Slow Travel Tips: Preparing to make the most of a short break
Today, I’m sharing some tips to make the most of it when you only have time for a short break.
A few weeks ago an invite slipped into my inbox, to join a group of ‘elite travel influencers’ for a conference in Menorca. I was already mentally there, drinking cocktails by the beach and getting super inspired about blogging, until I realised it coincided with my 40th birthday.
It seemed a bit strange to spend my 40th away from family and friends. Until I realised my brother had already booked a holiday, my husband had to deliver a major video game milestone at work that week and my kids would be in school. They had planned other celebrations for me luckily, so I decided to embrace the trip as one more treat in a string of celebrations.
With my 40th birthday and our move to the country imminent, I couldn’t join the event for the full week, just a long weekend.
So in an effort to make the most of a short escape, last week I popped into Nottingham to do some summer holiday shopping, get a haircut, pick up my travel money in M&S Bank and treated myself to some new clothes and beauty products. It’s a while since I have made time for that kind of pre holiday relaxation and it has made such a difference to my state of mind.
Less travel can be more
Our house move has slowed down our travelling this year, and I am embracing it. This time last year I did Scotland, Iceland and Madrid back to back – while trying to be a parent, work, and decorate my office – it was stupidly tough. Fewer, carefully selected trips means there is much more time to savour the preparation and to relax on the other side when you come home. Holidays are feeling much more like holidays. Or maybe I am just getting old and can’t take the pace?
Make a list and stick to it
Packing can take forever, if you let it. Make a list, pack, check and stick to it. No cramming extra things you won’t wear or really need in. Trying on sessions can be part of the fun, I like to know exactly what outfits work so I don’t spend any time trying things on and having a wardrobe crisis of confidence while I am holiday.
Get ahead with the beauty prep
A night spent relaxing with a bath and some nail painting is so much more fun than madly shaving my legs in the sink when I arrive (the reality on our family trips when there is more than me to organise).
Three tops to one pair of bottoms. I try to pick bottoms that go with anything, or buy two identical pairs for a longer trip. The more stuff you pack, the more stuff you have to unpack and sift through, drag around in your case and probably wash when you get home because the bottle of suncream leaked.
Make time for a shopping trip
Summer clothes always seem to wear out faster. I don’t have as many and I struggle to find things I like, so when I find a winner, I wear the same things repeatedly. I’m getting wiser as I approach 40 and I try and buy two of anything I really love. It was great to make time to try on and buy a couple of new things.
Don’t leave travel money until the airport
My last few airport trips have involved me tearing round making emergency purchases, mainly for the rest of the family. Running to the gate sets the wrong tone for a holiday, so this time I decided to try plan in advance where I could.
While I was having a peek at swimwear in M&S I also picked up my travel money at M&S Bank. I found this really convenient, the service was smooth and friendly, there was no queue and I had that smug feeling of ticking one more thing off my list while enjoying some retail therapy – result.
The in store travel bureaus are also open in the evenings making after work travel prep a breeze too. The rates are the same online and in store each day, so you get the same deal. When I compared them to the rates offered at the airport I discovered I got a little bit more Euros for my pounds than I would have done at the airport, which is always reassuring. Just remember you need to take photo ID with you, luckily I had my driving licence on me.
I’m now looking forward to feeling super holidayish, and a little bit smug, at the airport.
Start the night before
I’m having another 40th birthday gathering the night before I go on holiday. It’s guaranteed to get me in the holiday mood and a great way to start winding down.
Have a train picnic
Gin in a tin, olives, sandwiches, posh crisps, it doesnt take much to elevate the food you eat on the way to the airport into a treat.
Stay over at the airport.
A really early start can ruin a whole day of holiday, so I’m really looking forward to a night in a hotel bed and a leisurely stroll across to the airport to check in.
How do you make the most of a short trip? Do you take holidays slowly or pack it in?
Post in collaboration with M & S Bank.