Planning for the airport - tips for making the journey easier

Start your journey as you mean to go on: in style

There was a time when flying was a luxury only available to the very rich. These days budget airlines have made hopping to another country affordable for most of us. But as more and more people travel, the modern experience can be less glamour and more clamour. SavvySave take a look at how to make your journey a less stressful one.

In days of yore, air travel was an experience only undertaken by those with fashionable sunglasses, designer luggage and a wad load of cash. However for us mere mortals, package holidays and the concept of flying to your destination only became an option in the 1950’s when the first package holidays were launched. But even then, the very first trip saw just eleven holidaymakers board a plane for the sunshine of the Mediterranean.

These days, of course, things have changed and as the possibilities for seeing a little further afield than our small, yet green and pleasant land, became a reality for more and more people, the collective imagination was fueled, and budget carriers started catering to the normal working demographic.

But with this came the crowds. All of a sudden, us Brits were everywhere - in our hoards at both the airport and on the beach. Traveling abroad is no longer the rarified preserve of the monied - and that’s a great thing, otherwise how would any of us ‘normal’ people be able to enjoy the weekend breaks and trips to sunnier climes that we’ve become used to? But it does come with its own set of challenges and many of us would prefer our holidays to have a little less hassle. Many airports are cramped and busy and struggle to accommodate the increasing number of travelers they cater to. They may also be undergoing inconvenient and unsightly building work as they add new terminals or runways. Add to that the extended (but sadly necessary) wait as you go through security, and the blood pressure inducing drive to the airport and it’s no wonder so many of us arrive at our destination frazzled and irate.

So just how do you ensure you get to the airport on time? What do you do when the park and ride threatens to add another hour to your journey? How do you make sure your suitcases and carry on are within the baggage limit and you’re not going to wait in line for an hour only to get sprung with a horrifically expensive charge? What do you do when the family are hungry, thirsty or bored but everything in the terminal shops and restaurants costs twice as much as it does in the ‘real’ world? And, crucially, how do you chill when the airport terminal is a riot of noise, stressed passengers and crying kids?

It’s time to relax, fasten your seat belt and read on as SavvySave offer some suggestions to make your journey and airport experience a little smoother.

First of all, getting organised starts before you’ve even left home. If your airline offers the option of being able to check in online, do so. It can make queueing up and checking in so much quicker. We always opt for the express bag drop if that’s an option. Plus you can pick your seats.

As for avoiding the dreaded “Sorry, your bag is overweight and I’m going to charge you almost as much as your holiday cost” scenario, invest in luggage scales like these ones from Amazon which are compact enough to take with you so you also know how many more kilos of souvenirs you can buy before putting yourself over the limit on the return journey.

It’s the day of your departure and although we know we’re stating the obvious, setting off and getting to the airport early is a must in the SavvySave book. Whether you’re driving, taking the train or a coach, things can go wrong. We hate to get all gloomy on you but trains do get delayed and can break down, as too can coaches. And let’s not even talk about traffic. If you’re traveling in a particularly busy period such as summer, school or bank holidays it pays to leave even earlier to avoid sitting in jams and possibly missing your flight. Even if you do make it in the nick of time, your stress levels will be so high that you’ll probably still be bubbling over with anxiety when you land at your destination. Not a great start to a trip.

If you’re driving, parking near the airport is handy, if you don’t mind paying slightly more, as is Meet and Greet parking. This will cut down in park and ride time, which remember, is not just about the time it takes for the shuttle to drop you at the terminal, but also about the time spent waiting for the bus. Even that 15 minute wait can have a devastating effect if you’re rushing to make your flight.

You’ve checked in, gone through passport control and security, you’ve made it in time and now you have a period of wait where your holiday can really begin. But, what’s that? It’s the arguments, crying, laughing and drunken banter of your fellow travellers. What joy! If you’re in desperate need of some chill time before you board your plane why not consider purchasing an airport lounge pass that will let you get away from the crowds and relax in a VIP style environment with a drink and some peace and quiet? They can be more affordable than you think!

If you’re on a budget, we suggest skipping the duty free and finding a quiet corner where you can sit with a good book or your laptop or phone. Want to get online? Check out this interactive map for a list of wifi passwords at airports across the globe.

As for those expensive airport meals, snacks and drinks, a little preparation will go a long way in saving you money, especially if you’re traveling with children. Take your own canned or bottled drinks and refill at water fountains, and bag up snacks that won’t go off such as nuts and dried fruit.

We hope our tips will help you get your holiday off to a flying start (pun intended) now all that’s left for us to do is to wish you ‘bon voyage’.