Unless you’re going on a self-drive holiday (which presents its own share of hassles and adventures), your next holiday is going to no doubt start and finish at an airport.
Let’s face it: most of the time, flying isn’t very fun. Airports are overcrowded, airlines are hungry for their next cash grab, and whenever something goes wrong, it really goes wrong.
Taking a cruise? Then always fly in the day before, not the morning of. Need to be home for an important job interview? Get home a day early then. You always want to leave a buffer so in case something happens, you still have time to get home. If you get there early, you can relax, and if you don’t, then it isn’t the end of the world.
Pay the extra £20 to take the flight at 10AM instead of 6AM when you have the choice. (Remember, a 6AM flight usually means getting up at 3AM!) Oh, and pay the extra £50 to take the direct flight instead of the connection.
I know, when you’re booking, you want to save as much as possible. But I encourage you to save your sanity and take the lower-hassle flight. It’s never that much more expensive, and it is almost always worth it.
Speaking of choosing connections, etc., be sure to think about the big picture of your dates. If you’re going to get home from a 7 day extravaganza, only to have to get up and go to work at 7AM the next day, do you want to fly home a day early, or take another day off from work?
I’m all for maximising your holiday, but just think about how those dates are going to work. This is also the time for considering peak travel days (Tues-Thurs are the quietest, except when a public holiday comes into play.)
Airlines are notorious for having a myriad of rules and procedures designed to extract money out of your wallet quickly and swiftly. So save yourself that shouting match while in queue at the airport by going to your airline’s website and knowing the routine.
If you have to check luggage, then you’ll know much it costs. If you’re going to have a long flight and food is buy on board (which seems to be standard now), you’ll know that you’ll need to pack some snacks for yourself and the wee ones, or pay for the privilege.
Speaking of luggage fees, do yourself a favour and pack less. You do not need two of everything (except pants, maybe) and if you dress in layers you don’t need a suitcase the size of a locker to store everything. It’s just more stuff to lug around in a foreign place, when you should be enjoying it.
My golden rule: money and passport. Everything else can be purchased wherever you end up. It’s just more stuff to lug around in a foreign place, when you should be enjoying it.
Let’s brace for impact: the legroom will be less than ideal, the on board toilets will be not-so-fresh, you’ll be queuing and waiting – we all know how many times you have to “hurry up and wait” at the airport.
But it isn’t forever. So take a deep breath – you’ll be there soon, and meanwhile you can finish that book you’ve brought with you. You did bring something to read, right?
Posted : Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 12:13
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not criss-crossing the world to have his next travel adventures, he is spending time hanging out on his own website, Sharing Travel Experiences.