As a frequent traveller, it is necessary to have a routine to help make the process of travelling a little easier. I find that the more I travel, the better my travel habits have become and I am able to breeze through travel days with minimal stress.
However, if you rarely travel or you are a first-time traveller, you may still be figuring out how to make it out of the house, navigate your way through busy airports and make it to your destination without exploding in rage and frustration.
The key is research and thorough preparation. Whether you swear by rolling clothes instead of folding, training yourself to fight the jet flag or always having a bag of mini toiletries on hand, there are so many useful travel habits to pick up that can help keep you calm in between point A and point B.
Here are my 10 travel habits that will make you the perfect traveller:
1. Always make a packing list
If you don't know where to start, simply search up 'packing list guide' and you will be able to jot down all the essentials and add anything else that may be specific to your travel circumstances. Packing lists are the best way to ensure that you have everything that you need and ease your mind of those looming 'have I forgotten something?' thoughts. Also, make sure to carry a pen with you so you can tick off items or add things as the day progresses.
2. Travel light - follow the one bag rule
If you can't fit everything into one suitcase, then it is time to rethink what you have packed. If you have too many clothes, I suggest laying out all your clothes in front of you and getting rid of any items that you have not worn in the past month. Also, don't take miscellaneous items with you that can easily be found at your travel destination, such as toothpaste, shampoo or slippers which are usually complimentary in hotels. Again, if you're having trouble, refer to an online checklist.
3. Limit your electronics
Another way to stick to the 'one bag rule' is to only bring one electronic item, usually your smart phone. If you can live without your laptop or tablet for a few weeks, then it is best to leave it behind in the safety of your home as they can be heavy to carry, and may get lost or stolen if taken abroad. However, if you have to take more than one electronic item with you for business or other purposes, remember to keep them safe and hidden from public access to avoid falling victim to pickpockets. If something does happen to you whilst you're abroad, have a look at this leaflet for information on what to do next.
4. Bring a dummy phone
A dummy phone is essentially an old school mobile phone that has no internet access - it is simply used for the purpose of making and receiving calls. In case something happens to your smart phone, you will always be able to rely on your dummy phone as a back up.
5. Print out your itinerary
When you book a flight, your travel provider will usually email you an itinerary informing you of your flight details, what time to check in and what time it is best to clear security by. Print this out and keep referring back to it throughout the day to make sure you are on track.
6. Carry copies of your ID
As well as keeping an electronic copy of your passport, ID and other important documents, always print out hard copies in case you do not have access to your phone or your electronic copies are not accepted. It is also a good idea to give copies of your ID to trusted friends and family members in case they need to be contacted on your behalf.
7. Always take out health insurance
If you are travelling within the EU, you can apply for a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) completely free of charge and you will receive free or reduced health care across all EU countries.
However, your EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and you should make sure to take out appropriate travel insurance that covers all your needs, depending on the type of activities you will be doing, how often you travel, where you are travelling and more.
If you're unsure, check out this guide to insurance to find the best deal for you and ensure you are fully covered when travelling abroad.
8. Pick up a pocket phrasebook
If you are travelling to a country where English is not the native language, it is useful to purchase a pocket phrasebook to help make your way around the country and communicate with the locals.
9. Dress for the weather of your destination
If you are travelling from England to Florida, get your shorts and sunnies on! This will save you a lot of clothing space and help you get in the holiday mood. Bring a light jacket and make use of the blankets on airplanes if you start to feel chilly, and vice versa, if you are travelling from a hot to a cold destination, make sure you are wearing layers.
10. Carry a mini skincare and hygiene kit (moisturiser, deodorant, lip balm, hand sanitiser, perfume, mints, etc.)
There is no need to go overboard and spend 15 minutes in the airplane toilet doing an entire skincare routine (unless that makes you feel more comfortable - go for it!), but having the essentials is all you need to make you feel refreshed after being stuck on a stuffy plane for several hours.
For more specific travel advice, check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office #TravelAware page which provides the latest travel updates for countries around the world, foreign travel checklists and other useful information from insurance, mental health and passport advice.