‘Life’s a journey, not a destination,’ they say. Right. So, should I expect queues, crowds and security checks all the way, then?
Brits barely went abroad before the 1960s, and back then Cliff Richard’s ‘Summer Holiday’ captured the carefree excitement of setting off on a journey. These days, we’re world-weary travellers. We may unwind on arrival, but getting there feels like a chore. Cheap flights (bless ‘em) have made travel so familiar that it’s started to feel humdrum – and that’s a shame.
Holidays should be exciting, every step of the way. Don’t suffer through your next journey – recapture the joy. Here’s how:
1. Wing it
Got a travel routine? I’ve got one that gets me out of the door and onto the plane reliably. It works, but I’ve noticed that bits of it are getting a little too formulaic. I even get grumpy if my usual sandwich-and-crisps combo isn’t available on my way to the departure gate. Don’t be a slave to routine. Keep the bits that are essential, and shake up the rest. Sushi and champagne before boarding? Don’t mind if I do.
2. Make it play time
My first time in Venice was magical. But, strangely, the most fun I had on that trip was departing from Gatwick. Trying on sunglasses, my husband and I got so caught up in the moment (kind of like the girl in Monarch’s new advert) that we didn’t hear ourselves being called to the departure gate – until the final call. I know that being bundled onto a fully boarded plane at the last moment should feel stressful, but we had to supress our giggles. He and I are such goody-two-shoes that losing all sense of time, just this once, felt deliciously naughty.
You don’t need to risk missing your plane to get caught up in travel’s frivolous side. Get through the formalities of security and immigration early, and make the most of the opportunities for fun, like playing dress-ups (otherwise known as window-shopping). Just set an alarm on your phone if you think you need it!
3. Do talk to strangers
Being seated next to a chatterbox is hell, right? Well, that chatterbox could be me. I don’t talk all the time in transit and I like to think I can tell when someone would rather not chat. But if you strike up a good conversation, the journey will fly by. I’ve even heard of people who’ve met the love of their lives in transit. Just start with ‘hello’ and see what happens.
4. Think road trip
There’s nothing that says ‘holiday’ like singing yourself hoarse with mates on the road. Granted, that’s in the private confines of your own car. Forty-two rounds of ‘The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round’ won’t make you the most popular person on a plane. But how about a covert game of eye-spy to liven up your time in the queue? Make it all about people-spotting, and you and your travelling companions can share an undercover giggle or two.
5. Or think slumber party
I do a fair bit of long-haul flying. But before you feel sorry for me, let me tell you that I love it. I’m not fond of the smelly socks, stiff legs and jet lag I end up with. But I am smitten with the pyjama party potential of long flights. They’re a chance to get snug (I take a change of clothes on board that will give me that cosy PJ feeling) and leave the grown-up world behind for the kind of hedonistic movie marathon I haven’t had on the ground since adolescence. Bliss!
How do you entertain yourselves in transit? Let us know in the comments below.