Travelling 101: Tips & Tricks To Get Your Holiday Off To The Best Start

Hi loves! Holiday season is fast approaching, and I know lots of people that are going on holiday soon! Matt and I leave TOMORROW, and we’ve been talking a lot over the past few weeks about the preparation and planning to make sure we’re feeling organised. This is definitely more my input than Matt’s – I hate not having a plan together, and I try to do anything that will make our lives easier. Planning trips is one of my most favourite things to do from the second we book our flights, and I feel like there’s a ton of things that you should do in the build up/during your travels to make things run a little more smoothly. This post is packed with handy tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the years, I hope you find them useful for your next holiday!

So, your travel insurance is all arranged, your countdown is fast approaching 0 and all you can talk about is your upcoming holiday. What should you be doing in the build up to, or during, travelling?!

Use a backpack for your carry on. Seriously, no matter how cute your new beach bag might look, you’re going to wish you took a backpack, especially if you’re an over packer like me. Matt and I both take backpacks, and they’re so easy. Backpacks can fit so many things (Mary Poppins who?!), there’s lots of compartments to organise your things, the weight is distributed evenly on your back so it’s easier to carry and you get to keep it under the seat in front of you, which is way easier than putting it in the overhead bins. Have I sold you on taking a backpack? Yes? Good. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Pack a crossbody bag inside your carry on with all of your essentials. It just makes sense; this is where you can keep all the things you’ll want to have to hand before, during or after your flight. I always keep Matt and I’s passports and my card holder in here! I use my crossbody bag throughout the holiday during the evenings, and it’s just big enough to fit what I actually need. I always need to make sure there’s a little room in there for my boyfriend’s sunglasses, wallet, and whatever else he decides to throw in, lol! There will be a post up all about my carry on essentials this coming Wednesday, but until then, you can check out what I took last year here.

Check in for your flight online. It saves waiting in so many lines at the airport, you can allocate your own seats and you feel a little bit smug just having to drop off your checked luggage! Matt and I checked in two weeks before the date of our flight and it made us even more excited, it actually made it feel real then. When it comes to booking our seats, we always try to allocate them on/around the wing because you don’t feel any turbulence as much here!

Always take cash in all of the currencies of the countries you’re travelling from/through/to, as well as your debit card. In the airport in England we’ll just use our debit cards, but we’ll make sure to have cash just in case too. If you’re planning on purchasing things on the plane you’ll need the currency of the country you’re going from/to, but sometimes you can be caught out on exchange rates making things a little more costly. Also be sure to keep your cash for your destination safely zipped away deep inside your carry on!

Print out all of your information so you have hard copies: boarding passes, hotel information, transfer details, travel insurance documents. I’m a planner, what can I say? Even though we have all of this information on our phones, I’m a little paranoid we might run out of battery (even though I’m obviously taking a battery pack) or our phones may not connect to the new service provider properly. Having hard copies is just good practice, I think!

Download the app for your airline, the airports you’re travelling from/through/to and your holiday provider. You can get flight information, including which terminal/gate you’re flying from sometimes before it’s announced in the airport. We use the countdown on our TUI app from the moment we book our holiday – we’ve been counting down for over 130 days and now we’re literally one day away today. What the heck! You can get all of your transfer and hotel information in your holiday providers app, as well as weather, transport and excursions details.

Take a fully charged external battery pack and the appropriate charging cables. Matt and I will each have our phones, Fitbit’s and toothbrushes to charge, and we’re also taking one of our Echo Dot’s so we can play music when we’re getting ready in the evenings. The likelihood of sitting in an airport next to an outlet is very low, and not all planes are equipped with USB ports, although come on people, it’s 2019! I always carry a battery pack, it charges our phones like five times! I know Matt will use this before me as I always have my low power mode on and the battery on my phone just seems to last longer!

Weigh your bag before you leave to avoid delays or extra charges when you arrive at the airport. During family holidays when I was younger, we’d fly to Florida with three suitcases, and return with eight. Seriously. The deals were just that good! Now, Matt and I take a suitcase each, but there’s wiggle room between the two of us if one of our bags were overweight. It’s pretty easy to stay underweight when you’re travelling to a tropical location as your clothes weigh less, but sometimes toiletries really increase the weight. You can buy luggage scales for super cheap on Amazon, and they’re reliable! Just make sure to pack them so you can check all your new souvenirs aren’t weighing you down before your return flight too.

Carry a re-usable water bottle – just don’t fill it up until you’re through security! My Chilly’s bottle is LIFE. I’ll be using this during our holiday too, and we’re for sure going to be grateful for it during our super long transfer from the airport to our hotel so we don’t need to buy bottles of water. Last year when we got to Kos, we made it to the bus in record time (our suitcases were literally the first two off the conveyor belt) and were so smug waiting for everyone to board. However, we didn’t think about the fact it was still 27 degrees at 11pm(!!) and we had to wait over an hour to get water! NOT smart(water). Get it? I’m here all night.

Wear (or pack in your carry on) a comfy sweater or jacket. And fluffy socks, if you’re like me and are always freezing. Seriously, planes are SO COLD and no matter what lovely warm climate you might be heading to, you’ll wish you had at least a jacket with you for your journey. In Europe, it often feels a little cooler in the evenings (even when it’s technically still 25+ degrees, lol) and there is also air con in most restaurants and bars, so it’ll come in super handy during your trip too!

Take lots of reading material in your carry on bag. Keeping yourself entertained on a flight is SO important. Matt and I talk so much, but we also like to unwind with our book or magazines and just switch off. We’re in vacay mode the second we set foot in the airport, and it’s the best feeling to get lost in a new book!

Allow enough time to browse duty free leisurely. If you take shopping as seriously as me (lol) you don’t want to be rushing when there could be amazing deals to be found! Ever since I was younger I’ve loved browsing duty free, and since I was around 11 my mum and dad made a big deal of me being allowed a fancy perfume each time we travelled. They’re so good to me! My love of buying perfume at the airport never stopped, and I still do almost every time. This year I’m hoping to pick up a bottle of Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet! Matt is also hoping to get a new aftershave, I love that we’re now making our own traditions together.

Pack your liquids in a see-through bag. You will seriously regret not following the rules if you have to step to the side and try to squeeze your liquids into a teeny little airport-provided bag. That you have to pay for. You’ll also be super embarrassed, or I would be anyway! You can pick up clear, travel approved bags almost anywhere nowadays for really inexpensive prices, although I have this one from Space NK that I love. I’ll also be sharing what I pack in here in Wednesday’s post!

Take the essentials to keep you feeling (and smelling) clean/fresh in case of a delay, or a super stuffy airport/airplane. Planes might always be cold, but they can be pretty stuffy too! Deodorant, bio-degradable wipes, lip balm, your favourite rollerball perfume, a face spray. These are the things that if you don’t take, you’ll wish you did! It’s better to be safe than sorry, and the travel sized versions of these products are so small you won’t even notice the space they take up!

Buy food in the airport for the plane, and to cover you for your transfer at your destination. I’m not a big fan of airplane food, and to be honest I don’t think many people are! I’d much prefer to grab something I like from before we jump on the plane, and any delays getting to your hotel could leave you hangry. Matt and I always pack sweets and protein bars , and we’ll grab our favourite crisps, maybe a sandwich and plenty of water in the airport. And of course, Diet Coke!

Pack travel adaptors in your carry on. You don’t want to be rummaging around your suitcase for adaptors when you get to your hotel, especially after a long travelling day. Also, we take an extension cord with us (in our checked luggage) which means you can charge up to six items with only one adaptor!

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to take off/put back on at security. It’s just common sense; it makes the lines move quicker, and it gives you more shopping/drinking time in the airport, which is the best part of being there! I’m wearing my Birkenstocks to travel in because they’re just so flipping comfy, and not at all a hassle to slide off through security. My travel outfit is still being decided, but I’m pretty sure I’m going for a Levi’s t-shirt, black leggings and an oversized denim jacket I can throw on if when I get a little chilly!

Take at least one outfit, swimwear and fresh underwear in your carry on bag incase your luggage gets lost or delayed. Okay, this is maybe just for the worriers and anxious travellers like me, but I would much rather have the peace of mind knowing I’d be able to get through a day or two without my suitcase, if it were to get lost. I’m so scared of this happening!

Carry ibuprofen, paracetemol, travel sickness tablets and any other important medication in an easy-to-find spot. These are the kind of things I used to throw into my bag then have to empty the whole contents to find what I’m looking for. Matt and I sometimes suffer with a little travel sickness and I’m prone to aches and pains caused by my arthritis – there’s so much sitting around during travel days! I always keep these in the outside facing pocket of my backpack, so they’re super easy to reach.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was somewhat helpful to you, and maybe gave you a few ideas of things you wouldn’t normally think about. What are your best tried and tested ideas to ensure a smooth journey? Are you a super strict planner like me, or do you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ like Matt?! Get it? Fly?

-G x

Fragrance Favourites

Happy, happy Sunday my loves! Something you may not know about me is that I really freaking love perfume. It’s one of my favourite things to buy, give or (very generously) receive and as much as I love to try new ones, I definitely have my favourites. It’s kinda weird, even when my hair and makeup is done and I’m fully dressed, I don’t feel ready for the day until I’ve spritzed a little perfume! Since I was around 9 years old and got my first bottle of Tommy Girl, I became obsessed with perfume and sprayed it like my life depended on it. I smelled great, obviously! HA. Over the years my tastes have thankfully matured, and I’ve got my favourites that I always have on rotation, and couldn’t imagine not having in my collection. I do switch out perfumes sometimes depending on the season, but all of the perfumes in this post are ones I reach for no matter what the weather is.

Just a slight disclaimer: perfume is an area of beauty where I’ve not yet explored many cruelty free options. I am trying new perfumes, but these are my tried and tested, truly loved perfumes and right now I will continue to buy them. This may change in the future. Also, let’s be real: I know nothing about the ins and outs of perfumes. I have no idea what notes are in there (other than anything obvious from the name of the perfume), I just know what smells good to me and why, so that’s what I’m telling you in this post!

Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede
Although all of the perfumes in this post are my favourites, Peony & Blush Suede is my numero uno. This perfume was the first Jo Malone product I ever owed, but this is not the same bottle of course! I got my first as a gift from my mum and dad for my 18th birthday and it started my love of all things Jo Malone. Since then, I’ve re-purchased this perfume so many times and had it bought as a gift from loved ones many times too. Matt has bought me a bottle for every birthday and Christmas we’ve spent together so far (he’s the absolute cutest, he got me the candle last Christmas too which I love and am scared to burn because it’s so beautiful, haha). This perfume reminds me of Matt, almost as much as his most-worn aftershaves remind me of him! Peony & Blush Suede has such sentimental value to me, it takes me right back to our first date almost two years ago, through all the special occasions we’ve since celebrated together. It also reminds me of Kos as I wore it almost every evening on our first holiday together, I’m definitely packing it to take to Croatia this month! I used to wear this almost every day, but I’m trying hard to keep it for fun weekends, date nights and special occasions.

MAC Turquatic
This is a perfume I’ve worn and loved since I was around 15 years old, and I always have my rollerball in my bag, no matter where I’m going or which bag I’m taking! It’s especially perfect for my small Kate Spade crossbody bag as it’s so teeny and takes up pretty much no space. I’ve worn this since I was around sixteen years old, and it’s a very comforting perfume! It’s such a unique fresh and captivating scent and to this day it’s like nothing I’ve ever smelt before. I’m so happy it’s been a staple in MAC’s products for such a long time, if it was ever discontinued I’d be genuinely so upset! Turquatic is a gorgeous scent for Spring/Summer especially, and a holiday staple for me – it reminds me of Florida so much and the smell that just makes me happy. I really think it’s incredibly underrated (or even unknown) as it’s the ultimate beautiful beachy fragrance!

Lancome La Vie Est Belle
If you’re ever wondering what I smell like on a typical day, this is it! La Vie Est Belle is another perfume I’ve worn and loved for years, and it’s one of those scents that just makes me feel like me. It’s sweet and floral, which is what I’m most attracted to in a perfume, and I think it’s just the most lovely smell! This is a perfume I fell in love with years ago, and I reach for it almost every day. Matt’s mum always comments on it when I wear it, even now, and she always says she can smell it through the whole house when I wear it. It’s another scent that makes my heart happy and I would 100% recommend to anyone looking for a new fun and flirty scent for Summer!

Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet
This perfume is another I tend to keep in my bag (I like to have options), and I reach for it so often. I think it works perfectly to freshen up my La Vie Est Belle during a long day! It’s sweet and floral, as the name suggests, but not in the typical sense that makes you think of a sweet old lady. It’s such a beautiful scent; it’s especially perfect for the Spring and Summer months, and I love this travel size bottle! I bought this perfume for the first time when Matt and I were on our way to an NUFC game early last year, after lusting after it for months. That same day we stayed at Ramside Hall as a surprise for Matt working so dang hard at his job, and I still remember using it for the first time that night! I really love that scents connect you to memories and feelings instantly. I’ve never actually had a full sized bottle of this perfume, and I’m hoping to pick one up in the airport when we go on holiday at the end of the month!

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt
Another beautiful Jo Malone scent – I love so many, it was hard to narrow it down for this post! – and another beachy scent that works throughout all the seasons, despite having ‘sea salt’ in the name. I have a very deep love for the beach, and anything that smells a little like the beach or makes me think of it is a winner in my book. I love this for when I feel like I need a little confidence that day – if I have a meeting or I’m feeling anxious it works a treat. It’s kinda become my #adulting perfume, lol! This is very fresh and much different than my typical perfumes, it’s just very unique. Like most perfumes, this smells so different on different people; on my mum it smells much deeper and almost musky, whereas on me it smells much more fresh and light. I have no idea how this works, but it does!

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid
This is my go-to evening ‘out out’ scent, and it makes me feel a little bit bad ass. But also super fancy because, Tom Ford. Y’know? My brother bought this for me last Christmas (how stinking adorable! He totally surprised me and Matt on Christmas morning with amazing gifts, we had no idea!) and it is such an incredible scent. I love that it’s so powerful; I literally only use two or three sprays of this and it smells so strong – in a good way – and definitely lasts all night. It actually lasts to the point where when we wake up in the morning it’s almost ingrained into Matt and I’s skin! I’d love to try more Tom Ford perfumes in the future, I adore the smell of Neroli Portofino but that’s definitely one of those perfumes I spritz in the department store and put back. Very. Carefully. LOL, it’s so freaking expensive!

Thank you so much for reading! I love talking about perfume, I feel like I tapped my laptop keys so hard writing this because I was so excited, haha. Do you love your fragrances as much as I do? What are your favourites that you can always rely on? Is there anything other scents you think I should check out at the airport duty free later this month?

-Gx