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Travel Smart - Travel Secure

I often see the stress in people’s faces on my travels, either at the airport, or in the hotel. I believe it’s because we think that our holiday or work begins at our destination and if we get that right, it all should be plain sailing.

In my experience the reason they’re so stressed is that they’ve not prepared for the journey and what they’ve try to prepare for is the something they have no control over - the shower not working, the staff don’t speak your language, the children are stressed because the parents are,- it all compounds the feeling of the trip to be a disaster. The reality is that your journey begins long before you leave the house and if you can start your preparation early, then you’re more likely to be able to handle the unexpected on arrival.

I call this being “Travel smart”.

Your journey starts the moment the trip is conceived, be sure when booking a flight that you cross check the hotels check in times with your flight arrival, there’s no point in booking a flight that lands 630 in the morning, thinking you have the whole day to yourself when your rooms not ready until 12 or 1 in the afternoon, a long time to wait around especially if you’re tired got children or you have a meeting the same day. Worth getting in the night before even if you do lose half a day on your accommodation.

Next thing to book is the transport.

Always allow for things to go wrong, I always make sure I have a fudge factor of one hour, aiming to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight, so many times I’m waiting at the departures gate and people come running in last to board because they didn’t prepare for there to be road works on the M4 or the taxi to be late, you can Easley loose 30-40 minutes in a traffic jam your fudge factor will be different to mine and it’ll depend on how far you live away from the airport and what transport you choose to arrive in.

Next is documents, make sure you check whether you need a visa, what type of visa? and apply well in advance, if it’s visa on arrival, make sure you have the right currency and change, nothing worse than handing over 20 bucks to immigration for a 10 buck visa and not getting any change back.

On a long hall flight, don’t forget to choose your seats, if you’re stuck in the middle seat of the middle row, you will kick yourself for not having done so.

If your planning to visit many countries or many different areas of a country make sure you have the correct inoculations and there up-to date, some countries won’t let you in if you’ve not got yellow fever for example.

Packing! I have only one word for you discipline, discipline, discipline.

It’s worth repeating, you see so many people at the check in desk trying to cram there extra weight into their take on board bags, weigh your bags before you leave and remember to read the baggage allowance for each flight, it maybe you can take 30 kg on your long hall flight but your connecting flight may only be 20kg.

Don’t pack for every eventuality, think about what you will need and pack smart, remember discipline!

Oh I almost forgot...pack something warm, even the hottest places can be cold at night especially in their winter and if you don’t use it, then at least you’ll have something warm to wear when come back to the cold.

It’s always worth making up what Is commonly known as a grab bag, a small bag in which you keep your book, head phones, pen to fill in the entry card and anything else you’ll need for your flight, small enough to place under your seat.

Don’t forget to put any liquids in a see through bag, saves hunting around your bag when you get to check in.

There are a few things you can do to help yourself through check in: If I’m wearing a jacket and while stood in the line I put my watch my belt etc in my pockets and zip them up, if not I put them in my hand luggage either way I’m not having to do it under pressure of the conveyer belt, security and everybody wanting to get on it.


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