June 23, 2023

Time Travel

With 25 years’ experience as a travel journalist, Angelina Villa-Clarke shares her top tips to make every journey an easy one.

“I first caught the ‘travel bug’ as a child, visiting my Dad’s village in Italy every year, crisscrossing through Europe by car. My career means I’ve been fortunate to have touched down in many amazing places but I’ve had a few hair-raising moments too – from hurricanes in the Caribbean to a terrifying typhoon in the Maldives. Yet nothing compares or could prepare any of us for when the world stood still during the global pandemic.” 

Three years on, things are returning to ‘normal’, although some may argue that the world of travel has changed irrevocably. Angelina says, “One thing, however, remains the same in my book – you can never be too organised!” 

Do your homework

“While restrictions have eased and we’ve seen the back of the Passenger Locator form, it’s still worth checking what requirements are needed for entry at your destination – and do it early! Some countries ask for proof of vaccination, while others require at least six months of validity on your passport. You may need a Visa for entry, Gov.uk is the best starting point. Don’t rely on your phone either – network coverage in airport arrival halls can be sketchy – print out everything you need in advance.”

Embrace painless packing

“Packing cubes (available on Amazon) will transform the way you pack. They not only separate your clothes (handy if you have children of a similar age) but they compress the items so you can fit more in your case. The best bit, though, is they speed up unpacking when you arrive – just lift the cubes out of the case and place directly into drawers.”

Onboard organisation

“You will never regret a finely-tuned carry-on bag. As well as essentials (such as a lip balm, spare contact lenses, sanitiser), I always take a few snacks, wipes to clean down arm rests and screens, a change of clothes (in case your bag is lost) and a spare phone battery and charger. Pack a book, download podcasts and films in case of delays, and take a cosy scarf and spare socks to keep warm on longer journeys.”

Elevate your journey

“Holiday packages often come with lounge access as a perk, so it’s worth checking if this is included. You might also want to consider pre-booking a lounge if you have a stop-over somewhere in the early hours. There are often deals to be had (check loungepass.com). Booking airport parking? You can often add a pass for Fast-Track Security for just £5.”

Travel differently

“In our post-Covid world, awareness of sustainable travel is important. Make a few mindful changes by offsetting your carbon footprint; using local currency and conserving water and energy when you are away. Embrace ‘slow travel’ by buying artisan crafts and stay longer in a place so locals can truly benefit from tourism. Check out Toursbylocals, found in 163 countries, which gives you an insider’s view of a destination.”

Planning makes perfect

“Don’t forget the must-haves; plug adapters and a well-edited medical kit. Put a few lights on a timer at home so it doesn’t look empty and arrange for any packages to be collected. Make life easier on your return – do an online shop to arrive a few hours after you get home – but one problem I’ve yet to solve is the dreaded post-holiday washing!”

Once Upon A Town signature