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Sunday 21 May 2023

Five travel tips to make your next overseas trip better

Overseas travel is not as much fun as it used to be.

Airports are crowded; flights are often delayed, queues are longer.

But just a little foresight can help make your trip just a little bit easier.

Here are some tips that might help you next time you hit the airport.

1. Take a pillow with you. Aircraft are more cramped than ever before; and seats seem to be getting smaller. A travel cushion or pillow for your head - or back support - can make your flight a little more bearable, but who wants to drag one around from hotel to hotel? Simple solution: Grab an old pillow from your cupboard, use it on your outbound flight and then donate it to an op shop on arrival. Before departure pay a couple of bucks for a replacement at a charity outlet before you fly home. Simple and cheap.

2. Turn left not right. Here's a clever tip from Southern Cross travel insurance to avoid queues at immigration counters. Research shows that most people are right handed and tend to turn to the right first, so do the opposite. Go to the left and you may be able to move faster through airport security and customs.

3. Make a phone call. There are some very good deals available on hotel booking sites, but you may be able to get a better one by calling your hotel of choice directly. See what the current price is at or similar sites, and then call the hotel. Ask if they can do a better deal, or offer a perk like a late check out. Hotels pay big money in commission to booking sites, so many would prefer to deal with you direct. It's worth a try.

4. Go for colour. Many suitcases look the same. Particularly if you have chosen black. Tie a colourful ribbon on your case, or put some bright sticky tape on it. That way you'll be able to identify your baggage quickly on the airport carousel, or in a pile of suitcases.

5. Download a translation app. If you are heading for a country with a lively tourism industry then chances are there will be someone who speaks your language. If, however, you are in Poland, Laos or Honduras, things might be a little trickier. Download a translation app on your phone before your trip. With the Google Translate app, you can hold your phone’s camera up to any text, and the app will translate it for you, whether you are puzzled by a street sign or a menu. Nifty.

And a bonus. Take a photo of your key passport pages and email to yourself. If you do happen lose your passport then you will have something to show to officials.

Image: Tiago Gomes, 

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