Your bags are packed, your transport to the airport is organised, and sun-drenched days are within touching distance (at last!). There's just one thing between you and the villa pool… the flight.
We know all too well that once you've navigated the check-in, passport control, found your departure gate and are finally ready to board, you're really in need of a holiday! But jetting off is the official start of your getaway. So it should be part of the fun, right?
Flying doesn't have to be stressful, so to help you take to the skies feeling relaxed, here are some of our top tips for preparing to take off.
Being organised certainly reduces the stress of travelling. From a handy travel wallet so all your important documents are within easy reach, to pre-booking an airport lounge to escape the bustle of the departures, having a plan will avoid any last minute rushing on the day you leave for the airport.
Give yourself plenty of time. Most airlines recommend arriving at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight for European destinations, and at least 3 hours before when flying further.
If getting everyone plus the luggage in the car and to the airport in time to catch the flight fills you with dread, staying in a hotel near to the airport is a great option. Enjoy a little bit longer in bed and start the first day of your holiday at a more leisurely pace, with the peace of mind that you're already in the right place.
How often do you get a few spare hours to switch your phone off and sit back with a refreshing drink? Flying is an opportunity to do just this. So take a bit of time out for yourself and read that book you never finished, watch that missed season of your favourite TV show, or scribble down your destination bucket-list.
The plane is also a good place to practice mindfulness. It's the buzzword on everyone's lips, but actually dedicating some time to focus on the moment you're in is difficult to do in everyday life. So where better than on a flight when you're sitting still for a few hours or more? Take a few minutes to practice breathing exercises – inhaling deeply through your nose and then out through your mouth with a pause in the middle. Simple stretches while seated can also alleviate stiffness. Try a seated twist by holding the seat's armrest with both hands and gently pull to twist your torso to one side, before turning to the other.
If you're taking little ones on board, keeping them happy is the key to an enjoyable flight for you as much as them. Not to mention your fellow passengers!
Check in early and pre-book seats to ensure you all sit together. Sharing the child-care load with the other adults in your travelling party will give you the break you need to arrive in your destination feeling fresh.
Modern in-flight entertainment on offer is better than ever, but play it safe and pack plenty of items to keep little ones amused. Use your time above the clouds to get creative. Bring pens, pencils, notebooks, colouring books and stickers and get the kids to create a holiday diary, starting with their airport experience complete with drawings of the plane.
While many parents are conscious of too much screen time, tablets loaded with their favourite TV shows, games, songs and films offer a welcome quiet half an hour should you need it. After all, on holiday rules are made to be broken!
And for every fellow passenger who raises an eyebrow at your children should they have a tantrum, there will be a sympathetic fellow parent who knows exactly what it's like to try and travel with toddlers. So try not to stress!
Once you've found the perfect villa, you'll want flight options that fit around your holiday. Take the hassle out of your holiday and enjoy these flexible flying options:
• Flights from 25 UK airports with a choice of airlines, flights times and dates.
• A minimum of 20kg baggage included.
• Booking your villa and flights with us means your holiday is fully ABTA and ATOL protected. So if something goes wrong, you can be confident your holiday is in safe hands.