You have researched where you want to go, found that perfect villa with a pool, investigated what is worth seeing in the local villages and you are raring to go. But there a few extra things that you can do to make getting there that little bit more comfortable…
Check visa requirements
Be prepared and stop paperwork from ruining your holiday. While your travel agent should give you this information but with many of us booking online these days it is always safe to check yourself so that you are not turned away at immigration for not having the right paperwork. Most embassies have a website where you can check visa requirements. Don’t forget to leave enough time to get the visa processed too. While we’re at it, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months or you may not be able to even board the plane.
Airline seating and reputation
Most airlines now offer to opportunity to choose your seat and check-in online 24 hours before your flight, but how do you know which seat to choose? Well your best bet is to go to SeatGuru.com where you can choose your airline and flight number and the plane that you are flying on will come up with advice on what seats are great and which are better to avoid, helping you to make the best decision. The site even allows you to compare carriers based on the length of flight to help you choose the right airline.
If you travel a lot I recommend investing in hard luggage that can take the knocks. While hard luggage used to weight a lot, taking away from your luggage allowance, the new lightweight versions are now available from Tripp and Samsonite. Look for cases with four or six wheels making them more flexible and easier to wheel about and rather than black, do consider getting a bright colour that stands out on the luggage carousel reducing the risk of mistaken luggage.
Currency cheat sheets
An invaluable tool on my travels has been an FXCheatSheet. It is a currency conversion table that has your home currency to foreign currency on one side and the foreign to home on the other so that you can really quickly and subtly discover how much something is in your local currency. It is about the size of the palm of your hand and quicker and easier that checking individual amounts on currency calculators.
For the plane
Cashmere is your friend in the air so whether you pack cashmere pyjamas to change into for a long haul or pack a multi-use Pashmina – do not leave home without it. Dressing for comfort on the plane doesn’t mean that you can’t be chic too. Two top styles for medium to long-haul are to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. For Audrey thinking cute pair of capri pants, T Shirt and cashmere cardigan. For Sophia a mid length pull on fifties-style dress in comfortable jersey, again teamed with a cute cashmere cardigan. Ballet shoes are the perfect slip on for both styles. Don’t forget to pack in your on-board luggage a good moisturiser, hydrating spray, eye cream, hand cream, lip balm and mascara to look picture perfect when you get off the plane. I also like to pack my own mini pillow or neck cushion, lavender spray for relaxation, and Holistic Silk eye mask.
Everyone has their own style of packing and there are always debates about whether you are a roller or a folder but my best advice is underpack. You never wear all those shoes that you pack and anything that needs to be ironed is left in the case! I’m a big fan of bags within your case for organisation – I have bags for clothes, shoes, laundry, lingerie and cosmetics!
In the wonderful world of iPhone, there are now numerous applications to make travelling easier. Here are some of our favourites:
UrbanSpoon (free), helps you find a place to eat at the shake of your phone, if you don’t like the suggestion, just shake again; Packing Pro (£1.79) is a great app that gives you packing lists that you can tick off against to ensure that you have remembered everything; Translator – translate with voice (£1.79) this application can translate into 53 languages and can speak in more than 35; SitOrSquat: Bathroom Finder (free) is fantastic for finding comfortable restroom facilities – sometimes a Belle just has to go.
[picture credits: creatocrat; Elégance]