They say time is money, and as someone who travels often on short breaks, I try to save as much of both as I possibly can. Every time I take a long weekend away, I try to become a bit more efficient. So here are my top tips for saving time when you travel on a short trip.
#1 Pack carry on, and choose your bag wisely.
Travelling with only carry on luggage is nothing new – especially on short breaks. But what about when the flight’s full and the ground crew tell you your baggage has to go in the hold when you get to the front of the queue to board? It happens. But if you want to avoid the fees that will guarantee your bag goes in the overhead bins, you can swerve the situation with your choice of bag.
For carry on, I’ve gone squishable! Basically, I’ve swapped my wheelie suitcase for a large holdall style bag. It forces me to make decisions that help me pack light, and it can shove under the seat in front of me which means no fighting to get it in the cabin bins. I recently bought a bag on sale by Tripp from Debenhams (it’s still in stock and is now down from £85 to £15! – buy it here). It means there’s absolutely no chance I’ll have to wait for my luggage to be released from the hold when I fly with only carry on.
#2 Fly from a smaller airport.
Do you have access to a smaller airport from where you live? My recent experience of flying from Glasgow Prestwick airport rather than Glasgow itself meant a bit of a longer journey to and from, but the breeze of check in and security when you’re flying from an airport that deals with fewer flights than its larger neighbour, more than made up for it.
When we arrived back, we were off the plane and out of the terminal in less than 10 minutes. When you consider that we queued for passport control for over an hour and spent an hour more waiting in baggage reclaim at Manchester Airport earlier this year, you can bet I’ll be checking what my options are from smaller airports before I book to fly from the big boys in future.
#3 Pre-book parking and look for deals on meet and greet.
Sometimes a short break means all you have is the weekend. If you’re finishing work and heading away on a Friday night, you don’t want to be messing about with anything that could cause you a delay. So why not book meet and greet parking through a service like Pink Elephant Parking? Sure, it can be cheaper to park off site and shuttle bus in to departures, but all of that takes time.
Mind you, another bonus of small airports like Prestwick, is that the car park is so close to the terminal meaning you can be out of your car, getting your boarding card scanned within minutes.
#4 Book tickets for key sights before you travel.
When time is limited, the last thing you want to be doing in your destination is standing in a queue. So if you want to see David in Florence, visit the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, or walk the halls of the Vatican Museum in Rome, do yourself a favour and book tickets before you go.
Sure, sometimes you’ll need to pick a time slot, but if there’s something or somewhere you really want to see on your trip, you’ll be glad you booked and paid for it before you travelled when you skip those lines! You might find you get a bit of a discount for planning ahead, too. Just make sure you use official museum websites rather than booking agencies to avoid extra fees.
#5 Stay Central.
It’s tempting to save a bit of cash by staying a little out of the centre on city trips, and while it can be a good thing in terms of getting a more local experience, it’s not always worth it in the balance of time vs money when your trip is a short one. Conveniently rolling out of bed and into the action before rolling back in at the end of a busy day (or after too many beers) can be worth a bit of extra spend.
What are your tips for saving time when you travel? Share away in the comments!
Pink Elephant provided me with complimentary parking on my last trip. I’d recommend their friendly, efficient service and wouldn’t hesitate in booking again.