Journey Planning
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Travel can sometimes feel like a necessary evil. Take the strain out of even the longest of journeys with tips on how to pack like a pro, pre-plan for customs, simplify your travel and start your trip on the right foot.

Stay Connected

Connect to either a website or a smartphone app (like FlightBoard) that gives real-time representation of the departure and arrival times of your airport. Many international airports now supply this information, giving you up-to-the-minute updates on your flight departure (or your colleague’s arrival), and even allow you to track a certain flight and receive updates on any status changes.

Access All Areas

If you are trying to do business in the bustle of the terminal, finding a quiet place to catch up on your email is practically impossible. But help is at hand for you to enjoy the VIP benefits of lounge access, without the cost of business class travel. Companies like Priority Pass and Lounge Pass offer the use of hundreds of lounges across the world, some with spa facilities and private en suite bedrooms.

Luggage

In the golden days, a hefty Louis Vuitton trunk said you had arrived. Today’s travellers want luggage that is light and ideally small enough to bypass check in, keeping stress levels at a minimum. Enter
the Samsonite Cosmolite. Weighing in at just over two kilograms, it is as robust as something twice its weight, with compact styling that ensures it will tick most airlines’ hand luggage requirements.

Check-In

Internet check-in for your flight, offered by most major airlines, gives the opportunity of printing your own boarding pass; missing the queues at the airport; choosing your seat and giving you additional time up your sleeve, should you encounter delays on the way there. Similarly, some airlines allow you to check in for your flight at a
connecting inner-city train station, before you take the link to the airport.

Noise Beaters

Invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and you will not regret it. They might be expensive, but you will find them to be a worthwhile investment.
Perfectly padded, simply put them on, plug them in and tune out crying children, aircraft noise or annoying neighbouring passengers. When used to listen to music or make the most of a movie, they far outclass the on-board handouts.

Make A List

If a pen and paper itinerary is too old school, download the TripIt app (www.tripit.com) which is a favourite with many frequent flyers. Send your confirmation emails to TripIt to build your personal itinerary. The app also allows you to share your plans with others and has useful notifications — like car hire discounts. And if you are eligible for a flight refund, you will be the first to know!

Packing Rules

Small cases and mad itineraries mean that on most trips you have to pack things in — in more ways than one. Creased clothes area major bugbear; if they are in a case for more than a few hours they are unlikely to arrive wrinkle-free. Specialists like Eagle Creek (www.eaglecreek.com) and Tom Bihn (www.tombihn.com) offer packing cubes to keep loose items in place, as well as helping to maximise the minimal space.

Tiny Travellers

Travelling with little ones can be stressful. Pensive parents make for nervous nippers and on-board entertainment can soon lose its appeal. To make the journey more interesting, shop before you travel
and buy a few inexpensive toys; wrap them individually and give them to your children at intervals throughout the flight. Just make sure there’s nothing small that can get lost down the side of the seat!

Comfort

If you are rushing off to a meeting straight from the airport, pack your workwear in your hand luggage and travel in something loose and comfortable. Whatever your destination, planes are invariably chilly, so a light sweater is a must. Eat before you
check in, and once on board get as much rest as possible. Freshen up and change your clothes just before you land, and you’ll arrive rested and ready for business.

Plug In

There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination with your devices but with the wrong plug/adaptor/charger. Always keep leads in a carry pouch and stock up on universal adapters, available
at most airports. If you are on the move, without a source of mains electricity, consider the iGo powerXtender (www.igo.com), which uses just two AA batteries to extend the battery charge of most devices.

Safe and Secure

Security is paramount. It may sound trite, but never joke in airports about having bombs in your luggage. Even quips will be taken as seriously as threats. If you are only taking carry-on luggage, most airlines still prohibit sharp items like scissors
and nail clippers, and you will be limited
to a certain volume of liquids. Don’t be tempted to take your favourite food and drinks on board as they will be confiscated.

And Finally...

Make sure you have the key to your case padlock; and do not lock house keys, or valuables in your check-in bag. Remember to always leave a business card inside anything you check in, for
safe return. Think about what you pack; a plastic-bagged portion of your favourite coffee creamer may seem innocent enough to you, but think what
it looks like to the customs officers.

Extract taken from Ascott Living 2012. All credit goes to Ascott Living. View the pdf version of this article at http://www.theascottlimited.com/downloads/pdf/AscottLiving/Highlight_2012_Q2/pg10TravelTrendsPlanning.pdf


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