Things to consider before going on a trip

It would be pleasant to believe that summer holidays are as simple as basking on the beach in Port Elizabeth or visiting Victoria Falls making family memories at a beachfront hotel.

It would be pleasant to believe that summer holidays are as simple as basking on the beach in Port Elizabeth or visiting Victoria Falls making family memories at a beachfront hotel.

But unless you're flying on a private jet and are privy to a personal packer, there's no escaping one simple fact: Getting the gang together and actually reaching your destination can amount to more stress than simply staying put at home.

Whether you're flying somewhere far- flung with the family, heading on a solo sojourn or packing up the wagon for the Wild Coast trip, we've put together a few pointers to put the joy back into the journey.

After all, the whole point of going on holiday is to relax and have some fun. So take note, and enjoy the ride:

1. PACK LIGHT: Perhaps the oldest adage in travel - and totally true. The weight of too much luggage is as much a mental burden as a physical one. Consider roller- bags for the kids so they can drag their own gear.

2. BOOK SMART - Try to fly during off-peak hours. Mid-morning to early afternoon, Monday through Thursday, is when you're likely to find airports the least crowded.

3. LOSE THE HEAVY METAL - Security lines can cause serious stress, but you can make the experience easier by wearing shoes that slip on and off easily (sandals and flip-flops are great), and leaving the heavy metal jewellery and belts in your checked bags.

4. LABEL YOUR LAPTOP - It's second nature to tag your bag, but be sure to label your laptop with your contact information too. Notebook computers are the number one forgotten item at security checkpoints.

5. PACK A SNACK - During road trips, an old-fashioned cooler loaded with drinks and snacks offers an instant eye-opener for drowsy drivers.

6. IDENTITY DOCUMENT PROWESS - You will be flying and don't have a positive identification yet, now is not the time to hesitate. Go get your documents processed as soon as possible.

7. ROAD RULES - A roadworthy car starts with good tires and air pressure, topped-off fluids and a healthy battery. If you're not up to diagnosing possible problems on your own, a pre-trip checkup is a must.

And when it is time to pack, be sure to load the car evenly and avoid blocking outward visibility.

An emergency kit complete with jumper cables, flares, a first aid kit and a jug of water is also advisable.

8. STAY HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS - Room rates and crowds swell exponentially during the Christmas and New Year weekends. Consider spending the holidays at home and plan your travels for when the costs, and crowds, are down. -

www. travel.aol.com

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