Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for travel – no matter where in the world you are. During this time, people flock from far and wide to see their loved ones and join in the festive cheer that’s rife during this season. Meanwhile, others prefer the idea of a winter sun break and take the opportunity to retreat to warmer climates. For whatever reason you’re flying this Christmas, we have worked with the London Stansted’s expert team to give you their top tips on having a fun and stress-free travel experience.
Do your research
It goes without saying that research pays off. This is especially true for those planning to fly during the holidays. Start your search for flights as soon as possible: the earlier, the better. Utilise comparison websites in order to get the best possible deal. Figures released by Skyscanner earlier this year highlighted that travelling on Christmas Day doesn’t necessarily save you money – contrary to popular belief. In fact, prices on Christmas Day were reportedly 24 percent higher than the average flight price for all destinations during the second half of December. According to the research, travelling on Christmas Eve is actually the cheapest day to fly, with possible savings of up to 19 percent. There are currently great deals for flights from London Stansted throughout the Christmas period to wondrous destinations such as Dubai, Reykjavik, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Naples.
Avoid the rush
There’s nothing worse than having to rush through the airport, all the while praying not to miss your flight. Avoid this unnecessary stress by leaving plenty of time to reach the airport and make your way through security.
At London Stansted, the team recommend checking in a minimum of two hours before the scheduled departure time of your flight, whether it’s long or short haul.
When planning your journey to the airport itself, factor in possible delays and overcrowding – winter weather conditions can often cause disruption to public transport services. Arriving with plenty of time will allow you to calmly peruse the shops and grab a Christmas sandwich at the airport before you jet off on your adventure.
Keep it safe
If you’re leaving your home empty for an extended period of time this Christmas, be sure to inform a trustworthy neighbour or friend of your plans. You may even want to ask them to keep an eye on your home. Otherwise, consider increasing the general security in order to safeguard your property.
Think about baggage
Several airlines have recently updated their rules on carry-on luggage allowance, leaving many passengers confused about their rights. Don’t get caught out this festive period; ensure that you check the details of your flight carrier in advance, so you don’t have to leave your Christmas purchases at home. At London Stansted, you are allowed to take one bag of airport shopping on board along with your hand luggage across all airlines – take advantage of this and get some last-minute gifts with airport discounts to save you trawling through the high street.
Packing a suitcase effectively is a delicate art that not many of us have managed to master. Most people are self-proclaimed over packers; squeezing every possession in without a huge amount of thought to its necessity. The weather should be your primary consideration when packing.
Always pack according to the forecast during the time of your visit. If this involves a lot of thick jumpers, wear your chunkiest items of clothing on the flight in order to save space.
For those planning on transporting gifts, be wary of bringing along delicate or breakable items. Also, be sure that your gifts conform to baggage rules set down by your chosen airline. Avoid wrapping presents before jetting off; otherwise, you run the risk of your handiwork being ripped off as you go through security.
For ease, consider picking up some of your gifts at the airport before departure; London Stansted currently offer a range of Click & Collect products. This completely removes the pressure of hurriedly selecting a present before flying.
Airport shops such as Jo Malone, one of London Stansted’s retailers, provide wrapping services to their customers – a fantastic way to show somebody that you care.
Also, for those struggling with extra bags, there’s a Collect on Return service at London Stansted that allows you to buy before you fly and pick up your tax-free shopping on your return, absolutely free.
Calm the kids
Travelling can be stressful at the best of times but having to placate anxious children through Christmas queues can be simply overwhelming. Plan ahead; make up a travel pack for each child filled with entertainment and snacks to keep them happy during the trip. To prevent boredom, consider bringing an iPad or media player with their favourite shows pre-downloaded. Include items such as puzzles or colouring sets to retain their attention. You could even set a Christmas-themed quiz to fill out during the flight – a great pastime to get into the festive spirit.