I’m always on the lookout for tricks to make travelling a bit easier and less of a bother. Packing up the whole family for a holiday is hard work enough as it is, the last thing you want is to run into problems along the way.
So if I can save you time, money or stress then I reckon I’ve done a decent job. Getting away should be about relaxing and enjoying yourself, not fighting with luggage or queueing for hours! I have listed my top 10 travel tips below.
1. Check-In Online & Kerbside Check-In
Checking in online before you leave for the airport can really sort out a lot of problems for you. Sorting out your seats ahead of time means you’ll get the ones you actually booked, and you may even avoid being bumped from your flight.
Kerbside check-in lets you skip that horridly long queue inside the terminal. Honestly, why wait about in line when you can check in at the car? Some airlines do charge a small fee for this option, though in my experience it’s still worth it to avoid the hassle.
2. Ship A Box Ahead
Shipping a box of your essentials ahead of time to your destination can truly save you a packet, especially if you’ve got little ones in tow. I always post a box of clothes, nappies, toys and such before I go – unless I’m heading overseas of course.
It can save you from paying for an extra checked bag, meaning you can squeeze everything else into your carry-on. The less stuff you’re lugging through the airport, the better as far as I’m concerned!
3. Supermarket Stop
Stopping at the local supermarket or corner shop straight away after you’ve arrived at your destination can really save you some dosh. I always have the taxi driver pull up at the nearest Tesco or Sainsbury’s.
I go through water like nobody’s business so I avoid paying hotel prices by picking up multipacks there. I also grab snacks and ingredients for a slap-up breakfast the first morning (if you’re staying at self-catering accommodation). No need to overpay when there’s an Asda just down the road!
Getting your supplies early means more time for enjoying your hols the proper way.
4. Airport Pick Up
Meeting the taxi driver or your ride outside departures rather than can shave precious minutes off your travel time. It’s usually less hectic that way and you can be on your way in no time.
When you’re flying halfway around the world for your holiday, every minute counts!
Have your driver meet you just after you claim your luggage so you can jump straight into the car without navigating the madhouse that is the arrivals hall. A little planning goes a long way.
5. Rental / Hire Cars
When renting a car while you’re away, take a few snaps on your mobile of the inside and outside of the motor before you drive off. Or better still, a video. That way if there are any claims about damage that was already there, you’ve got evidence to prove otherwise.
A picture (or video) is worth a thousand “arguments” with the car rental office.
I always get the camera out the moment I collect the keys. Rather be safe than deal with a load of fuss when you’re trying to enjoy yourself on holiday.
6. Airline Fees
When booking your flight do your homework and factor in all them pesky extra charges on top. Things like luggage fees can really add up.
A flight might look like a good deal till you see the £50 charge for your case each way.
So compare the all-in price including all the hidden costs. Carriers like Easyjet and Ryanair tend to have baggage fees, which can mean they work out dearer even if the base fare is lower.
I was stung for over £200 in fees for one recent trip. Always do the proper sums first then compare like for like.
7. Lost Luggage
Make sure your luggage has your home address in a baggage tag, and also include the mobile number you’ll be contactable on while away. Though, some people are scared about listing their home address for security reasons, so at least include your mobile.
Stick a note inside with the flight number to your destination and the address you’re staying at – this will majorly help the chances of a lost bag being reunited with you.
I once got a call a week after landing to say they’d found my case, and the label inside meant they could get it to me straight away. A little labelling goes a long way when it comes to avoiding lost luggage stress on holiday.
8. Left or Right Queue?
Here is an interesting one. When faced with a choice of lines, always go for the left one if you can.
Studies show that when people are given a choice, they tend to gravitate to the right by default. So the left-hand line is often shorter and faster.
I always make a beeline for the queue on the left, whether it’s airport security or the queues for rides at Disneyland! Left seems to be where it’s at when it comes to avoiding lengthy queues.
Give it a go next time you’re waiting in line – I reckon you’ll be glad you did.
Before jumping in a taxi, find out roughly how much the fare should be from the airport to your destination. Then when the cabbie asks where you’re going, say something like “Usually this trip costs about £40 yeah?”.
If they hesitate or say no, get in a different cab! Don’t let yourself get ripped off.
Now I always double-check local fare estimates before travelling somewhere new, that way no dodgy driver can try to charge me over the odds. A moment’s prep goes a long way when it comes to avoiding a pricey taxi ride on holiday.
If you are ever travelling to Denia in Spain, we have collected a list of Denia taxi phone numbers here.
10. The Right Time to Buy Flights
The best time to bag a bargain flight is usually six weeks before you fly.
Also, airlines check what sold at the weekend and adjust prices on the Monday, which then come into effect on the Tuesday. So keep an eye out midweek for the cheapest deals.
I also use a price tracker (such as Kayak price alerts) which notifies me when the cost of a flight drops – that’s how I bag the best deals.
Enjoy Your Holiday
Travelling with family can be stressful – from packing to navigating the airport to staying on budget. But with a few simple tips and tricks, you can make your trips much easier and less overwhelming.
From checking in online to shipping essentials ahead to using the left-hand queue, the small hacks in this post can save you big headaches when you’re travelling. What matters most is the precious time you spend with your loved ones on vacation.
So, implement a few of these expert tips next time you travel – you’ll thank yourself for the reduced hassle and extra time to make treasured memories.