11 travel tips from a seasoned traveller

Posted on 11 June 2015

Our counterparts at CAR Magazine tend to travel quite a bit. In fact, before the halfway-point of this year the team members will have left SA’s borders 20 times.

Associate editor Sudhir Matai has been a motor noter for over a decade and has been on over 500 flights, with an excess of 1800 hours spent in the air. In that time he’s learned a few things to make travelling a little easier.


Photo by   Jong Soo

Photo by Jong Soo Lee.


1. Pack in advance

If you’re heading overseas, start chucking things into your luggage as and when it occurs to you. Even if it’s days ahead of your trip, it’s much less likely that you’ll forget.


2. If you’re a regular flyer, buy spare toiletries

Get a second toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, and other toiletries, and keep those in a case ready to go. It saves lots of time and no unfortunate “whoops” moments when you unpack in your hotel.


3. Keep a set of underwear in your handbag/backpack

If your luggage and yourself magically part company midway through a flight, then at least you won’t have to worry about buying undies the moment you land.


4. Check in ahead of time

Not only does this buy you a few extra minutes arriving at the airport and potentially a shorter queue at the bag-drop, but you also get to choose your seat. Sites such as SeatGuru are great to use in this regard.


5. Take your own water

Not only will you save a few rands at the airport but you will also help stave off dehydration and fatigue. There are no rules banning liquid quantities carried onto local flights (in SA).


6. Carry a book

Nothing passes the time wasted in airports faster than reading. And the advantage of a physical book, rather than an e-reader or MP3 player, is that you don’t have to be interrupted during taxi, take-off and landing.


7. Drink lots of fluids

Avoid coffee and booze especially during longer flights. Try and stick to water and juice as these will help you stay hydrated.


8. Carry an eye mask and/or ear-plugs

If you often take early morning flights you can still grab an hour or two of sleep before you enter that first meeting. An eye mask will keep out the early morning sun and ear plugs will give you some respite from the chatterboxes in the row behind.


9. Carry eye drops

Airports and planes are filled with dry, air-conditioned air which can play havoc with your eyes. Buy a pack of sterile eye drops and keep a few ampoules handy to avoid looking as though you had a rough night.


10. Sleep for the time-zone you are heading towards, not the one you’re in

I’ve often seen people step onto an international flight and go straight to sleep, regardless of where it is they are heading. I see no point in going to sleep on the flight if it’ll be the middle of the night when I land – and this helps you fight jetlag too.


11. Be grateful

If you’re about to get onto a flight it means you’re going on holiday, to see loved ones or have a job that allows you to travel. So act like it. I have stood in lines during boarding or got onto planes with people who appear decidedly unhappy. The happier you act, the less painful your flight will feel.


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