Heading away on a summer escape? Be sure to read this first…

Your flights are booked and you’re counting down the days to your vacation. Before you know it, the time has come to start packing your bags and preparing for your journey… but where to start?

We’ve compiled some of our favourite travel tips and tricks to make your next getaway a little bit easier.

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1. Hand Luggage Only

We know, it sounds impossible. But sticking to the carry-on allowance saves you time and money (bye bye, exorbitant checked baggage fees). It’s an incredible feeling being able to breeze through the airport, skipping the check-in counter and bypassing baggage claim. Best of all, you never have to worry about the airline losing your luggage.

2. Have A Travel Uniform

Stick to basic pieces in neutral tones that you can mix and match. We love the Travel Fashion Girl site, which provides outfit inspiration and packing lists for every destination, taking into account things like climate and cultural sensitivities. Want to look cute in your Instagram pics? It’s all about the accessories. Which brings us to our next tip…

3. Always Pack A Scarf 

Forget the Swiss Army Knife – a scarf is the most versatile travel accessory. It can jazz up an outfit, hide spills, and keep you warm on a chilly flight. It’s also a must when visiting mosques or temples that require you to cover up. Lost your lens cap? Wrap a silk scarf around your camera to protect it from scratches.

4. Roll Don’t Fold

Like any art form, everyone has an opinion about packing. We’ve had the most success with rolling our garments, which saves precious space and reduces creases. Packing cubes may sound like an extra hassle, but they’re a great way of keeping things organised – you can pick these up at Muji stores in the UAE.

5. Go Mini

We don’t know about you, but we’re obsessed with travel minis. But you can just as easily decant your favourite products into small containers. Remember, any liquids you want to take on the plane must be in containers no bigger than 100ml, and must fit inside a clear, resealable plastic bag of 20cm x 20cm.

6. Protect Your Toiletries

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination to find your favourite face wash has exploded all over your possessions. Prevent leakages by placing some plastic wrap under the lids of your bottles. To keep your compacts from cracking, place a flat cotton pad between the powder and the lid.

7. Bring Spare Passport Photos

It’s always a good idea to print out an extra set of passport photos and keep them on you. This can make the process a whole lot smoother if you need to get a visa on arrival, or apply for emergency travel documents in a hurry.

8. Download The UAE Wallet App

Flying out of Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport? For a speedier transit, download the UAE Wallet app, register your travel details, and you’ll be able to use your smartphone to whizz through the smart gates. That’s right, you won’t even need to get out your passport…

9. Don’t Forget Your Emirates ID

This time-saving trick works in any terminal at DXB – bring your Emirates ID and you can speed through passport control in seconds. Just scan your ID at the smart gates, and go.

10. Carry An Empty Drink Bottle

Staying hydrated is important when you’re travelling, but purchasing bottled water at the airport can be pricey – and you can’t take it through security. Instead, pop an empty drink bottle in your carry-on, and fill it up at an airport water fountain (or ask nicely, and one of the airport restaurants might do it for you).

11. Sweeten Up Your Flight Attendant

When off-duty cabin crew members travel, it’s a tradition for them to bring chocolates onboard to give to the flight attendants. You can do this too – it’s a small gesture that will brighten their day, and could also see you rewarded with extra treats and special attention… possibly even an upgrade.

12. Always Pay In Local Currency

If you’re paying by credit card overseas, it can be really tempting to pay in your home currency. That way you can easily track your spending, right? Wrong. Not only will you get the worst exchange rate, but you’ll usually be charged an additional fee for the service. Check with your bank, but as a general rule, go for the local currency.

13. Note Your Address

Hotels will often have “taxi cards” containing the name, address and phone number of your accommodation in the local language. If not, get a staff member to write the address down on a business card, so you can keep it in your wallet and never have to worry about getting lost.

14. Let The Sun Shine In

Jet lag is the worst. Find yourself in need of constant naps when you arrive at your destination? Try sleeping with your curtains slightly open for the first couple of nights so you can wake up with the natural light and get your circadian rhythm back on track.

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Images: Getty