Preparing for a flight can be stressful. Make travelling easier for yourself; the most important thing is to be on time. If you’re on a long-haul flight you really need to be at the airport more than two hours before your departure. It’s just nicer. I found this preparation was everything when it came to travelling to Bangkok.
Often there are huge queues to check in luggage into the hold and you need to be prepared for this.
For shorter flights I would suggest 1.5 hours beforehand – I leave 2 especially for London as the security is a lot more intense. For smaller airports, such as Berlin, I know some suggest to arrive an hour beforehand. It all depends on how ballsy you are.
Be tech-savvy. Get the App. Do not print your ticket but show it on your phone instead. You can’t lose it that way – just remember to bring your charger and print-screen the tickets incase your internet dies or is not available. Once my airline ticket fell out of my passport which meant I had to run back and get another printed. If I had had it on my Wallet on my iPhone things would have been different.
Have you hand luggage ready
Separate your liquids in one single zip-lock bag. Do not bring anything that exceeds 100ml. Separate your electronic items and put your liquids, laptop, phone and watch into the same tray. Place your bag flat in the tray and make sure you remove all jewellery for speed. Prepare your bag before you get in the queue and also be fast – do not hold other people up or block the queues. Don’t be that person who has missed a tiny bit of liquid / paste or has a huge knife in their bag.
Be prepared for delays
Often things can happen: the aeroplane has not got fuel on the runway in time, there are too many planes waiting to take off on the runway at Heathrow. The United flight hasn’t got all the luggage onboard. There are some passengers who did not allow for the two hours. Once I sat on the runway in Newark for over an hour for no apparently reason – the best tip here is to take water with you to allow for this inconvenience and to make travelling easier. Find out if you are entitled to any money with Airhelp, I found out it makes it easy to check the compensation – in just 3 minutes.
If you have time to spare, use this time to buy gifts for your host, friends or family – it is impolite to turn up with nothing. No matter how small, I think it is really thoughtful to get something – a bottle of gin is always great idea. Do not fall for the traps such as overpriced food or perfume you do not need.
In terms of enjoying yourself, remember travelling doesn’t have to be a tedious – get a glass of wine and a book whilst charging your phone.
Bring a bottle of water – down it before security to stay super hydrated – remembering to keep the bottle. After security go to the bathroom to deal with the 1l of water you drank in 5 minutes. On your way to the gate, normally there is water fountain where you can fill your empty bottle up (to avoid spending 3-4 euros on water).
Buy snacks and food outside of the airport and make travelling easier and more comfortable by avoiding unexpected costs. Firstly, because it tasted 80% better and also because it is 100% cheaper. Only in Rome you can get cheap espresso. Always. In security they have always let me through with food, especially when it is sealed. I often take a croissant from Berlin, a sandwich from M&S or a baguette from a local bakery in Paris.
What are your secrets to travelling comfortably?
Let me know in the comments or tweet me : @thesecretlinguist