag and laptops ready to go
During the holiday season, security queues at the airport can be unusually long with so many more people trying to take off or return home. Save time by having all liquids in 100ml containers in one see-through re-sealable plastic bag. Take a spare plastic bag to avoid having to pay for one at the airport. Keep your laptops and tablets somewhere accessible in your carry-on luggage so that you can take them out with ease at the security checkpoint. You will speed through security and have more time to splurge on those last minute Christmas gifts in duty free.
8. Travel at a reasonable time
Christmas is meant to be a holiday. You may want to take red-eye flights and get better airfares but it would be better to arrive at your destination refreshed at a more reasonable time. If you have the option, take a flight scheduled for a more reasonable time. If you have to take the red eye flight at least the airport will be less congested and generally those flights will have less chance of being delayed.
9. Have snacks handy
Get your own snack pack full of festive nibbles to keep your blood sugar stable, rather than buying over-priced and sometimes stale food at the airport. You’ll have more energy for the trip and it helps keep everyone’s mood stable, too.
10. Don’t forget kids entertainment
Keep children entertained on board by having an activity pack in your hand luggage to keep them busy during the flight. Colouring books, toys and smart phone games are good options. You could add a little festivity to the flight by surprising your kids with small but entertaining wrapped gifts to keep them cheerful and occupied
So, you have taken care of everything that is within your control. If your flight is delayed, your luggage didn’t arrive, or you get hopelessly lost finding your hotel, try not to lose it. Keep your cool and your experience could be a dinner conversation sometime. Enjoy your travel!