9 best travel tips to surviving the 2022 travel chaos


Be neurotically early

Let’s start with the cardinal of the best travel tips: get to the airport earlier than you ever normally would (ie a minimum of three hours before your flight), and check in online whenever possible to avoid standing in more lines than you really have to. If you can afford it (or have any miles/points saved up), now is the moment to upgrade, too. Not only will you be able to skip the queues, but you can also head into a lounge in the event of a delay instead of reenacting The Terminal on a dingy metal bench.

Keep luggage to a minimum

Go carry-on only. Nothing spoils a holiday quite like your bags being MIA, and with the general state of airports right now, the chances of suitcases disappearing is at an all-time high. We’re devoted fans of Away’s The Carry-On, which is compact enough to meet sizing requirements—including on-budget airlines—but roomy enough for everything you might need. Bonus points for the portable USB charger built into the design, a Godsend if you’re trapped at a gate with a dying iPhone and no outlet in sight. If you absolutely have to stow a bag, consider an AirTag as an extra precaution—especially if you’re carrying valuables. You can even get the Apple devices set within one of Hermès’s classic luggage tags.

Use any delays to clear your inbox

Most of us are guilty of boarding the plane with yet-to-be-completed tasks hanging over us and at least 72 messages clogging up our Gmail. Take the opportunity to make sure you get a proper break from work; order a latte, hunker down at your gate, and tie up any loose ends before wheels up. Inbox 0 may be a pipe dream, but you can at least hand over any urgent tasks.

Counteract travel anxiety by having back-up plans at home at the likes of Updown Farmhouse or Kin House (pictured), available now for private rentals.

Have back-up plans

If you’re worried that your flights may be cancelled, decide in advance whether you’re going to reschedule your holiday or take a staycation instead. Most bosses should be flexible about letting you work your planned OOO days in the event of a travel nightmare, but a courtesy email ahead of time should put your mind at ease. Otherwise, make sure that you’ve got fallback plans at home.

Choose your reading material wisely

You’re never going to finish off Ulysses while sitting in Heathrow. Instead, stock up on literary page-turners that will hold your attention even in a painfully crowded Starbucks: The Girls by Emma Cline, Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt are all great places to start.

Do your homework

If you’re someone who’s always had a more laissez-faire approach to holiday planning, a travel delay gives you a second chance to do some pre-trip research. Those who prefer analogue guides should bring a compact but indispensable directory, which offers bird’s eye views of various cities. Digital natives, on the other hand, can trawl through brilliant design-focused recommendations from locals or plan their itinerary using an app. This is also a good moment to study some basic words and phrases in your host country’s language or languages; you’re never going to become fluent in Italian via Duolingo, but you might learn how to say hello, goodbye and “more gelato, please” in the hour or so you’re waiting for your flight.

Make a well-considered investment or two

Impulse purchases in a duty-free shop are generally a mistake, but if you’ve got a few hours to browse and are in the market for designer sunglasses or a classic handbag, take full advantage. Just do some googling before handing over your AmEx; not all duty-free items are necessarily cheaper than their equivalent at home.

Put your Netflix subscription to good use

There’s no reason to suffer through mediocre in-flight entertainment anymore. Download your favourite Netflix titles to watch sans-WiFi through the streaming giant’s app, starting with any travel or food docuseries relevant to your holiday. Ugly Delicious, Chef’s Table and Street Food are all brilliant. Podcasts are another good option for whiling away a few hours, or—if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed—temporarily escape via Field Recordings, which consists of natural sounds recorded by audiophiles everywhere from the frozen waters of Svalbard to the tropical rainforests of Congo.


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