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So it’s booked. Whether it’s an escape to the sun or a week on the slopes, the luxurious winter holiday that seems to have been months in the planning, is almost upon you. Do you hear the hallelujah chorus yet? So what last minute things do you need to consider to ensure that the holiday meets every expectation and gets off to a cracking start? If you’re like me, you want to make sure every loose end is tied up before you leave for the holidays so that the second you step outside your door you can let your mind be free.
Your luxurious holiday begins the minute you leave the house. So, whether you are driving, being chauffeured or taking a train/bus/taxi, you will need to ensure that everything is organized. And since I travel often, I thought I would share my tips with you for what I do to prepare before I leave.
Packing Ahead of Time
I won’t go into all the gory details of what you should pack but I will name a few things that I find to be my luxe travel essentials–especially during the holiday season when a trip to the airport can mean full out war!
My travel favorites are: Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones, Hand-Sanitizing Wipes, iPad/Laptop, Sleepmask, Scarf, a stash of my favorite tea, a medicine stash of tummy and pain relievers, and a folder to keep all my travel documents safe and in one place. These things always save me whether I’m stuck next to a screaming child or delayed in an airport for a few extra hours. I always make sure to download a few of my favorite TV Shows just in case of massive delays. I find that distraction keeps me in a most zen place–and away from trouble!
Preparing for Take-Off
If you are going down the public transport route–trains buses, etc., then make sure your ticket is booked in advance. Don’t assume that typically uncrowded transport will be that way during the holidays. If you’re in a different city or country, be sure you’ve spoken with locals about typical travel behavior. Do you need to arrive an hour in advance? Or three? Are the airports especially busy at certain times? Do your research and don’t assume that every city is like the one you’re from.
Don’t forget about the holiday season! Be sure that you arrive at the platform or bus stop leaving yourself ample time to deal with holiday crowds. If you’re leaving for the airport be sure that you leave a little extra time for holiday traffic! And you’ve checked that this part of the journey will get you to the airport on time for your flight.
Chauffeur-driven car services will take away a lot of the hassle associated with getting to your holiday destination, but these can be pricey. As a New Yorker, I personally always book a car through Dial 7. For a few bucks more (depending on which airport or train station you’re headed to) you can have peace of mind. I hate when I try to find a taxi and fear that I’m going to miss my flight!
Although I live in the city and don’t own a car, for most people, park and ride is the easiest and most popular solution. It means you can load your car at your front door, you’re in control of your journey and you know there will be a vehicle waiting for you on your return.
But what I remember from being a tot and driving to the airport is that airport car parking can be hit or miss. Space is often an issue–especially around the holidays, so you can arrive with plenty of time to spare and then spend the next 20 minutes circling to find a space. You can guarantee the airport car parking slots nearest the terminal or nearest the park and ride stop will be taken, so wherever you park, you will then be trailing your luggage behind you. Take the guesswork out by finding a reputable airport car parking operator, such as Thomas Cook Travel Extras Airport Parking. This sort of airport car parking service will offer valet parking, where someone will drive your car to a safe garage until your return. Other options include guaranteed parking spaces or off-site parking in areas of low traffic usage. All cost money, but all offer a more convenient airport car parking service.
If you’re in Great Britain, look for an airport parking service that holds the British Parking Association Safer Parking Scheme accreditation. This will mean that the company has stringent operating standards and can be trusted to look after your vehicle.
Kicking the Trip Off to a Good Start
Your holiday should begin the moment you open your front door, and it certainly shouldn’t falter on the journey to the airport or while you are trying to park the car. All too often you see families arriving at the airport flustered, arguing and stressed. No matter what the cause, whether it’s due to a taxi turning up late, traffic queues on the way to the airport, train delays on the rail-airport link, no available spaces in the mid-term car park or because you forgot your son’s bathing suit–or your son.
Don’t let a bad experience get your holiday off to a bad start. Plan in advance for everything that you can but remember that things will inevitably go wrong. And when they do, the next part is up to you! Moving on is key to enjoy your vacation. You’ve spent all this money to spend time with the people that you love so do yourself a favor and GET OVER IT! Now it’s time to relax. Take a hot shower, go for a run–whatever does it for you! But get your head in the right place and make the choice to relax and have fun!
Thanks to Thomas Cook who allows us to continue to keep bringing you the best in Luxury Travel! All opinions herein are my own! As always–you can’t buy the love here!