[Impressive picture until you see the RYANAIR sign on the plane wing…]
Well hello there, remember me? I’m back and reasonably fresh off the plane from Mexico – my body clock is so confused right now I’m not sure whether or not to have a glass of wine or a coffee with dinner tonight. Probably (definitely) wine.
I’m writing a full round up of my frankly brilliant trip to Cancun in order to get back into the blogging swing, but meanwhile I wanted to write a few quick tips on travelling whilst the memories were fresh in my mind. Some of these will be specific to long haul travel, some will be more relevant for a shorter flight, and some will be specific to my experience with Cancun customs (hint, not good).
- If you’re flying long haul and you’ve got an aisle or middle seat, get a neck pillow. I’m totally aware that your airline will supply you with a pillow, however in my experience they are usually rubbish and totally useless if you have nothing to rest your head against as there’s inevitably an awkward gap which will result in some pretty uncomfortable sleeping positions.
- Bring your own headphones. This is a tech tip from my savvy boyfriend. He recommends bringing your own to use on the plane instead as airplane headphones are rubbish quality, cheap and uncomfortable as hell. A higher quality of sound also helps block out crying children (you sympathise with the parents for about ten minutes before wanting to jump out the plane to escape the noise).
- For short haul flights, don’t even bother with hold baggage. Get theeself to Primark, where for £20-ish you can buy a fairly robust bag on wheels which amazingly fits in most things that you’ll need for a long weekend city break. Also, packing tip – roll, don’t fold.
- For hold baggage for long haul flights, make your luggage easily identifiable. Coming off an eleven-hour flight I could have cried with frustration after seeing approximately eighty identical black suitcases circling baggage reclaim. Luckily my boyfriend identified ours for me, as the handle is broken. Oops. Next time, I’m buying the brightest suitcase possible and decorating it with a ribbon or something.
- Always, always, always check up on visa requirements for your destination. All information can be found on your destination’s local embassy website. I’ve thankfully never had any personal visa issues as I used to be a PA and am pathological about checking these things, but I have heard horror stories about colleagues getting stuck at an airport after a ten-hour flight and having to go straight back home again. Ouch.
- Don’t make immediate plans after a long haul flight. On our outbound flight, we landed at 3.30pm. I optimistically thought this meant we’d be sipping Piña Coladas poolside by 5pm. Nope. We spent an hour and a half just waiting to get through border control and a further 45 minutes waiting at baggage reclaim (damn identical bags). We didn’t get to the hotel until 7pm. Cancun airport is hectic to say the least and this isn’t typical worldwide, but if your plans allow I’d definitely give yourself enough time to get through the airport and don’t beat yourself up if your first evening goes like ours – we collapsed on our bed at 8pm, and were fast asleep by 8.30pm. Party animals.