Our best travel tips

Stay healthy and happy with these fabulous travel tips

Packing tips

  • Hand luggage too heavy? Photocopy the pages of your travel guide that you need and leave the book at home.
  • Ask staff to pop a ‘fragile’ label on your hold luggage to keep it safe, and tie a colourful ribbon around the handle to help you recognise it at the other end.
  • The golden rule of travelling, according to National Geographic: take half of the clothes you were planning to bring and double the money
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them to save space and avoid creases.
  • Stuff socks into any shoes you pack – you’ll save space and stop the shoes from losing their shape.
  • Label your plain toiletry bottles to avoid accidentally moisturising your hair!
  • If you can’t afford to lose something (emotionally or financially) don’t pack it.

Keep it safe

  • If you’re going somewhere crowded where pick-pocketing is rife, consider taking a ‘throw-away’ wallet, with just a small amount of money in it. That way if needed you can hand it over without hesitation, knowing your credit cards and more money are in an inside pocket.
  • Keep a scan or photocopy of your passport ID page in your wallet – it will help identify you if you lose your passport. For extra security, leave a copy at home with someone you trust who can scan/email it to you in an emergency.

Bag a cheap flight

  • If you’ve been comparing flights online, try clearing your search history and cache before you come to book, as many flight companies will put up their prices if they see you repeatedly searching for the same journey.
  • Book hotels and flights at ‘magic hour’ when they are usually cheapest. This is six weeks before you go, on a Tuesday after 3pm!
  • Don’t mind an early start? Flights at 6am are usually cheaper than more sociable hours. Similarly, flying on unpopular days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday) can save you pounds and you might even get more leg room.
  • If your flights or package holiday costs more than £100, paying by credit card will offer extra protection if the airline or travel company goes bust. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means the card company is equally liable if something goes wrong on purchases more than £100.
  • Check in online – keep an eye on your emails in the days before a flight – to save potential charges (as well as time) for checking into your flight in person.
  • Planning to leave your car at the airport? It’s always cheaper to book parking spaces beforehand rather than turning up on the day.

How to stay healthy on holiday

  • If you’re staying somewhere where water isn’t safe to drink, make sure to keep your mouth closed when you shower.
  • Take the packaging of any medication you need to take with you, in case you need to get more while you’re away.
  • Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to (and any that you’re travelling through) – some over-the-counter and prescription drugs available in the UK may be controlled in other countries. Places such as India and Turkey have strict rules on this so check with the embassy of the country you’re visiting before you travel. Find embassy contact details at www.gov.uk
  • Pack disinfectant wipes for the tray table on the plane – they aren’t the most hygienic surfaces to eat from.
  • Check if you need any vaccinations at least six weeks before travelling. Ask your GP or visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
  • If you have a fear of flying but can’t avoid it for a trip, try to reserve a seat with extra legroom in the centre of the plane where there will be slightly less turbulence. Also notify a member of the cabin crew about your anxieties – they should be able to reassure you.
  • Alternatively, if you have motion sickness, a seat over the wing will help.
  • Long flight? Avoid sorefeet and back by packing a tennis ball. It sounds eccentric, but you can roll it under aching feet or along a tense back to work out any niggles.
  • Combat jetlag by setting your watch to the time at your destination as soon as you board your flight, then eating and sleeping according to appropriate times to help you adjust.

Save money on accomodation

  • If you’re spending your summer hols in the capital, consider renting a university room. They’re empty out of term time and can cost as little as £45 per person, per night including breakfast – very cheap for central London. Visit www.universityrooms.com
  • Hotel prices on a website are unlikely to be the cheapest available – always email or call the hotel to see if there’s any wiggle-room. The worst that can happen is they’ll say no, but you won’t end up worse off

Save money on holiday

  • If you’ve forgotten something, check with the hotel before going to the shops. From toothbrushes to combs, you might be surprised at what they can offer you for free.
  • Visit the tourist information office (if there is one) as soon as possible to find out whether there are passes available for multiple local attractions, as well as whether there are any free events or walking tours you might enjoy.
  • Turn off data roaming on your mobile phone so you don’t get a surprise bill when you get home. If you can’t manage without your mobile, speak to your phone provider before you go to find out what deals are available.
  • If you’re asked whether you’d rather pay in euros or pounds sterling when using your credit card in Europe, opt for euros. When a retailer does the currency conversion the exchange rate is usually less favourable.
  • For more travel inspiration, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine