Active travel offers a great way of discovering the world, stimulating both the mind and the body. However, when planning any trip, it’s vital you’re fully-prepared for any last-minute hiccups that could easily derail an otherwise perfect experience.
Whether you’re a veteran adventure traveller or simply heading away for a weekend city break, coming up with a detailed travel itinerary can take some time. However, once you’ve listed all the sights you want to see and worked out exactly where you’ll be staying, it’s equally important that you prepare for some of the last-minute slip-ups that could really ruin all your hard work.
Key advice for stress-free travel
While it’s tempting to daydream about all the cocktails you’ll soon be slurping on a tropical beach, the key to enjoying a trip away is actually to be found in the preparations you make before even setting foot on a plane.
Know what time your flights are – It may sound like the most obvious travel advice in the world, but it’s amazing how many people don’t actually bother to check the exact departure times of their flights. Don’t base your airport travel plans on hazy recollections. Instead, make sure you keep your flight tickets in a safe and easily accessible place so you know what time to reach the airport for. On a similar note, make sure you get to the airport in good time, leaving plenty of allowance for possible check-in delays or long queues going through customs. Creating some breathing space is the ideal way to start your break stress free.
Book an airport transfer well in advance – Once you’ve sorted out the exact time of your flight departure, make sure you also have a definite plan on how you’re actually going to get to the airport. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member who can drive you then that’s fine. But if you’re going to rely on an airport transfer, make sure you book a cab well in advance of your flight day, preferably from a firm you trust. Just to be doubly safe, give them a ring the day before you’re due to travel, just to be certain they’ve remembered your request.
Change your currency before you fly – There’s nothing worse than hopping onto your plane abroad and then realizing that, in your big rush to get away to the sun, you haven’t actually bothered to change your cash into foreign currency. So make sure you’re money-wise by changing your money, in advance, at any well-known bureau de change. Don’t put it off until the airport or you’ll end up suffering from extortionate commission fees. And certainly don’t leave it until you reach your destination as, depending on where you’re heading, their currency exchange facilities might entail a rickety shack in a threadbare field full of goats.
Be polite at customs – With the continued war on terror, customs checks are often decidedly po-faced affairs these days, with ashen-faced bruisers checking bags and passports with extreme diligence. It might be tempting to try and rush through customs to get to the duty-free shops on the other side, or even treat the whole process as a bit of a joke. A word of advice: don’t! Approach customs checks with the seriousness they demand. Be polite with customs officers, follow their rules and you’ll be en route to your destination in no time.
Don’t overdo it at the airport bar – You know how it is, you’ve managed to squeeze through the rush-hour traffic just in time to make your check-in and now you’re counting down the hours until your flight actually takes off. It may be tempting to while away the lengthy minutes at one of the many airport bars you’ve seen, but a quick binge-drinking session really isn’t the answer to your boredom. Whilst the odd airport drink might calm any remaining flying nerves you may have, a session is really not going to do your body any good. Do you really want to pass out on the plane and then get hit with a raging hangover as soon as you touch down on foreign soil? Save your drinking until your trip properly begins.
Ensuring you have a stress-free trip abroad really doesn’t require too much effort or detailed planning. In fact, as long as you stick to some common sense principles, you’ll be well-organised for a healthy and happy time away. So be travel-savvy and leave behind the potential pitfalls of foreign trips!