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I recently read Cheap Flight’s article on ‘The Five Stages of Middle Seat Grief‘, another travel annoyance that is all too real to me, especially when your travel partner in crime also happens to be six foot tall and insists on “needing” on the aisle seat to stretch his legs, and it got me thinking about my top travel annoyance – the airport.
Holidays and travelling are supposed to be a fun a time; a time to relax and be excited about exploring new places, over indulging in great food and spending time on the beach. However, most of the time, in order to get to these little areas of paradise, you have to go to one of my most dreaded places – the airport, for some people, like my Dad, an airport is an exciting place, for others like myself, it is extremely stressful and a complete pain in the backside, the sooner someone manages to bring Floo powder to the Muggle world the better in my opinion.
So over the years I have found little ways of making the airport a slightly more enjoyable place so I thought it was only right that I shared them.
- The morning rush
For the majority, I will always pay a bit extra for an early morning flight, especially on a city break, it means you can make the most of the day when you arrive at your destination. However, for the majority of us, this means waking up at a ridiculously early time to try to avoid the morning rush hour on the roads. Sometimes it is so early that it can actually be counterproductive, as by the time you reach your destination you are completely knackered. The solution I have found for these particularly early flights are airport hotels; at the start of this year I stayed in the Bloc Hotel in Gatwick Airport, this particular hotel is located less than a minute walk from the departure gate of the South Terminal. A good nights sleep along with a casual stroll to departures in the morning took away a world of stress and had me wide awake by the time we reached Berlin – fully ready for a whole day of exploring by foot.
I always find that I overspend at the airport, especially on food and drink, being vegetarian I also find that plane food tends to be particularly bad, therefore I do like to take extra food on to long haul flights. So now instead of paying for overpriced food that lacks variety, I bring snacks with me, I also take an empty refillable water bottle to fill up once past security, you save money and also help to save the environment! Win Win! I would also recommend using this when you get to your destination as well to help reduce your plastic waste.
Particularly before a long haul flight, I think it is important to be relaxed, busy airports do not relax me and crowds put me on edge, so next time I am going to book into one of the many airports lounges that most UK airports have. These lounges often pop up on Groupon for an extremely fair price and include free magazines, charging stations, free wifi and snacks, and most importantly provide a crowd-free area for you to chill out before a flight.Side note: Please do not be the person who creates the queues by wearing excessive jewellery that you take off piece by piece at security or by trying to sneak through liquids in your bag instead of the see-through bags. You will receive judging eyes from the majority of the queue.
Queues at security always frustrate me, perhaps I am just an impatient person ( In fact, I know I am!) but I just find waiting in line incredibly unproductive. So apparently someone out there has done a study that says – ‘If you hate waiting in line or you’re in a rush to make your flight, research shows that most people are right-handed and tend to turn right first, so do the opposite and go left.’ I am not sure how true this is, but I will be trialing it next time!
If you choose to park at the airport while you are away, you may find that by the time you arrive home two weeks later you have no idea where you have parked. You will then spend an hour wandering around and automatically losing that holiday feeling, to avoid this I suggest taking a photo of the car park signage ( level and aisle) on departure. That way when you land you can quickly check your phone and be on your way.
6. Carry on baggage
On short haul city breaks I never pay for hold luggage, I instead cram everything on to a carry-on case . Annoyingly most airlines now only let you take one piece of carry-on luggage, meaning you cannot even take a small handbag alongside this, however, I accidently found out that if you place your handbag inside a carrier bag of a store from the airport, this is completely fine and no questions will be asked. Crazy but it has worked every time.
Bonus plane hack: This one is a little bit risky and is not in any way a guaranteed result – but when booking your plane seats in advance, if there is two of you, book yourself on to a row of three leaving the middle seat free (eg – Book the window and Aisle seat). If the plane is not overly booked, you will end up with the middle seat free and a whole row to yourselves, but the risk is if it is fully booked you will end up with a random person in between you who is experiencing middle seat grief.
Please share your airport and plane hacks in the comments below!
Further reading: How to save money for travel (while still having a life!)
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Cheap Flights, but these annoyances are very much real.