Festival travel can be stressful, fun or expensive, sometimes all three. The world’s largest voluntary mass movement of people generally occurs around festivals – Christmas, Eid or Chinese New Year being some of the most obvious. We’ve been receiving plenty of advisories from various airlines and other transport providers that all say the same thing – be early!
Festival travel – the dos and don’ts
The ‘Do’ always starts with the ‘be early’ warning and the ‘Don’t’ list with ‘don’t panic’.
The ‘Do’ list
- If normal check-in for your flight is 2 hours, make it 3 or for an international flight / larger aircraft, even more.
- For the train, bus or boat, if they say 15 minutes, double it, at least.
- Pack as light as you can. If you can’t, pack efficiently, with bags or boxes secured and wrapped if necessary.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Check-in online if this is available (large groups can’t generally do this – be early!).
- If you need wheelchairs or other assistance, book these in advance.
- Security and Immigration checks will have longer lines so don’t waste time before entering the departure hall.
- Have phones and laptops easily accessible so you can take them out quickly for checking .
- Wear shoes and belts that are easy to remove if this is required by security officers.
- Make sure all your LAGs (Liquids, Aerosols and Gels) are ready for inspection if required.
Travelling with Children:
- If they are old enough, give them their own backpack/pull luggage and help them pack it themselves.
- Check with your carrier to see if you can take a stroller to the gate, or if it must be checked-in.
- Pack a small (age dependent) surprise for the journey, perhaps something that will keep them busy, a puzzle or new toy.
The ‘Don’t’ list
- Definitely don’t panic – if something goes wrong, you’ll have a better chance of sorting things out if you stay calm.
- Don’t pack small valuables in your checked baggage. Hand carry them. If you have to check larger valuable items, wrap your bag either at home or at the airport and make sure you are waiting at the baggage carousel / collection point early when you arrive.
- Carrying too much hand carry luggage will waste you time and may be taken away for check-in at your expense. Make sure it is within that allowed by your carrier (not just airlines, but buses and trains etc). Check their website for up-to-date information.
- Don’t argue with staff at check-in counters, departure gates or on-board. If you have a grievance it may not turn out well if you argue, even if you don’t start the argument. Stay calm and make a formal complaint later if necessary.
Remember the staff on duty may be missing out on the celebration. A smile and a ‘thank you’ or an appropriate holiday greeting, will go a long way to making their experience better too.
These lists aren’t exhaustive. If you have anything to share – advice or a personal experience, please share it in our ‘Comments’.
Happy Holidays from Economy Traveller.