IT’S A new year and we’re looking forward to 12 months full of exciting new destinations and experiences. Here are our top 10 travel resolutions to ensure a hassle-free travel year:
1. Lighten your load. Whether you’re planning to bargain hunt in Thailand or spending the weekend at the Lisbon sales, pack your suitcase with just the bare essentials to leave room for those amazing deals. Alternatively, consider picking up an oversized shopping bag from a local market in the area you are visiting. You’ll have the extra storage space that you need and a memento of your vacation.
2. Keep information online. If you’re one of those people who spend their journeys constantly checking to see where your hotel reservation confirmation form is and what time your connecting flight checks in, why not e-mail all of your critical information – hotel reservation numbers, e-tickets, passport identification and so on to a hotmail account. By doing this, you can check the details from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection.
3. Be flexible. With the increasing number of airlines, it’s getting harder and harder to guess who is offering the cheapest tickets, and pricing sometimes fluctuates depending on whether you are booking well in advance or at the last minute. If you know where you are going, but are flexible on dates, ask us to check around for the best deals.
4. Make labels. If you plan to send postcards from afar, why not create sticky labels in advance of your trip, instead of packing your personal organiser or address book. That way you can just slap them on while lounging by the pool, safe in the knowledge that your addresses are safely stored at home.
5. Check in early and cover yourself. Gone are the days when you could slip into the airport half-an-hour before boarding. The rules have changed and most airlines require you to report to check in at least an hour before take-off. Even carriers that don’t allocate seats, such as easyJet, reward early check-ins by giving them an ‘A’ queue card – the first queue to board. Also, remember to buy your travel insurance when you book your flight – this way, if your flight is cancelled or delayed, you will be able to claim.
6. Look after yourself. Whether you’re travelling to a sunny or snowy location, be sure to pack a pair of shades and a high protection factor sun cream. It sounds obvious when you’re enjoying a beach holiday, but a sunny day on fresh snow can be just as incapacitating if you are not protected. Keep in mind that the brightness can exceed 10 to 15 times the amount of light that is safe and comfortable for your eyes to accommodate. Remember to drink plenty of non alcoholic fluids and to pace yourself on the slopes – there’s nothing worse than spending a fortune on a skiing break, only to have to watch from the sidelines with a broken leg, dehydration or sunburn.
7. Print your pics. Digital cameras are fantastic – you can instantly review your snaps and retake if necessary. But how many of us take the time to make prints of our treasured holiday memories? Nothing beats leafing through an old photo album and reliving the magic of a great trip, so either invest in a good quality home printer, or visit a photo shop and order your glossy prints when you get home.
8. Seal it. Unless you want a suitcase full of shampoo, toothpaste and hair wax, resolve to pack any containers that could potentially leak into re-sealable bags. Pack some extra plastic bags and do the same with any perfumes or booze that you buy on your break. This way you’re guaranteed a leak-free trip!
9. Be sure to lock your case. No one wants a holiday to start or end with the horror of picking their smalls off the luggage carousel. Avoidance is simple – buy a good quality case, make sure you don’t over pack and, if in doubt, put straps around the case – this will also help you identify it.
10. Fox thieves. Don’t pack your camera in the outside pocket of your rucksack – instead, cocoon pricier items in the centre of your bag and put your dirty laundry in the outside flaps. That will ward off any potential pickpockets!