Preparing for your Christmas holiday? Avoid seasonal travel meltdowns and enjoy a relaxing Christmas journey with these top tips:
1.Check you’ve got all the (right) travel documents
Make a travel check list and check it as many times as it takes to ensure you don’t show up with an expired passport at airport check-in. Check in online to save time at the airport and before you leave home email copies of your passport and all travel documents to yourself just to be safe. Be aware that some destinations require you to have at least six months validity on your passport, otherwise you may get a frosty welcome at immigration and have other problems on your hands. Visa requirements can be complex too, so organise necessary paperwork well in advance. You’ll also want to check your destinations visa rules prior to flying, way ahead of time and don’t forget to read the fine print of your travel insurance!
2. Label your luggage
Luggage not arriving at the destination has the kind of trip-ruining potential that even the most frequent travellers cringe at the thought of. Before jetting off write your timeshare resort address on the front of your luggage tag and your home address on the reverse, including an email address and mobile number. Prevent anyone picking up your case accidentally by sprucing it up with some brightly coloured ribbon.
3. Travel light
No one ever regretted travelling light so leave any unnecessary items at home. It’ll save you the stress of having to manoeuvre through airport crowds laden down, and save you paying excess baggage fees or incurring a festive injury hauling your case off the carousel in arrivals. As long as you’ve got the novelty reindeer jumper and the elasticated trousers for when you’ve over-indulged on the 25th, the rest can stay behind.
4. Remember to pack chargers and adaptors
Nothing’s more annoying than forgetting an important charger. So make sure to pack all chargers for any electrical equipment you plan to take with you, including phones, ipads, cameras, laptops and the right adaptors for your destination – keep them all in one tech/electric sealable plastic bag to protect them from any spillage en route. Charge everything before you leave home and, in case of a long delay, consider packing your smartphone and tablet chargers in your hand luggage so you don’t run out of juice.
5. Have liquids ready bagged and laptops ready
Security queues at the airport can be longer than usual during the festive period, with so many more people trying to take off or return home. Save time by having all liquids in 100ml containers organised in one see-through re-sealable plastic bag. Take a spare bag to avoid having to pay for one at the airport. Pack your laptops and ipads somewhere accessible so you can whip them out with ease at the checkpoint. This way you’ll speed through security and have time to splurge on those last minute Duty Free Christmas gifts.
6. Print off the name and address of your hotel
Avoid looking like a lost tourist at the terminal taxi rank, trying to guess in which direction where your hotel might be by printing out your destination address and taking a screenshot of the map or directions on your smartphone. Also consider taking a copy of your hotel reservation to ensure a smooth and speedy check-in process once you arrive.
7. Travel at a tolerable time (if possible!)
Christmas is meant to be a holiday, so save yourself the drudgery of taking red-eye flights or arriving too late at night. Those flights are always cheaper, but you can’t put a price on arriving refreshed and ready to eat, drink and be merry at your new home for the holidays. So if you have the option, take a flight scheduled for a more reasonable time. If you do have to take that redeye, at least the airport will be less congested and those early flight are rarely delayed.
8. Have snacks at the ready
Rather than buying an over-priced and disappointing airport lunch, pack your own snack pack full of festive nibbles to keep your blood sugar stable. You’ll have more energy for the trip and it helps keep everyone’s mood stable, too.
9. Bring some entertainment for the kids
Keep children entertained on board by stashing some activities in your hand luggage to keep them busy during the flight. Colouring books, toys, smart phone games and apps are all good options. Maybe add a little festivity to the flight by surprising your kids with small but entertaining wrapped gifts to keep them cheerful and occupied
10. Breathe, and relax
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 trying to find the resort, try not to freak out. It seems nightmarish when it’s happening but today’s travel hell will become a favourite over dinner tale in the not too distant future!