Guide to stress-free travelling
June 17th, 2008 by admin

Here’s our guide to a stress-free trip, from Issue 68 of Holiday Villas Magazine

Love the holiday but hate the hassle of getting there?

Travel writer Gillian Thornton has 30 stress-busting tips

  • Travelling by car to the Med? No need, then, for
    minimalist packing, but have you packed everything
    that’s legally required for your vehicle, such as spare
    bulbs, a warning triangle, and a fluorescent yellow
    vest? Check with the AA, RAC or your car insurers
    before you travel.
    provides detailed info on the rules of the road in the
    USA, Western Europe, South Africa and Australia.
    And remember you’ll need a Green Card if you want
    fully comprehensive cover while driving abroad.
  • You can save money by pre-booking your airport
    parking. Off-site car parks are usually the best value,
    but allow extra time to reach the terminal. Purple
    Parking offer competitive off-site parking at almost
    20 UK airports ( or try the
    British Airports Authority website,
  • If you’re travelling by low-cost, no-frills airline, you
    can save money by packing snacks for the journey
    rather than buying at airport or airline prices. But don’t
    forget that current security regulations about carrying
    liquids mean that you will need to buy bottles of drink
    once you have passed through security.
  • Check to see whether your villa owner or holiday
    company includes the option of pre-booking a
    welcome pack on arrival. If you’re arriving late or
    have a long transfer time, the last thing you want to
    do is head off in search of a supermarket. But it’s
    always worth taking a few non-perishable essentials
    such as tea, coffee, sugar, biscuits, dry pasta and a
    sachet of pasta sauce.
  • If you’re planning on trying any adventure sports
    such as paragliding, rafting or jetski, make sure that
    your holiday insurance covers you. Better to pay a
    small supplement than a big hospital bill.
  • Travelling within the European Union? Make sure
    you all have a European Health Insurance Card,
    which entitles you to free medical treatment. Full
    details from your local Post Office.
  • Make two photocopies of your passport, driving
    licence and travel insurance documents. Leave one
    with friends or family at home and take the other
    with you, keeping it separate from the originals.
  • Put one member of the party in charge of tickets
    and passports, but give everyone a copy of essential
    details such as villa address, directions for finding it
    and contact phone numbers.
  • Cancel the milk and newspaper deliveries, and
    ask a neighbour to keep watch for post or free
    papers sticking out of the letterbox. If the house is
    alarmed, make sure someone has a key to get in and
    turn it off if necessary.
  • Check the five-day weather forecasts on the
    internet before you travel, so you know whether to
    take waterproofs or extra layers.
  • Know where you’re going. It sounds obvious, but
    make sure you know exactly how to get to the
    airport at this end (some people do actually go to the
    wrong one!) and to your villa at the other. A bit of
    pre-planning can save a lot of frayed nerves and
    family arguments on the road.
  • Leave more time than you think you’ll need.
    Better to sit at the airport over a snack or a good
    book, than stuck in a traffic jam. Don’t underestimate
    the time it can take to get through security checks in
    peak season.
  • If your departure airport has more than one
    terminal, check which one you need with your tour
    operator or via the airport website.

Packing up

  • If you’re travelling by air, eliminate the tedious wait
    at baggage carousels by carrying hand luggage only,
    especially when you’re travelling in the summer with
    light clothes. But check hand baggage allowances
    with your airline before you travel – weights and bag
    sizes vary – remembering that you may want to bring
    extra purchases home with you. Some airports and
    airlines now allow two pieces of hand luggage while
    others still enforce the one bag rule.
  • With tough security measures still in place, you can
    only take liquids, gels and pastes in containers of up
    to 100 ml in your hand luggage – with the exception
    of baby food and baby milk – and these must be
    packed in a re-sealable plastic bag no larger than 8” x
    8”. Visit for the latest regulations.
  • Most people pack far too many clothes, so I advise
    women to lay their holiday wardrobe out on the bed
    and be ruthless about leaving things behind. Go for
    coordinating items in neutral colours then jazz up
    with a bright top or accessories. Don’t forget the
    golden rule: work out how much clothing you think
    you’ll need, then halve it; calculate how much
    money you’ll spend, then double it.
  • Wherever possible, choose fabrics that don’t
    crease, but remember that if you roll clothes rather
    than fold them, they’ll come out looking far less
    crumpled. Remember, too, that if you haven’t got it,
    you can almost certainly buy it at your resort, and if
    your villa has a washing machine, you’ll need to take
    even fewer clothes.
  • Travel in your bulkiest pair of shoes, then pack a
    pair of flip-flops and some lightweight shoes for
    evening. Blister plasters are far less bulky than taking
    extra footwear!
  • Carry a basic sponge bag, clean underwear and
    swimwear in your hand luggage; if your luggage
    goes to Costa Rica and you’ve gone to the Costa
    Blanca, you can still enjoy a dip in your villa pool
    and freshen up afterwards until your bags arrive.
    Swop an outfit with a travelling companion so you’ve
    both got something to wear if your luggage is
    delayed. A sarong can be used in a multitude of ways
    until your full wardrobe arrives – just ask David

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