Are you on a last-minute dash to borrow a ski jacket for a trip to Lapland? Or dreading an upcoming longhaul flight home to see your family for the christmas break? Or packing for a quick minibreak to the wintery Europe Christmas markets? Or like me, thinking about next week’s trip to Thailand, hoping that Miss Mayhem gets over her tonsilitis pronto. Either way, unless you are relaxing from the comfort of your own home, many of us are thinking of packing lists, holiday airport chaos and ‘I just want to get there’. One of my friends is jetting off on a longhaul flight tonight. She messaged me earlier to ask for my advice on whether she should put her kids to bed for a snooze, prior to departing for the airport later tonight. Which got me thinking it was time for a holiday travel survival tips post! If you have any tips you would like to add, please put in the Comments section below.
- Recheck all your flight and accommodation bookings. Make sure all the dates tally up (I had a scare the other day thinking I’d booked the flight for the wrong day) and you have all your transfers confirmed.
- Check all of your passports. This is not the time to find out you have less than six month’s left or no blank pages.
- Have you got travel insurance? Find your policy or buy a new one.
- Charge all your devices and pack chargers in your hand luggage. The last thing you need is a toddler who can’t watch Peppa Pig!
- Check the airline luggage allowance. If you’re schlepping a load of christmas gifts, you don’t want to be caught out by being overweight. My mother in law had a result this year when she found out Thai Airways is running a holiday promo, allowing an extra 10kg!
- Consult a packing list and work through methodically
- If you are packing a load of gifts, make sure you have their names written on the gift packing. It’s also worth packing extra sellotape and wrapping paper for last-minute additions. If you are packing gifts in hand-luggage, do not wrap them as airport security may want to open them.
- If you will be receiving lots of gifts or doing shopping at your destination, pack an extra bag in your suitcase. I have a cheap foldable duffle from Walmart that I always lay flat on the bottom of my suitcase.
- Perhaps you are packing for various holiday parties including fancy dress? Make sure you to pack all the clothes you need. For the past two years, I have spent a fortune on fancy dress for themed parties only to leave it at home. Last year my dad kindly Fed-Ex’d my costume from Hong Kong to Thailand (thanks dad). The year before that, I had to conjure up this costume for Miss Mayhem from our villa’s garden!
- If you are taking multiple suitcases, cross-fertilise your goods. What i mean by this is don’t just pack your kids items in their suitcase, and yours elsewhere. Put a bit of each across the different cases in case you have a suitcase go missing.
- Pack your vitals in your hand luggage e.g. kids medication. If I’m going on a beach holiday, I aways pack an item of swimwear in my hand luggage too. I once did a long weekend to Thailand where I forgot to bring my children’s swimwear and wasted half a day running around.
- Pack lots of snacks (which I’m sure you do anyway) in your hand luggage. This will appease kids in those long airport queues or at your destination when you’re waiting for your airport transfer.
- Make holiday travel fun! Head to the airport in reindeer ears. Pack some christmas crafts for the plane.
- Find out when you can check in online and do it at the first possible moment (although I appreciate those traveling with infants won’t have that luxury).
- Check your flight status before you leave in case of last-minute delays.
- It goes without saying but please allow plenty of time to get to the airport. Roads are busy, weather is changeable, the last thing you need is extra stress.
- If you spy long lines, check where the ‘Family Lane’ is. I try to make eye contact with airport staff and look as harassed as possible (sometimes I’ve even asked Jetlag & Mayhem to look extra grumpy). This has seen us waved through a few Fastrack queues!