So you have decided where to go, booked a flight, and you are ready to travel. Here are some of my handy tips for how to travel comfortably and ensure your journey is enjoyable and stress-free.
- Master the art of travelling light. You can buy essentials. Everything else is excessive.
- Always pack a towel. Use it as a pillow or cushion.
- Take an umbrella, even if the weather forecast is favourable.
- Pack a pair of earplugs. Hotels, hostels and screming people can be very noisy, especially at night.
- Take comfortable socks. Your feet will thank you after a long day.
- Invest in a comfortable pair of shoes or trainers, preferably waterproof ones.
- When travelling, wear comfortable clothing for long journeys. Opt for comfort over style.
- Pack a woolly hat and scarf. Climates change quickly, and overnight travel can be cold.
- Pack a light Gore-Tex lightweight waterproof jacket.
- Take a small handbag or foldaway backpack.
- Take two or three plastic foldable hangers.
- Carry a small lock, useful to secure your belongings.
- Carry a sturdy padlock, useful for a multitude of purposes.
- Always pack a light snack or protein bar. May people carry a pack of instant noodles.
- Take wet wipes. Useful for a variety of purposes.
- Pack some hand gel. Travelling is a breeding ground for germs.
- Take an extra bank card and credit card. Preferably ones with zero transaction and foreign fees.
- Keep some emergency money separate from your main wallet.
- Carry two or three different currencies. Dollars, pounds and euros are the most widely accepted.
- Always carry coins and small denominations of notes.
- Never exchange money at the airport. Change it at your destination for a better rate.
- Take a cheap secondary phone as a backup. Technology often fails when you need it most.
- Invest in a long USB lead, preferably a 10ft one – this really helps.
- Invest in a decent travel adaptor with multiple charging ports.
- Carry a power bank; not everywhere has working USB available.
- Invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones – this really helps.
At the airport
- Before arriving, remove any belts, jewellery and empty your pockets as it helps clear security faster.
- Arrive and check-in at the airport early, particularly when flying back home. Airports abroad have different rules.
- Join an airport lounge access programme. Add comfort to your journey.
- Buy fast track airport access and priority boarding. It is much less stressful.
- Carry paper copies of your boarding pass. Mobile boarding may not work or not be available in some locations.
On the plane
- After boarding early, get to your seat quickly – this is the best way to travel in comfort.
- Choosing an aisle seat is best, especially on night flights.
- Keep essentials in one place – charger, headphones/earphones, water.
- Layer up, particularly for night flights when cabin pressure drops, as it can get cold.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fresh water and not water from the aircraft.
- Use hand cream, lip balm, and hydration gel as your skin will dry out.
- Use a pillow, jumper or coat for comfort. Waking up with a stiff neck is not much fun.
Other tips to travel in comfort
- Use hotel, hostel, and Air BnB owners for that vital local information. They know best.
- Learn a few basic phrases, at least hello and thank you. This goes a long way in some places.
- Library\ies and museums are often a good bet if you need a clean and quiet bathroom.
- Avoid taxis unless necessary and ALWAYS use a licensed one from a reputable company.
- Follow your instinct and be wary of things that are too good to be true.
- Do not over plan your trip. Allow some flexibility and contingency.
- If you are a solo traveller, try to stay with a group, particularly after dark.
- Do not venture off the beaten track unless you are with someone and confident of your whereabouts.
And to finish how to travel comfortably
- Always be polite, friendly, and respectful of local traditions. Stay calm in a crisis.
- Be patient. The best way to travel in comfort is to relax and have fun.
Lonely Planet video of places to visit for first-time solo travellers.
Read our post on the best 10 tips for solo travel.