Adventures: My Top 10 Ultimate Travel Tips
We check-in our brains when we check-in our luggage. It's such an odd occurrence, as travel often brings with it numerous and unexpected moments of high stress, yet our minds have gone on holiday well before we actually have. I get it - there's so much to think about, plan and do, so when my mates at Booking.com got in touch about sharing some personal travel experiences I knew where I could help travellers most was around getting their shit together. Make sure you read all the way through ok as Booking.com are offering a really sweet discount for your next accommodation booking and if you're not familiar, you'll never pay booking fees and with most bookings, you don't pay until you stay. So it's all very easy.
You might be thinking, 'well what makes him such a travel expert?' Good question - I've spent some considerable time in the air, completing over 150 international flights while I was working for an airline in my early twenties. Having earned my wings, I'm stoked to be able to share with you my Top 10 tried and tested tips to help your travel plans get a smoother take off (this pun was too good to pass up here).
Before I get into the Top 10, here are a few starters before the main.
It's good to have physical copies of important documents, and also the digital versions. I use my iCloud account to start a travel folder with all important stuff like flight & accommodation information and it's all easily accessible in one place should you need it.
Download the travel related apps. Download the Booking.com app to access your bookings and get notifications, and grab the relevant airlines' apps too. My gf and I had a fairly tight connection through LA to NYC last year and we were able to check-in while still sitting on the Tarmac after landing from the incoming flight. Saved us precious time.
Download Uber or Lyft if you haven't already - these will save you so much time, hassle, and reduce the chances of getting lost and it's just an all-round good time. We did this across the states and Mexico city and it worked like a charm, especially when the native language wasn't English.
Think in advance about the things you'll need access to while you're flying, as in items you'll want to use during the flight, not in your checked-in luggage. Sounds obvious, but I remember people constantly asking cabin crew for items that they thought they had packed in carry-on but were infact in their checked in luggage. Always carry a pen. There are always forms to fill in on departure and arrival.
My Top Ten Travel Tips
1. Charger for iPhone or your laptop. As many modern planes now facilitate charging, it's handy to be all charged up and ready to go when you land. Be sure to load lots of music and movies/shows on your devices as some planes don't have entertainment, particularly domestic USA routes so it's a solid back-up. Throw in a good old paperback too if you like to read and unwind.
2. A box of chocolates. This isn't for you and your travel buddy to scoff down, this is a simple but impactful gesture to the crew who are about to look after you. Think about this for a second. The flight crew work long hours and serve you (and deal with many dramas), so if you turn up with a smile and a box of chocolates as a thank you, you'll reap the reward. Guaranteed. Do it once you're seated so you can gift to the crew looking after you in your area. You will 100% thank me for this piece of advice.
3. Spare pair of undies. You never know when you might need them. I'm not even going to tell you my story that involves me having to offer my pair of undies to a fellow traveller (new undies by the way as I know what reaction you had on your face just now). This spare pair is also a wise move in the event your checked-in luggage gets lost. Trust me it happens more than you ever want to believe. It's also worth packing a spare tee and a jumper too. The tee can help you freshen up after a long flight and the jumper is handy if it's cold in-flight as often temperatures fluctuate during flight.
4. Face wipes, nasal spray & antibacterial. Good to give the face (and even the armpits) a rinse after a snooze sitting upright in a seat. Makes you feel slightly human again. Plus in case you get blocked up or the other extreme get a running nose, have the spray on hand. It's a lifesaver, seriously do not travel without it. And you never know when you may need to wash the hands. Planes and airports are dirty places...because people are filthy animals. Say no more.
5. Chapstick & face moisturiser. Your skin needs some help to deal with the ordeal of flying in what is a very dry environment. I use Origins Drink up-Intensive as it provides a thick hydrating layer to shield from the dry circulated air that comes from the jet engines.
6. Headphones. Noise cancelling if you have them as the airline ones tend to be average (especially in economy). BYO your headphones as these can help block out the engine hum or worse, those screaming kids (there's always bloody one!) so you can get a few Zzzzzzs.
7. BYO food. People often don't realise you can take your own food on the flight. Bring some healthy snacks as an alternative to food served inflight. Often handy too when you're on budget airlines that don't offer up more than a cup of water for free. Just remember to ditch fruit/veg before disembarking and declare anything else. Especially on return into NZ.
8. Wear comfy sneakers. That also breathe. You'll be in them for hours so it's imperative they're good on the feet and allow airflow. Don't walk around with no shoes on the plane either, that's just rude and it ain't your house bro. Kiwi brand Allbirds who use Sheep's wool are a fantastic option as your travel sneaker.
9. A hat. Have you seen yourself after a long flight? If you're anything like me at the end of a flight, my hair looks like I've stuck a bush on my head and to help get some level of composure back, I throw on a hat or cap to cover it up. Perfect.
10. A toothbrush & toothpaste (remember it needs to be a small tube under 100ml). You'll appreciate being able to brush your teeth after a long flight. It's the simple pleasures like clean teeth and fresh breath that will help you tackle the pain of long-haul travel.
That's my list of smart things to pack. It's a collection of things I've picked up over the years when I travelled almost on the weekly basis and the things people taught me along the way. Let me know what you think of the above and if you've got any travel gems of your own, it'd be great to know them so please share in the comments below.
Next time you're thinking of booking a holiday, swing by Booking.com, they've got your accommodation needs covered to suit your budget and there's never that annoying booking fee too. Plus because you guys and gals are awesome followers of mine, they're sharing an extremely special promo just for you! With any Booking.com booking you make over $80 NZD, you'll get $40 NZD back* so you'll be left with more in your travel kitty to go on your thrilling adventures.
Go on and book that new adventure near or afar. I'm thinking Japan next...
* $40 NZD credited back to your nominated account through Booking.com once you have successfully completed your stay. Deal valid for one booking only.
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