The more time you spend travelling, the cleverer you become at knowing where to invest your time, energy and resources. We have collated a few time-honoured tips, to ensure your travel experience is a good one.
Be loyal to an airline
It is possible to shop around for one-off deals which save you a few dollars, but in the long run, loyalty programmes can offer really important benefits for travellers – from faster check-ins, to additional baggage limits, upgrades and perks like free movies on board. If your credit card can link to an airline rewards scheme, so much the better.
Have a parking plan. Short term parking at an airport can be expensive, but for longer than a day, there are other options and offers. Do the sums – is it more cost effective to take a taxi, use a park and ride service or use long term airport parking? It definitely depends how long you are travelling for, there is no one size fits all approach, so it is worth doing your research, for both convenience and price.
You may even be able to schedule servicing or repairs on your vehicle while you are away, and have your car parked at the airport on the day you return.
Check in online and choose your seat wisely
When selecting your seat, don’t choose the empty row. Choose the row with one other person in it, as you’ll scare people away from the dreaded middle seat. And for short flights, just sit closer to the front, even if you don’t have as much space. You can get off the plane 10-15 minutes faster.
If you are going on a trip that is shorter than 48 hours, you should be able to fit everything you need in a smartly designed backpack or small duffel that could, if need be, fit under your seat (plus a hanging bag that most airlines will take and stow for you if you ask).
If you have to check bags, most good rewards programs allow you at least one free. Pack sensibly and leave room for overseas purchases, so you aren’t charged for extra baggage on your way home. If you have an expandable suitcase, don’t take that option until you are coming home!
Be security savvy
Wear shoes that can easily be removed and put back on in case you have to do so to clear security. Wear clothes without metal fasteners, and try to fly wearing clothing that doesn’t require a belt. Have your travel sized aerosols and liquids in a clear plastic bag at the top of your carry on luggage. Take a tablet rather than a laptop if possible, which doesn’t need to be opened up and turned on at security.
If you are travelling on an airline and have chosen the ‘no meal’ option, pack the following snacks to take on board (you will have to bin any leftovers when you land):
- Water (you may have to buy it once you have cleared security)
- Trail mix or museli bar
- Small packets of nuts, crackers etc that are commercially sealed
- Low odour food (ie not canned tuna)
- Nothing in containers you want to keep – they will have to be dumped as you exit the plane
Take a book
Sometimes the inflight entertainment glitches, and it is often turned off half an hour before you arrive – have something to actually read to avoid boredom.
A drink with dinner on board and a top up is great. Remember that air travel can increase dehydration, so balance out the booze and caffeine with plenty of water. While it’s tempting to have more at times, jet lag never improves with the addition of a hangover!
When you land
… leave when it’s your turn. It’s not a race – be patient. The plane empties most easily when everyone takes their turn. Help older people and those travelling with children, and remember to thank your crew.