Holidays, by nature, are a time of relaxation and respite. They've been used as wallpapers on workplace desktops since computer were even a thing, and they're what keep a lot of us on the (somewhat) sane straight and narrow for the other fifty weeks of the year. However, one thing stands between you and that poolside deck chair in Andalusia. The travel.
Airports can be daunting, even intimidating for some, and the ever changing rules and regulations are enough to confuse even the most seasoned of travelers. But have no fear! Here at Sam Smith Travel, we've learned a fair few tricks of the trade, and we're happy to share. Lucky you!
Here are out top tips for avoiding stress when it comes to airport travel:
Medication? Bring a doctor's note!
Whether it's important heart medication or allergy eye drops, the majority of us have some sort of pharmaceuticals to bring with us on holiday. Before travelling, book an appointment with your doctor. As well as a useful once over before you jet off, you'll be able to ask for an official doctors note for any prescribed medication you need to bring. This will ensure easy carriage through security (especially in foreign countries). Bonus tip (aren't you lucky!!), bring a photocopy of any prescriptions, so any lost medication can be easily replaced.
Gate first, shopping after!
The duty free at the airport can be the perfect place to pick up those last minute holiday essentials, from sunglasses your SO was *sure* they put in the holdall, to a last minute splurge on swimwear. However, be sure to take note of your gate number after heading from security, and head over to there first to familiarise yourself with the area, before splashing the cash. A good tactic is to keep yourself in line of sight of the gate as your browse, just in case of any last minute boarding time changes, and you can then beat the queue for boarding. Nobody wants to be the wally sprinting across terminal B for final call, novelty sombrero flapping in the wind behind them!
Allocate travel time
This may seem like an obvious one, but a shocking 64% of Britons have delayed or missed a flight in the past, and a large portion of that is down to the dreaded commute to the airport. Our experts at Sam Smith say to allocate one hour EXTRA to your travel estimate. All it takes in one spun out lorry, a strong gust of wind on a bridge, or maybe even an unforeseen sporting event, and the M4 can turn to treacle. Do yourself a favor, avoid all that unnecessary stress, and set that alarm an extra hour early - you can sleep on the beach!
Be smart with your smart devices!
Laptops, tablets, e-readers - these devices are ever getting lighter and smaller, and consequently becoming hand luggage essentials. With their increasing popularity, airport security now have to double their efforts to guarantee that this influx of hi-tech equipment is 100% safe to fly. This has led to an increase in security screening and queues (over an hour in some larger airports), and consequently this means more worry for you, as you keep an eye on your gate time. One great way of cutting down this wait time is to pack your devices smartly. Keep them near the top of your bag, with easy to remove covers or sleeves if you have them. This is helpful as all electrical items have to go through X-ray separately, and so saves the stress of a security officer tapping their foot as you drag out Auntie Jane's neck pillow, looking for your kindle. Bonus tip: Make sure they're turned off when not in use! This not only saves your battery, but cuts out the awkward moment (and suspicious looks) when your bag begins to vibrate in the airport lounge.
Taking an itinerary? Take two!
Taking public transport to your hotel? Meeting with a holiday rep at a predetermined location? Often this kind of info is prepared in advance by all good travel agents for you, and you need to do nothing but print it off and take it with you. But what if you lose it, or even worse, your passports? There's nothing worse (and somebody's speaking from experience here) than arriving at Boston international airport at 2am, to find out your luggage, with travel info inside, is still sitting in Charles De Gaulle. Avoid these horror moments completely by printing off multiple copies of your itinerary, one for luggage, one for carry-ons, with as many members of your group as you see fit. This way, even if somebody has the extreme misfortune of somehow misplacing their suitcase AND travel bag, somebody else has the postcode for the hostel on lower East side.
Take these tips to heart, and you'll never be anxious over airline travel again!
The Sam Smith Travel team