5 airport tips to know before you go on holiday

Getting to the airport can sometimes feel like a hassle when there are a few of you. When you finally get there it can still be a bit of a headache with many processes to get through. Solo travel helps ease some of that because there’s only yourself to sort out. The trip to the airport gets you a step closer to your final destination so to help make your airport experience more seamless, here are my 5 airport tips to know before you go on holiday.

1. Duty free shop and collect after your hols

Did you know that you can shop duty free, leave your purchases at the airport and then pick them up after your holiday? Yes, you can! You may already know about the World Duty Free Reserve & Collect service that’s available. It’s where you reserve and collect your shopping before your flight. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that there’s now a Shop & Collect service. This allows you to buy while at the airport and then leave your purchases there so you can collect them when you return from your trip.

Duty free shopping
Duty free shopping - Stansted airport

I’ve used this service a few times now and it’s been really handy! It saves you carrying extra things with you on your holiday, especially with all the liquid restrictions in place. Leaving your purchases at the airport until you get back helps lighten your load and gives peace of mind if you don’t want to take expensive or fragile items with you in case you lose or break them while away.

Shop and Collect ticket
Shop and Collect ticket

How

  • As you’re about to pay ask to leave your items for collection on return. You’ll need to fill out a form with a few details like your return flight number, date and time and of course your name and contact number.
  • You’ll get a receipt and a ticket which you need to show to collect your shopping when you get back.
Tip
  • Take a photo of your ticket in case you lose it while away!

Note:
The process may vary slightly depending on which airport you’re flying from and will only work if you’re departing and returning to the same one.

2. Post it

If you left something from another trip in your case that you can’t take with you – for example a perfume bottle more than 100ml but you’ve only got hand luggage this time – don’t throw it away. Post it back to yourself!

Post box Stansted airport
Post it - Stansted Airport postbox

Most airports will have a post box lurking around somewhere.  You’ll probably be able to buy something to send it back in as well.  For the cost of a stamp and an envelope or jiffy bag, you can send it back instead of throwing your item away.  

3. Pack your 100mls before leaving

Instead of wasting time going through your hand luggage at the 100ml liquid checkpoint, pack them before leaving for the airport. Have you tried to squeeze your small bottles and balms into those little clear bags at that point, only to find you’ve still left something in your luggage once you go through security? You then waste more time while they go through your belongings.

100ml hand luggage clear bag
100ml hand luggage clear bag

I always pre-pack my liquids at home so I know I’ve not left anything in my suitcase. Doing this makes going through security a bit easier. You can also pick up a spare clear bag each time or use the hard ones that come pre-filled with empty bottles.  

4. Coach trip!

If you have a bit of time you should consider taking the coach to the airport instead of a taxi or train. It can actually be more relaxing and you can get a single fare from as little as £1.99. Most coaches will take you to Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow or Luton airports from London.

It will take a little longer but depending on where you’re departing from and which airport you’re going to, it may only be an extra 30-40 minutes. The price alone makes it worth seeing if you have a coach stop you can get to. I take the coach sometimes. The lowest I’ve paid is £1.99, the most was 4.99 for a single journey. Check out the easyBus website to get you started. It’s my go-to place if I’m looking for cheap airport coach travel. You can book a journey with the likes of National Express and Airport Express coaches directly through the easyBus website. You can also try National Express or Omio (formerly GoEuro) websites as well.

National Express coach
National Express coach

5. Travel the night before

If you’re able to, try to travel the night before your flight or get a late night flight. This means you’ll have more time to spend at your destination on the first day rather than spending it travelling. Another benefit is that you don’t have to take an extra day off for travel. Plus if you’re trying my advice above and taking the coach, they pretty much operate throughout the night so you can get to the airport at any time. 

Hope these airport tips help you!  For the next step in your holiday preparations, read my post for tips to help you find the perfect accommodation for your holiday.

Do you have any other airport tips?  Share them below in the comments!

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