Holiday hacks for a stress-free summer

Holiday hacks for a stress-free summer
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Get your travel tips from the experienced Kelsey Johnson.
Holiday hacks for a stress-free summer
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Kelsey Johnson reveals the travel hacks used by experienced flight attendants. Photos courtesy: @lipstickandluggage
Holiday hacks for a stress-free summer
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It is high time for a holiday and this cabin crew member will tell you everything you need to know.
Holiday hacks for a stress-free summer
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No stranger to adventure, Johnson is always prepared for whatever the trip throws at her.
Holiday hacks for a stress-free summer
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Find out the one essential you should always pack in your suitcase.
Updated 06 July 2017

Holiday hacks for a stress-free summer

Holiday hacks for a stress-free summer

It is summertime and the weather is … Well, let us just say it is always a good time to travel. Whatever destination you have in mind, holidays are not always stress-free which is why we spoke to Kelsey Johnson — an Emirates cabin crew blogger and travel aficionado who runs the hugely popular @LipstickAndLuggage social media accounts — on her top travel tips to make your summer vacation a whole lot more blissful.
Not everyone enjoys air travel... do you have a top tip for making flying a little less stressful?
• Research the airline you are flying with. It is important that you are aware of their products and services to prevent any surprises in air. Crew often get many requests for things like baby food, diapers and extra meals — these are often items most airlines do not offer or cannot guarantee on board. If you want to be comfortable in the air, bring what you think you need for yourself, such as earplugs, blankets, snacks and magazines. Many passengers assume these things are provided, which is not necessarily the case everywhere.
• Check in ahead of the flight. Overbooking happens and to be guaranteed a seat it is important to check in online prior to going to the airport. This tends to open 24-48 hours prior to departure, depending on the airline, and some will even email you when it opens.
• Ensure your travel documents are in order! This includes having the right travel visas and ensuring your passport does not expire within six months of your travel date. These rules vary by country, but keep in mind the airline is not always held liable if you are unable to enter a country after leaving the aircraft.
• Arrive early at the airport. Not every airline will hold your flight until you make it to the gate. It can take time to go through security and if you want to do some duty-free shopping, keep in mind that most airlines require you to be at the gate at least 45 minutes prior to departure.
What is the most underrated travel item that most of us forget to pack?
• A universal charger! Sometimes I forget which type of electricity outlets are used in the countries I travel to, so a universal charger ensures that I am able to charge all of my devices.
• Being a flight attendant, my Tide To Go stain removal pen is also convenient. It is small and portable, so if I spill anything on my uniform or on a customer, I can easily remove the stain. Sometimes I do not have time to give my laundry to dry cleaning on a layover or I forget to pack an extra set. This item has me covered in this scenario.
How do you manage to find the hidden gems in a new destination? Does it involve extensive research?
• To be honest, I do not do a lot of research before I go to a destination, but if I do, I will check out some of the destination’s hashtags on Instagram to get an idea of where I could go, or the content I could produce for my social media channels. I follow a lot of crewmembers online and they often inspire where I should go next.
• I also enjoy talking to the locals and the concierge at the hotels I stay at. They can offer the best advice. For example, the concierge gave us a tip in Conakry, Guinea, when the tour we had originally wanted to book fell through because of the weather. He took us to a quiet waterfall outside the city that very few tourists knew about.
With so many options for hotels and home rentals, how can we make sure we make the best decision about where to stay?
• Word of mouth. Ask those around you for tips. No luck? Do some research online and read reviews, blogs, travel magazines and watch YouTube videos. Do not rely completely on deal-finder websites — firsthand accounts are often more reliable than advertisements.
• Crew use online travel forums to ask each other about certain destinations, deals and discounts. We also speak to crew directly from the country we are hoping to visit because they have a better idea of pricing and where to go.
Jet lag always seems to take us by surprise. What are your best tips for beating it?
• Monitor your sleep. Know when you need to rest and when you need to stay up to keep your body on track. This usually involves staying awake until an early local bedtime on arrival to your destination. There are also plenty of apps you can use that will help you to track your sleeping patterns and determine the amount of rest you should be getting.
• Natural sleep remedies also prove to be helpful when you need to rest and are finding it difficult. Crew tend to use herbal teas and different vitamin supplements to help with this.
• Rest in a comfortable environment. From my experience, a cool dark room helps put me to sleep. Other crew tend to use eyeshades and ear plugs to minimize disruptions. Some even meditate and do yoga to put them in the right state of mind before bed.
• If you travel a lot, it is important to engage in a healthy active lifestyle. The food you consume and your fitness regime can heavily impact your day-to-day wellbeing. Although I am not heavily into fitness, it is important for flight attendants to stay hydrated and consume plenty of electrolytes for energy, stamina and recovery.
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