Right, I should let you know now, here at the start, that this is is a ‘guide’ in the very loosest sense of the term. I have no idea how to do all that space saving magic folidng packing nonsense. I just chuck everything in and hope for the best.
This is more a collection of my thoughts on how to get through an airport with annoying fellow travellers and how/what to pack.
- Check what weight and dimensions your hand luggage is allowed to be. Don’t exceed it. Even if you have never had your hand luggage weighed or measured before, one day it will happen and if you’re over, chances are you’ll have to check it at a mahoosive cost.
- Put anything valuable, important or difficult to replace in your hand luggage. Your hotel tickets, laptop, jewellery, money, medication, framed photograph of Louis Theroux etc, this all needs to go in your hand luggage.
- Expect the worst. Pack your hand luggage with essential items for the first few days of your break, just in case your main suitcase goes missing. No one wants to spend the first few days of their holiday wearing their undercrackers inside out and back to front because they’ve run out of clean ones. I always pack spare underwear, couple of days worth of outfits, swimwear, sunglasses, footwear and my toothbrush in my hand luggage. It’s almost annoying that my case has never been lost. I quite like the idea of smugly proclaiming that it’s all ok, I planned ahead.
- Pack a bag within a bag. I like to pack a carrier bag of essentials and put this within my hand luggage. My bag within a bag usually includes my book or kindle, phone, passport, tickets, Sudoku book, warm jumper, my Boots meal deal, bottle of water etc. Basically, anything I will actually need during the flight. This bag then goes at my feet during the flight and everything else gets shoved in the overhead locker. This way I don’t have to constantly disturb someone to get bits and pieces out during the flight.
- Weigh your case before you get to the airport. You can buy luggage scales from the £ shop. Take them with you if you are planning on buying things when you’re away.
- Remove old luggage labels before you check in. Avoid having the check in staff roll their eyes at you by removing those white and green things. It helps avoid any confusion about where your case is headed.
- Again, expect the worst. If you’re travelling with a someone else, do some joint packing. Chuck some of your things in their case and vice versa. That way if one suitcase goes missing, you’ve both got plenty of clothes to keep you going.
At the airport
- If you’re going to be one of these impatient, heavy-sighing, toe-tapping grumps in the queue for security, please, do yourself and everyone else a favour and pay for priority security and waltz on past the rest of us plebs. Ask nicely and I might chuck it free for you. 😉
- Wear shoes that are easy to remove. Security don’t always ask you to remove them, but if they do, you’ll infuriate everyone behind you if you take an eternity remove your lace-up knee high boots.
- Likewise, do you really need to wear your belt, watch and 12 items of jewellery when going through security? Why not have these things in your hand luggage and use the decades of spare time you have whilst sat at your boarding gate to put these things on. Having said that, if your belt really is the only thing preventing you mooning the queue, please, by all means wear it.
- Liquids – put them in the goddamn clear bag before you get to the airport!
- Please don’t spread yourself over 12 seats in the waiting area. Your backpack doesn’t need a seat, it’s quite happy on the floor. I will sit on it if I have to.
- If you require any special assistance, arrange this before you go. Staff will go above and beyond to make your airport experience as smooth as possible. Let me know when you book and I can sort everything for you.
- You CAN take food through security. Remember, it’s just liquids you’re limited on taking through. Solid food is a-ok. Make a little packed lunch. Or, if you’re lazy like me, buy a Boots meal deal. (Other meal deal provides are available. Boots are the best though).
- Take an empty, re-usable water bottle. You can this fill this up at water fountains in many airports.
- When you land and go to collect your suitcase from the luggage carousel, please please please check the luggage label the airport put on your case. Check it has your name on it. I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who accidentally takes someones suitcase with them and then has to turn to Facebook in a desperate plea to retrieve their suitcase and return the other to the rightful owner. It take a couple of seconds to check. If someone took my suitcase it would take all my self control not to run over their feet with it repeatedly.
- Keep an eye on the boards to see when you need to go to your gate. I had my name called out in the airport once and it was beyond mortifying. I had to do a pathetic half walk half run and then board the plane sweating and in utter shame.
Finally, the most important advice I have, check you have your passport. Then check again.