Are you the kind of traveller who books something last minute, grabs your swimwear and jumps on a plane, or are you more the kind of person who plans for months ahead and has a packing spreadsheet? Whichever you are, things like airport delays and oversold hotels can upset both the best laid plans and the worst laid ones, so read our tips for avoiding stressful holiday situations to help things run smoothly – and preserve your sanity.
Airport security can be quite stressfull for the most innocent amongst us. Regulations have been getting stricter and it’s our advice to arrive prepared for security as well as a comfortable journey. Wear shoes that are easy to slip off with no metal in them (metal can be in the forms of buckles or even supporting stiletto heels), no belt or one without a metal buckle, and do you need to haul your makeup in your hand luggage? Go without, wherever possible, because if you forget to locate a clear plastic bag to put it all in before you arrive, some airports will charge you a pound and most of us just don’t carry a pound around with us any more. If you can’t cough up your quid, they may throw your makeup away – cue considerable stress. And remember that if a nice security guard lets you get away with it once, there’s no guarantee it will happen again next time.
Your flight is delayed
You’ve got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, you’ve managed to sail through security – and now you’re waiting. And waiting. You check your flight – it’s delayed by 30 minutes. Oh no, now it’s delayed by an hour. You’ve made taxi arrangements at the other side, and you don’t want the driver to be hanging around the airport for ages, charging you more than you agreed. Don’t worry, most taxi companies keep an eye on flight delays and won’t send out a driver before the flight lands. If a friend is meeting you, tell them to check online for delays too. If the delay is a long one, you may be eligible for compensation. Getting your money back and a possible free flight will do wonders to restore your happiness!
You miss your flight
First of all, we recommend carrying reliable tech on you to make it easy to check your travel details on the way to the airport and keep appraised of any changes, for example road works or delayed trains. If you think you’ll be late, call the airport straight away. If you keep them informed, they may well take pity on you. Secondly, do everything possible to speed through the airport – check in online, get ready for security as above. Often if you’ve done everything you can to make it on time, the airline will be sympathetic and get you on the next flight, so don’t panic.
Your hotel is oversold
If you think that your hotel is all sorted and you find that you get there and here’s no room at the inn, what do you do? You need to speak up. Don’t just be all British and apologise while shuffling off to try your luck elsewhere. Ask them if they have another, more expensive kind of room or suite available. You can insist (politely) that they find you alternative accommodation nearby – and that they pay the transport there. Let your booking company know too, because they’ll either be able to mediate on your behalf if you’re having trouble, or issue you a refund or voucher for the trouble caused.
Above all, our top tip is whatever the situation, keep your calm. And your charm. Being polite and friendly when things go wrong really helps to ease a stressful situation. Be firm about what you want and speak up for yourself, sure, but do it with a smile on your face and a big “Thank you” when things are sorted out.