5 small travel hacks to make for a smooth getaway

August 17, 2016

So you’ve booked your bargain flights, you’ve done your last minute attempt at the gym for a bikini body and you’re dreaming of sitting on the beach reading the latest best-seller. The only thing coming between you and some third-degree sunburn is the delight of packing and the journey. What to pack, how to pack, airport waiting times- collectively, it’s the worst part of the holiday. Despite the fact I travel more than the average person, packing is the bane of my life- in fact, I’d happily pay somebody to pack for me. Whilst hating it with a bloody passion, I have become reasonably good at it (Packing Olympics 2020, here I come). Here are my top five holiday hacks to help your well- deserved break abroad go as smoothly as possible…

1. Roll clothes, don’t fold

Despite declaring regulations of around 10kg, I can’t remember ever having had my hand luggage weighed by an airline, meaning your main problem is worrying about space. In order to accommodate for the month’s worth of clothes that I cram into my trifling carry-on, I deem rolling the way forward. I assure you- you will fit far more clothes into your suitcase. Roll up pants and socks and shove them in your shoes (à la Phoebe Buffay) roll up breakables and pop them in your t-shirts; roll up heavier, thicker items (I’m looking at you, hoodies) and tie with a belt to make them more compact. See, this doesn’t have to be difficult.

2. Skip the liquids bag

When I approached security at EMA last week with my bulging liquids bag, the officer laughed in my face and swapped it for a regulation sized one. I knew I was chancing it, but the joke is on her because I only lost a miniature sized conditioner in my downgrade. Ha. However, I wouldn’t have had this issue had I not followed my usual advice of not taking toiletries in my hand luggage. I know what you’re thinking- “this girl’s lost her shit, where else are you going to store them?”. Bear with me here… What many people don’t know is that Boots still offer their Click and Collect service on the other side of security so here’s the hack- order your holidays toiletries online at Boots.com over five days in advance (even toiletries above 100ml, because when has 100ml ever been enough?) and have them sent to the airport store. Pick them up after flying through security and there we go, Bob’s your uncle.

3. Banish the Mosquitoes

Forget sharks- mosquitoes are in fact the deadliest animal on earth, killing an estimated 725,000 a year according to the World Health Organisation. The pesky little shits also seem to have a penchant for tasty English blood but fear not- my solution is cheap and effective. Costing around £3, Vitamin B Complex tablets are my essential. I don’t know the science behind it, perhaps they make your blood taste revolting (they make your wee smell like meat, so it wouldn’t be surprising) but I’ve never used anything more effective. And it’s not just me; my boyfriend’s mind was blown when he started taking them on our holiday last week. The effect was almost immediate. Their original purpose is to increase energy and balance moods, so it’s a win-win situation- you can be a bite free, happy mermaid.

4. Pay the extra (with Ryanair)

Perhaps this is only me, but I despise whenever an airline insists on putting my hand-luggage in the hold. Normally, I pack my valuable and more fragile items in my carry-on, so it comes as a great pain to put them in the belly of the plane. I’d noticed recently that Ryanair had started to put almost all carry-on cases in the hold, explaining to passengers that the head-space was over crowded. It didn’t take a genius to work out that this was a lie, since only a select number of people were boarding the plane alongside their hand-luggage. Donning my deer stalker, I quizzed an airport worker and soon uncovered that Ryanair’s latest policy is to put all carry-on cases (back packers, you’re safe) in the hold UNLESS you’ve purchased priority boarding- just call me Inspector Mayah, I know. Priority boarding costs an extra £4 normally, so if you’re planning on swanning through customs and straight past the luggage carousels, you’re probably best forking out that extra few quid.

5. Look after your delicates

This is the ultimate cheeky one but marking your bag as fragile means not only will your baggage be handled with the care it deserves, but it will also get stored on the top of the storage compartment of the plane. So, not only will it remain un-squished, it’ll also be first out on the luggage carousel when you touch down and they’ll never know you lied. Cue evil laugh.
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