Hol­i­day hacks for a stress-free sum­mer

From beat­ing jet lag to the one es­sen­tial item you should never leave home with­out, these travel tips will save your va­ca­tion


IT is sum­mer­time and the weather is … Well, let us just say it is al­ways a good time to travel. What­ever des­ti­na­tion you have in mind, hol­i­days are not al­ways stress-free which is why we spoke to Kelsey Johnson — an Emi­rates cabin crew blog­ger and travel afi­cionado who runs the hugely pop­u­lar @Lip­stick­AndLug­gage so­cial me­dia ac­counts — on her top travel tips to make your sum­mer va­ca­tion a whole lot more blissful.

Not ev­ery­one en­joys air travel... do you have a top tip for mak­ing fly­ing a lit­tle less stress­ful?

‡ 5es­earch the air­line you are fly­ing with. It is im­por­tant that you are aware of their prod­ucts and ser­vices to pre­vent any sur­prises in air. Crew of­ten get many re­quests for things like baby food, di­a­pers and ex­tra meals — these are of­ten items most air­lines do not of­fer or can­not guar­an­tee on board. If you want to be com­fort­able in the air, bring what you think you need for your­self, such as earplugs, blan­kets, snacks and mag­a­zines. Many passengers as­sume these things are pro­vided, which is not nec­es­sar­ily the case ev­ery­where.

‡ Check in ahead of the flight. 2ver­book­ing hap­pens and to be guar­an­teed a seat it is im­por­tant to check in on­line prior to go­ing to the air­port. This tends to open 24-48 hours prior to de­par­ture, depend­ing on the air­line, and some will even email you when it opens.

‡ En­sure your travel doc­u­ments are in or­der This in­cludes hav­ing the right travel visas and en­sur­ing your pass­port does not ex­pire within six months of your travel date. These rules vary by coun­try, but keep in mind the air­line is not al­ways held li­able if you are un­able to en­ter a coun­try after leav­ing the air­craft.

‡ Ar­rive early at the air­port. 1ot ev­ery air­line will hold your flight un­til you make it to the gate. It can take time to go through se­cu­rity and if you want to do some duty-free shop­ping, keep in mind that most air­lines re­quire you to be at the gate at least 45 min­utes prior to de­par­ture.

What is the most un­der­rated travel item that most of us for­get to pack?

‡ A uni­ver­sal charger 6ome­times I for­get which type of elec­tric­ity out­lets are used in the coun­tries I travel to, so a uni­ver­sal charger en­sures that I am able to charge all of my de­vices.

‡ %eing a flight at­ten­dant, my Tide To *o stain re­moval pen is also con­ve­nient. It is small and por­ta­ble, so if I spill any­thing on my uni­form or on a cus­tomer, I can eas­ily re­move the stain. 6ome­times I do not have time to give my laun­dry to dry clean­ing on a lay­over or I for­get to pack an ex­tra set. This item has me cov­ered in this sce­nario.

How do you man­age to find the hid­den gems in a new des­ti­na­tion? Does it in­volve ex­ten­sive re­search?

‡ To be hon­est, I do not do a lot of re­search be­fore I go to a des­ti­na­tion, but if I do, I will check out some of the des­ti­na­tion’s hash­tags on In­sta­gram to get an idea of where I could go, or the con­tent I could pro­duce for my so­cial me­dia chan­nels. I fol­low a lot of crewmem­bers on­line and they of­ten in­spire where I should go next.

‡ I also en­joy talk­ing to the lo­cals and the concierge at the ho­tels I stay at. They can of­fer the best ad­vice. For ex­am­ple, the concierge gave us a tip in Con­akry, *uinea, when the tour we had orig­i­nally wanted to book fell through be­cause of the weather. He took us to a quiet water­fall out­side the city that very few tourists knew about.

With so many op­tions for ho­tels and home ren­tals, how can we make sure we make the best de­ci­sion about where to stay?

‡ Word of mouth. Ask those around you for tips. 1o luck" 'o some re­search on­line and read re­views, blogs, travel mag­a­zines and watch <ouTube videos. 'o not rely com­pletely on deal-finder web­sites — firsthand ac­counts are of­ten more re­li­able than ad­ver­tise­ments. ‡ Crew use on­line travel fo­rums to ask each other about cer­tain des­ti­na­tions, deals and dis­counts. We also speak to crew di­rectly from the coun­try we are hop­ing to visit be­cause they have a bet­ter idea of pric­ing and where to go.

Jet lag al­ways seems to take us by sur­prise. What are your best tips for beat­ing it?

‡ Mon­i­tor your sleep. Know when you need to rest and when you need to stay up to keep your body on track. This usu­ally in­volves stay­ing awake un­til an early lo­cal bed­time on ar­rival to your des­ti­na­tion. There are also plenty of apps you can use that will help you to track your sleep­ing pat­terns and de­ter­mine the amount of rest you should be get­ting.

‡ 1at­u­ral sleep reme­dies also prove to be help­ful when you need to rest and are find­ing it dif­fi­cult. Crew tend to use her­bal teas and dif­fer­ent vitamin sup­ple­ments to help with this.

‡ 5est in a com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment. From my ex­pe­ri­ence, a cool dark room helps put me to sleep. 2ther crew tend to use eye­shades and ear plugs to min­i­mize dis­rup­tions. 6ome even med­i­tate and do yoga to put them in the right state of mind be­fore bed.

‡ If you travel a lot, it is im­por­tant to en­gage in a healthy ac­tive life­style. The food you con­sume and your fit­ness regime can heav­ily im­pact your day-to-day well­be­ing. Although I am not heav­ily into fit­ness, it is im­por­tant for flight at­ten­dants to stay hy­drated and con­sume plenty of elec­trolytes for en­ergy, stamina and re­cov­ery.

Kelsey Johnson re­veals the travel hacks used by ex­pe­ri­enced flight at­ten­dants. Pho­tos courtesy: @lip­stick­andlug­gage

It is high time for a hol­i­day and this cabin crew mem­ber will tell you ev­ery­thing you need to know.

Find out the one es­sen­tial you should al­ways pack in your suit­case.

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