As the majority of us hail from God’s country, we know all too well that there are very few places we can get to by plane in under 4 hours.
If consistently ridiculous long-haul flights are the only price we have to pay for the privilege, we’ll cop it. Meanwhile, we may as well nail the international travel game down to a fine art in the hope to mitigate everything high flying may throw at us.
Here's 8 tips to help you travel like a boss.
1. Dress slick
Flying is a classy affair, it always was, and it always should be. You want to look smart in the cab, at the airport, as you step onto the plane and when you step off. There’s a good reason to clean up your look too, as airlines won’t ever pick people for random upgrades if you’re in trackies and Nikes. Likewise, you never know who you might end up sitting next to. Chinos, a button-up with the sleeves rolled, dress shoes and a classy timepiece to round it off are a safe bet. It shouldn’t matter if you’re on business or vacay, look the part.
2. Be on time
Get your shit together and perfect the art of time management. The 90-minute minimum recommended time to arrive for international check-in is usually a pretty good guide. This leaves minimal waiting time at the gate. Most airlines let you check-in online 24 to 48hrs before departure, so if you’ve only got hand luggage, you can pretty much walk straight through.
3. Pack light
If you can travel with just hand luggage, make it work. Don’t take a checked bag just for the sake of it, no one needs the hassle of baggage claim and customs checks. Get a hand luggage bag that’s practical and a decent size – something that can fit about a week’s worth of gear in. Have your laptop or tablet ready to go, packed on top, and your liquids all together and easily reachable to make security a breeze.
4. Have the travel wallet game down
Don’t be that guy fumbling for his boarding pass because he put it away too early. Prioritise your documents so that everything you might still need is easily reachable. It changes at every airport, but at the least for your home turf, you should know the routine after a few times. Knowing your flight number will help you when filling out passenger cards and you should always have a pen handy. Put one in your travel wallet and at least one extra in your hand luggage.
5. Get an express pass
Usually reserved for first, business and staff travellers, these cards are god's gift to solo flyers. Specific to the airports they are issued at, express passes will streamline your pre-boarding experience ten-fold should you get your hands on one. They basically never expire and are handy to have for exceptionally busy times (or when you’re - ahem - running late) to skip lines and boost right through to the gate.
6. Take a change of clothes
Our advice would be to take a set of pyjamas or nightwear that will keep you comfortable (and warm - if you didn’t notice it can get cold on planes) and to keep your travel clothes fresh for when you land. If you’re not planning to change completely, take a fresh shirt at the least to swap out before touchdown.
7. Get up, stretch and wash
Even if you don’t feel like it, do this every couple of hours at the minimum. Keep your body ache-free and your skin hydrated. Everything you can do will help you look a million bucks when stepping off into that all important business meeting or reunion with family or friends.
8. Skip breakfast
This is a personal opinion, but especially for long-haul flights after hours of snacking and little physical movement, breakfast can be a make or break for pulling up good when you get off that plane. Usually served just before touchdown on most long-haul flights to and from Europe, the scrambled eggs and sausages might be worth skipping next time. Instead, nibble on a fruit salad or yogurt and stock up on water. Go for an orange juice rather than a coffee for that energy boost. The last thing you want is that heavy feeling in your stomach after no sleep and 24 hours on-the-go.
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