1. Pack your carry-on with the real essentials
Preparation is the best-kept secret of those people who stroll off planes looking refreshed and relaxed after a long-haul (and trust me, it's not just because they were in first or business!). And it all comes down to what you pack in your carry-on. Here's a list of what I pack every time I jump on a plane:
- iPhone & iPhone charger - podcast episodes already downloaded
- Kindle & Kindle charger - tons of good books already loaded
- iPad & iPad charger - magazines downloaded for offline reading
- Earphones & headphones - with an adapter so I can use my good Beats ones instead of the flimsy airplane ones they give you for free
- Face wipes, moisturiser, eye cream, lip balm & hand cream
- Silk eye mask
- Roomy cardigan or oversized scarf for when the AC is turned way too high
- Bite-sized snacks
Make sure you've downloaded everything onto your devices a couple days in advance. You never want to be at the mercy of spotty airport wifi and the last thing you want to do the night before is focus on downloaded magazines instead of packing, say, a single swimsuit!
2. Get every app you think you'll need
Flight delays at LAX? Bus routes in Ho Chi Minh City? Best tapas in Seville? There's an app for that. FlightRadar 24 shows you real-time departure and arrival times for you to keep track of your flights. AirBnB fall through? Check out Hotel Tonight and book a room to avoid sleeping in an airport or worse! Might seem obvious but make sure your Uber app is up and running for the location you're in. Want to get public transport instead and take the scenic route? Citymapper has you covered. Before you even get to your destination, look into PackPoint - it uses weather forecasts to help you pack for you trip. Jump onto Trip Advisor to find the perfect place for breakfast, dinner and everything in between.
3. Get seriously organised
Is it just me or do you pack everything into your pristine carry-on only to open it on the plane and be unable to locate anything?! Don't leave yourself at the mercy of the "it's in my bag somewhere" mindset and invest in travel organisers. One of my favourite labels for travel organisation is Stow (also a favourite of HRH Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, just quietly). They literally make everything you could possibly wish for in the way of travel organisation essentials including this gorgeous First Class tech case, a clear travel folio, a leather laptop and document folio, and a soft leather and suede jewellery roll.
4. Give yourself extra (and I mean extra) time
So maybe this is my low-level anxiety speaking (which I've decided I'm now going to refer to as being 'risk-averse'), but there is literally nothing worse than realising you're running late and there are planes or trains in your plans for the day. It legitimately is enough to give you palpitations sometimes so to avoid this feeling, I always like to get to any transport hub at least an hour earlier than I need to be. Why stress yourself out and be rushing?! Plus if you're travelling international, hello extra hour of duty free shopping!
5. Make sure to schedule some relaxation post-travel
Even easy-breezy transit days can be exhausting and I think it's the odd travel day that's actually easy-breezy. Every other travel day there's always something that goes wrong. Even if you have a packed itinerary, make sure you give yourself time to come down from the stress of transit. Whether you block out your first day in Hawaii as a beach day or book a massage or facial. You could even just plan to take a hour's nap as soon as you arrive. Don't feel bad about taking time for yourself - you'll honestly enjoy the rest of the holiday that much more when you're feeling relaxed right from the get-go!