It’s All in the Planning

Holidays? Time to relax? It can be a stressful time preparing for a holiday abroad with so many things to remember. They can all add to anxieties about flying, if you allow yourself to go down that route. But with a bit of planning and preparation, you can hugely reduce the stresses involved in getting to your holiday destination.

Planning

How you are getting to the airport?

Do you need to arrange transport? Book tickets? Book car parking? What time will you need to leave home? Make sure you leave plenty of additional time for traffic, parking or public transport delays. You’ll need to arrive for check in normally 2-3 hours before your flight. Even if you check in online, you’ll often have to queue to drop your bag, and the queues through immigration and  security can be lengthy.

Ensure you have all the documents you need.

Passports are essential but do you also need a visa or other documents to enter the country of destination? You may need tickets or booking references for hotels or prepaid transport or activities. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance and any other documents you may need such as a European Health Card to get appropriate help and care should an emergency arise on holiday.

What to leave behind. Yes, on purpose, not by accident!

It’s a good idea to leave your flight details and name and address of where you are staying with someone at home in case you need to be contacted, and to ensure someone knows your travel plans. Print a few copies of important documents such as passport, e-ticket and travel insurance, or e-mail them to yourself and someone else to ensure nothing gets lost. If you are a nervous flyer consider taking a course or self help treatment before your flight to help leave worries behind.

Packing

Start preparing for your holiday in advance either by getting your suitcase out and starting to put things in it, or if you do not have the space (or don’t like the mess!) start writing a list of things you will need to take. Ensure you have adequate clothes for the trip duration – check if there are washing facilities where you are going. A small first aid kit is always handy including wound cleansers, plasters, medicine for upset tummies, insect bite cream and aftersun. Good suncare is important so ensure you pack a sun hat, sun glasses and plenty of sun cream. If you are taking a camera make sure you have spare batteries or the charger with an appropriate adapter for your destination. Make sure toiletries are packed in hold bags or that they are less than 100ml. It is also worth remembering you have to be able to put all your toiletries in one clear plastic bag if you are taking just hand luggage.

Check the airline weight limits and baggage sizes. It’s always worth weighing your suitcase before you leave to avoid having to repack, or even having to abandon items at the airport if you are over the weight limit. A good rule of thumb is to sort out the clothes you need and the money you want to take – then halve one and double the other! Not always possible, but worth considering, especially if you want to buy anything when abroad.

At the airport

Consider the arrival at the airport as the start of your holiday, not just as a means to get there. Having a different mind-set can make the experience more enjoyable. Use the opportunity to do last  minute shopping, or buy a treat for your holiday, or get some food once you have checked in and dropped off the bags. Fully explore everything the airport has to offer –  you’ll be spending the next few hours sitting down once on the aeroplane. It is always worth working out as soon as possible where your gate is and when it will open. Knowing how long it will take you to get there will avoid any last minute mad dashes through the length of the airport, which can be some distance especially at the larger airports. Make sure you have something to do on the plane, be it games, puzzles or something to read or listen to and ensure you have a drink to stay hydrated. Then sit back, relax and enjoy your time away. Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday!