If there's one thing I'm really good at, it's going on holiday (vacation for our American* viewers). Here's what you do:
Start off with a lie in. You don't have to get up to go to work, so make the most of it. If you really must get out of bed before 10am, then do so only to make a cup of your preferred startup beverage and then return to your bed with it - possibly with toast but mind the crumbs. You've got to get into the holiday zone. When you do get up, take your time - you'll have booked a perfectly sensible flight time so there's really no rush.
No matter how rushed you are, there are only ever three things you need to travel abroad which are easily remembered by the letters PMT. Passport, Money and Tickets. Everything else is a "nice to have" but ultimately non-essential. Obviously this is a proper holiday so there will be a whole suitcase full of "nice to haves" and with no kids (or even young adults) involved on this occasion the whole process is a lot easier.
Passports: should be in your travel wallet. Money: may mean a quick trip into town to change some Pounds into Euroz. To be honest this is almost unnecessary because there are ATMs on Ibiza so in this instance I could just draw it out there, but it's "nice to have" just to cover the unforeseen. Tickets: e-tickets should be in your email. In the next 12 months technology will be sufficiently available that you won't need to print them, but this time I have no choice. Printed and put in the travel wallet (also referred to as the PMT case)
So with that done a long lunch of choice is in order (something with bacon preferably - for it's a well known fact that everyone loves bacon, even alleged vegetarians), during which you should browse your kindle library and update as required with all manner of "good reads" to take your mind of the sweltering heat and deep suntan you'll be acquiring. Follow this with a perusal of your iTunes library to update your iDevice with appropriate audio / video content to drift off to sleep to whilst lying in the sun. Pack said devices with appropriate chargers and adapters for your destination country.
That's about it really... Have I forgotten something? Oh yes.
Packing. The most important piece of advice I can give you is travel light. There's nothing worse than hanging about in airports with loads of luggage - especially in warm countries. No one wants to sweat their nadgers off dragging a heavy bag stuffed full of clothes that you probably didn't need in the first place. As a guide - Men you need a fresh t-shirt each day and a more formal evening shirt, a couple of pairs of shorts, a pair of smart evening trousers/jeans (which you'll probably wear to the airport) with your good evening shoes. Your other pair of Flip flops or light weight shoes go in the case. Women follow similar rules but with the notable addition that you do not need a different pair of shoes for every day! And of course bikinis are far better (and more flexible than shorts). Underwear obviously if you feel it's necessary :-)... But only one pair of socks (if your going to the sunshine) for the journey home. Wash bags And you're done. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.
One more pro tip on packing. Roll don't fold. This creates less creasing and uses less space in the case. Ultimately, if you really really need it and you've forgotten it - get it there.
A gentle drive to the airport and make use of valet parking if you can. Lugging luggage on a bus around a car park is easy enough but a waste of your relaxing time. Check in online to save that hassle, drop your case and go straight through security - don't hang about ground side. Air side there are usually retail opportunities and to start off a really great holiday I recommend a bottle of champagne in duty free to drink when your in your hotel room. It'll be cheaper than the hotel and feels like you've really arrived.
Don't eat on the flight. This messes with your body clock and if jet lag is to be avoided you want to resync your clock to the destination time zone in a hurry. Let's say you're on a redeye overnight flight. Eat before you get on board as if it were dinner, sleep and eat when you get out of the airport in the morning as if it were breakfast. Don't be tempted in between times, the aim is to fool your body into thinking its in it's usual routine. This doesn't cure jet lag, but it does make it a lot less aggravating.
Switch your phone off on board the outbound flight and don't switch it back on until you're on the flight on the way home. More specifically for those of you in the iDevice world, switch your data off. It costs a fortune abroad so if you must get online use free/cheap wifi only, but you're on holiday. Unplug. Personally I send a couple of pictures back home and even write a bit as well - but then I'm a terrible geek and don't practice enough of what I preach.
At the other end a taxi is the preferred transfer method, but if it's a bus don't rush to get on it and sit in the heat (unless it's air conditioned). Use this time to immediately start to acclimatise to the warmth provided by Johnny Foreigners country. The sooner you're used to that, the sooner you'll feel at home.
Make sure the hotel staff know your name and you'll be looked after - as long as they don't know your name because you shout and bark at them. Be nice to them and usually they'll reciprocate.
That's today's plan then.... Perhaps I'll write some more at the other end - or perhaps I'll be too busy enjoying myself.
For now, adios.
* as its the 4th of July, I'd just like to wish them all a happy "Sorry you're not in the commonwealth (where wealth is common)." day. Just kidding.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous