Going away for quickie business trips or mini breaks can be a bit stressful. What does one pack? How much does one pack? Do you check your luggage or do you try to be hardcore and just bring hand luggage?
Longer journeys are easier to prepare for, in my book. You can bring copious amounts of entertainment on board. You can bring a large suitcase without anyone judging you. And taking a long time to pack is smiled at, if not encouraged. (“You can never be too prepared!”)
However, when it comes to mini breaks, 24 hour business trips and quick over-nighters, you’ll probably look like a fool wearing Uggs and sweatpants on the plane. And you will most definitely look like a n00b if you bring your own pillow and eye mask on an hour and a half flight to the south of France from London.
So, if you’re being adventurous and taking advantage of Lastminute.com’s amazing city break deals, here are a handful of quick tips to help your last minute getaway go smoothly. (And prevent you from looking like an infrequent flyer.)
Don’t be Afraid to Check a Small Suitcase
Maybe it’s because I’m indecisive (or maybe it’s because of my sex) but I’ve never been able to bring just hand luggage on a plane. I like having options when I pack. If you bring your laptop and handbag on the plane as your hand luggage, and limit yourself to a small suitcase (filled as much as you want with clothes and shoes) you won’t have to panic about space/weight. Also, if you’re just going on a mini break, chances are you’re on a smaller plane, which means there are less people, and therefore it won’t take ages to collect your luggage.
If you’re going direct from your flight to a meeting or perhaps dinner with friends and family, my advice is to dress comfortably, but appropriately for whatever event your attending straight after landing. (Unless it’s a ball. A full skirt of tulle won’t fit all that well in Economy.) This will require a bit of forethought, but it’s not as hard as it might sound.
For example, it can be as simple as not wearing ridiculous, strappy sandals as you’ll hold up the line at security taking them off, and then putting them back on again. Also, don’t overdo it with multiple accessories like watches, necklaces, sunglasses, or bracelets, as some of your fabulous fashion statements might set off the metal detector.
Even choosing to not wear a belt or opting to wear a lightweight coat or jumper will save you fuss both going through Security, and the flight.
Also, ladies, as tempting as it is to wear a big straw when heading to a tropical location – they’re a pain to fly with.
Less is More On Board
One thing you’ll notice, observing those jetsetters whizzing past you to go hang out in the frequent fliers lounge, is how free they are from access baggage. (Physically speaking, that is. Who knows what['s going on in their personal life.)
Maybe they’ll have a briefcase or an oversized Louis Vuitton – but they’re most certainly not juggling multiple bags, satchels, and shopping bags. And this is because they’ve got their “less is more” flight routine down to an art form. Not because they have a PA with them. (For the most part.)
To come up with your own “less is more” routine, simply think of what you’ll want with you on the plane while you’re in your seat, and what you can leave up in the overhead compartment during the flight. If you want a pen, a crossword puzzle and your eReader – then have those things in a smaller, separate bag that can fit inside your larger bag, so it’s easy to grab what you need before sliding in your seat. (And without blocking your fellow fliers in the aisle.)
Also, you’ll find keeping your passport and boarding pass in an easy to get to space, whether it be a front pocket, or the front compartment of your handbag will be very convenient.
It’s also really helpful to think through how long your flight is when choosing how many books, magazines, DS games or films to bring with you. Don’t add more weight to your carryon luggage than you need to! Chances are, between your in-flight Bloody Mary and your overly-salty snack, you won’t really have time to read a novel, play Super Mario Bros and read two different papers.
Save yourself a backache and risk boredom. Worse comes to worst, you can always sleep. Or have a potentially awkward conversation with the person next to you.
Cate Sevilla is an online journalist and the editor-in-chief of @cupcate.