From choosing the right case for your trip, to entertainment for long journeys and genius tips that will change the way you pack forever, don’t leave home before reading my top tips for stress free travel.
There’s no denying it, travelling can be stressful. It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning a big adventure half way across the world, or a weekend break close to home, there’s a lot to think about.
It’s easy to let the worries surrounding packing and logistics get the better of you, BUT… holidays are supposed to be fun; if you start off at anxiety level 100, you won’t feel the full benefit of being away!
I’ve teamed up with Premier Inn to bring you my top 10 tips for stress free travel, so that you can have a relaxing, enjoyable holiday this summer. Recently, I checked into Premier Inn King’s Cross for a quick one night stay; from exploring the local neighbourhood to putting my travel tips into action, I had such a great time.
Watch the video, then take a look below for some genius hacks which could revolutionise the way you travel!
1. Book a hotel for a relaxing start to your trip
According to Premier Inn’s research, 52% of people find travelling to the airport stressful. If I have an awkward journey or an early start, I’ll book a hotel the night before so that I can start my trip in a more relaxed fashion. Premier Inn has over 800 hotels, so there’s always one close to where you need to be – especially for UK airports or international trains. Plus, if you’re a parent, it’s super handy as kids eat breakfast for free!
2. Leave yourself plenty of time
This is YOUR holiday, so to get the maximum benefits, start early and enjoy the packing process. According to Premier Inn’s research, 33% of people leave packing to two days before a trip. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, so long as mentally you’re preparing a little further in advance.
This is how I usually do things…
One week before: Wash clothes and purchase any new items for the trip. Also make sure you have valid travel insurance.
Three days before: Purchase any toiletries for the trip and check all logistics are sorted. Save essential documents to phone, mark important addresses on map, and top up a currency card if necessary.
Two days before: Make a packing list and start moving items to one place, ready for packing.
One day before: Pack, check packing list and put my feet up!
On the day: Turn off plugs, water plants, lock up and leave with plenty of time.
One of my cheeky tips is to write a post it note and leave it on the inside of the front door with a reminder to check things like leaving my hair straighteners on, watering the plants and then of course your PASSPORT! It’s the last thing I look at before I leave and it’s great as that last reminder before you venture off on your trip.
3. Choose the best suitcase for your style of travel
Some people love backpacks, others love suitcases. Find what works best for you and what will fit with the style of travel you’ll be doing. I’ve tried and tested numerous cases over the years, and while backpacks are fab for trips when you’re on the move a lot, I now prefer to take a suitcase on both short and long breaks. I find wheeling a case less tiring than lugging one on my back. Some of my friends are the opposite though, and if you’re travelling by car, a few small bags might be easier to squeeze in than a big case.
There are so many different types available, but The Travel Hack suitcase is a particular favourite of mine. It’s packed full of nifty design features that make travelling easier, from pockets for passports and sleeves for laptops, to different compartments so you can separate your clothes inside the case. It’s a great all-rounder!
4. Improve your packing techniques
Are you a folder or a roller… or a plain and simple shover-inner?! Does the way you pack ‘spark joy’ ala Marie Kondo?! Let’s face it, there are plenty of different ways to pack a case, but the best way will depends on a) the items you’re packing and b) the case.
Rolling is fab for keeping items crease free, but isn’t so good when it comes to items like shirts or suits. I tend to do a mix, and if I’m short on space, I’ll be savvy and tuck items inside my shoes. Oh and while we’re talking about shoes, if you’re worrying about the soles getting other items in your case a bit grubby, place shower caps or plastic bags on the bottom. Works a treat!
If you need to take anything bulky on your trip, like a big ski jacket, sunhat or chunky shoes… the best thing to do? WEAR THEM! That way they aren’t taking up space or unnecessary weight in your case.
5. Organise the way your pack with packing cubes
So I’ve mentioned that when it comes to packing, everyone has their own way of doing things. The big game changer for me has been the discovery of packing cubes!
So, what are packing cubes? They’re bags of different sizes that can stack on top of each other, leading to an efficient and organised way to pack a case. I’d recommend dividing your luggage into categories and then packing into packing cubes; one for underwear, another for tops, another for bottoms and one for shoes or sandals. They allow you to locate items quickly and easily, without disrupting your neat packing.
6. Don’t forget your gadgets
Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets! Oh how travel has changed – I can’t travel without them! On most trips I pack my laptop, phone, camera, portable battery pack and an electric toothbrush. On some adventures I’ll also have a drone, kindle, 360 camera and more. Many of them have special chargers, cables and adapters so it’s important to check you’ve remembered everything.
When I’m travelling I tend to pack a travel adapter like this one which has multiple USB and USB-C slots, along with international pins which will work wherever I am in the world. It’s super compact too, so perfect when you’re short on space.
7. Create a capsule wardrobe
Whether you’re enjoying a staycation, or travelling further afield, the key to packing light is mastering a capsule wardrobe. According to Premier Inn’s research, 31% of people wear half of what they pack! So, imagine if you could mix and match every item in your case and create multiple outfits from just a few items. That’s the aim with a capsule wardrobe.
I love wearing blues and greens with neutrals colours like black and white. With my capsule wardrobe I can wear a green top with black jeans, a plain white tee with blue shorts or even a green dress with a black cardi. It works well and has definitely helped me streamline my packing!
Regardless of where you’re going, check the weather in advance! With UK travel in the summer it’s not uncommon to need both a sunhat and an umbrella for a week away.
Here are a few of my travel outfits – see how they’re all in similar colours?
8. Stay entertained on your journey
While we all love holidays, sometimes the travel part can be long and arduous. I often wish I could click my fingers and BE THERE! So how can you speed up the time spent in cars, trains and planes? With plenty of distractions!
My Spotify subscription is one of my vital lifelines on journeys. I’ve got lots of playlists downloaded on my phone, and can select something guaranteed to match (or boost) my mood. If I’m travelling abroad, another thing I love is to listen to the top 100 chart for the destination I’ll be visiting. It’s a great way to soak up the vibe before you land!
I also love games that I can play offline. There are some amazing ones based on ‘escape games’ made by Syntaxity. You can get lost in a different world for hours, piecing together clues and solving puzzles. I also love 2048 – a numbers game that’s totally addictive.
I’d also recommend downloading a few things to watch on your journey, especially if you have kids. A few episodes of Peppa Pig on a tablet might allow you some extra peace and quiet while you plan the journey.
Finally, break up your journey and book a hotel the night before; this is particularly useful if you’re travelling a long way or flying long-haul. Premier Inn has more airport rooms than any other hotel company and serves all the major UK airports, so no doubt you’ll be able to find the right room for you.
9. Pack your toiletries like a pro
Forget taking your giant bottles of shampoo and conditioner on your trip. I’d recommend investing in a small refillable set like this one. You can fill each container up with small amounts of each item, from conditioner and face cream to shower gel and hair wax. They’re also great for flights if you’re only travelling with hand luggage, as each is under 100ml.
Another great tip is to buy a toiletry bag with a built in hanger. Pop it over the back of the bathroom door and all your toiletries will be within easy reach.
One of the biggest things though – don’t panic if you forget something! Nine times out of ten you’ll be able to buy the item at your destination.
10. Be flexible
I think this is often the hardest one, but it’s all about your mindset. We travel to experience new things, and to take a break from our day-to-day routines. While there will be plenty of highlights, you can’t expect everything to go right all of the time. Maybe there will be a bit of traffic or you’ll feel a bit poorly at some point.
Try to relax and enjoy as much of it as you can, and don’t pressure yourself into feeling like you’re having the ‘best time ever’ when things aren’t quite going your way! It’s natural to have ups and downs along the way.
I think it’s those little moments that make the highs even higher, and make travelling even more rewarding!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my tips for stress-free travel! Along with the video at the top of this post, this content was produced in collaboration with Premier Inn. With over 800 hotels, you’re bound to find one close to where you need to be, whether that’s a relaxing UK staycation, or a convenient evening stay before an early flight or Eurostar. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!
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