Saturday, 20 March 2021

How to Travel Stress Free - Lets Pack for the Sun


The time is approaching when we can pack our cases and fly in search of the sun, sea and sangria. We remember those feelings of warm rays, gentle waves and a tipple or two of a night time. We long to be there or anywhere to get this feeling once again. The lockdowns have been hard enough to deal with and without a means of escape it has driven us to isolation and now, we are surfing the internet and perusing through holiday brochures ready to book our 'get away'.

We remember the good stuff.....the sea, the sand, the sangria. We forget the stresses of travel. In fact the most stressful part of our holiday is the travelling 'to and from' our destination. The worry of delayed flights, cancelled flights, the check in, customs, finding a seat on the plane, overhead luggage space........and the dreaded moment of waiting for your case to appear on the conveyor belt. Missing luggage.......a travellers worst nightmare. With the oncoming surge of holiday bookings, the airports will be busier than ever. 

I am an experienced traveller but still I find airports my biggest stress factor. I have worked abroad, on cruise ships and I love to see the world in general. I just hate the travelling part, especially the airports. However, my last holiday was just before the first lockdown and was possibly the least stressful I have ever had. Why you ask? I removed the 'stressors'

Plan the Journey

Once the flight's booked, I start to plan the journey to the airport. I find travelling by car quite stressful with traffic jams or road diversions and parking at airports. So I tried something different this time and looked at coach travel. There are some great coach journey deals with National Express Coaches. This is actually a great way to travel. The coaches are very comfortable with plenty of legroom. This does alleviate the worry of planning your route to the airport and finding your airport parking. The coach drops you off at the flight departure entrance and I have always found in general, that the customer service provided by the National Express coach drivers rather exceptional. 

If your flight is an early morning departure, as was mine, what better way to start your holiday than a night in a hotel and a good nights sleep? There are so many hotels within walking distance or just a shuttle bus drive away from the airports. Keep checking the 'overnight stay' deals on I was lucky enough to find a 'real bargain' for £25 a night, in a hotel that was just a 5 minute walk away from departures. Add the £9.50 cost for my return travel on the coach......and I had bagged myself a bargain. I arrived the night before my flight. I slept really well. I was checked in and relaxing, 'stress free' in the departure lounge with my breakfast and a hot coffee with plenty of time to spare. 


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Packing - I used to find this experience quite unpleasant at one time. Nowadays due to airport restrictions and baggage allowances, there are some super travel solutions for practically every item. This makes packing an easier task to deal with. I spent 8 days on my last holiday, arriving on resort with a cabin case and a handbag!! Unbelievably, I still packed too many clothes. There are strict instructions on luggage allowance and you do need to adhere to the rules (check with your flight company). Cabin cases have to be a certain size and the measurement are very precise. Make sure that you stick within the guidelines otherwise you will pay additional charges for hold luggage. Since you have arrived stress free to the airport, don't bring on the anxiety just because your measurements are incorrect. My little cabin case was perfect with plenty of space and one zip compartment. Lightweight Suitcase Cabin Approved Trolley Bag

Being British....we tend to worry about the weather. We pack everything for all eventualities. Hands up.....I still do this, but I have learnt over the years to minimise the heavy and thick winter wear especially when travelling to a country with a warm climate. I focus more on the 'easy to pack' and 'crease free' clothing that I will actually wear.

So, packing for 8 days in a very warm country, with temperatures that range from 19 to 27 degrees during my stay, what do I pack?
  • 7 dresses
  • 3 skirts
  • 5 t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of shoes (1 neutral colour for evening wear and one day time walking pair)
  • 1 small light cardigan/jacket
  • 1 small handbag
  • 1 swimming costume
  • Night wear
  • Underwear
  • A small amount of jewellery

Toiletries, at one time, could be a big issue for cabin cases. Liquids, creams, toothpaste, aerosols, gels and many more items are restricted to 100 ml. All of these items must be sealed in a see-through plastic sealable bag of a certain size (check with your flight company). The thought of trying to pack everything you need into your hand luggage was way too stressful. So our only option was to go for hold luggage. You can actually buy most toiletries now, in either stick or powder format, which are not restricted as yet. I brought hair shampoo and conditioner in soap form and toothpaste as a powder. To remove make up or freshen up there are so many different types of cleansing tissues available. Even sun creams and deodorants can be purchased as a solid stick too. I used all of these items in non-liquid format and they are ideal for travelling. This leaves very minimal essential liquid items which easily fit into your sealable plastic bag. Other ideal products to pack in your see-through bag are small sachets of hair masks, face masks, body creams and body scrubs. All these sachets are under 100 ml.

Now...... we have to actually put all of this in a cabin case. My dad was a naval man and taught me how to pack. Rolling clothes is definitely the way to go. Clothing is really flexible once it's rolled and will bend around corners or fit closely to the next item. Clothes packed in this way also cushion items that may spill or break such as electrical items or compact powdered toiletries. Underwear can be rolled and packed inside small handbags or open toed shoes. Any toiletries not in your sealed plastic bag can be placed inside a tote bag and cushioned between items of rolled clothing. I put all my documents, phone, tablet, charger and sealed liquid bag in my handbag for ease. If you feel the need to pack more into your cabin case, you can always purchase travel Roll Up Compression Bags For Travelling - Pack of 10

Once you have rolled (or compressed) your clothing, you can start packing. It is quite surprising when everything fits in easily.......and there is room to spare. The secret is light, non creasable clothing, non-liquid items, small sachets, choose your heavy items wisely (jackets and shoes) and take only what you need (we very rarely wear or use the 'I might need these' items).  Once your case is packed, use your handbag or small carrier bag for essential items, paperwork and sealed liquid bag only. I find a bag with compartments and zips a lot easier to use when I travel. I can organise my belongings and know where to find everything rather than rummaging around a 'deep dark void' looking for my passport Miss Lulu Women Handbags Pu Leather Casual Travel

My bags are packed.....I know where everything is.....I don't feel at all stressed about the travel to and from the airport and I know I will have a good nights sleep. The biggest bonus of all......No waiting at the other end wondering if my suitcase has arrived on the same plane as me. It will be in the overhead locker from take off to landing!

When we have waited so long for a relaxing holiday, we shouldn't have to worry or stress about any part of the journey. Our 'time out' should be a pleasure.........Happy holidays. 

Please see my article on travelling for a healthy mind


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