Most of us have experienced the dreaded moment of realisation before flying: there’s a holiday essential that hasn’t been packed or taken care of. Luckily, major UK airports are equipped to tackle this conundrum. The expanse of retail offerings nowadays means that busy holidaymakers can grab last-minute necessities before jetting off – allowing for a better, more relaxed travel experience.
Lea Claxton, London Stansted Airport’s Head of Retail, shares her tips on grabbing holiday essentials before a break and how to utilise airport facilities to the fullest.
Forgotten travel essential: shampoo
Go grab some miniature toiletries from Boots. If you only have a very small amount of space in your carry-on, miniature toiletries will save you worrying about whether you’ll get decent toiletries in your hotel – something that’s nice to discover on arrival, but never a guarantee. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to get a nice set of shampoo and conditioner at your hotel, you can always bring them home with you in your carry on - much better than lugging round a larger bottle that would have to go in a suitcase to pass through the return airport.
Whilst you’re there…
Buy some repairing eye spray. One of the most underrated items for flying, this nifty item soothes dry and irritated eyes - ideal for counteracting harsh aeroplane air conditioning. Simply spray over closed lids and let the hydrating formula sink in. You can find a number of different brands in Boots, so don’t get on your flight without it!
You could also pick up a medication organiser. Large medication packets and bottles can take up lots of valuable space in your hand luggage; instead, use a pill organiser to divide up your medication per day. These neat weekly pill dividers are hand luggage sized and can be picked up for less than £5 from Boots within the airport terminal.
Our tips to survive long haul flights
Forgotten travel essential: books
Whether you’re preparing for a long-haul journey or just relaxing in the terminal before boarding a shorter flight, you need a good page turner to pass the time. If you use your holiday to tick off titles from your reading list, pop into WHSmith which usually has offers on best-sellers, or nip into Dixons Travel to get an e-reader to save precious hand luggage space instead of packing in five books.
Whilst you’re there…
Both WHSmith and Dixons travel sell travel adaptors. There’s no denying that a travel adaptor is a core item for any trip. Unfortunately, many of us don’t manage to find the time to scour the shops for one before leaving the country. Now, picking up a travel adaptor couldn’t be easier; airports tend to have them stocked as standard, most of which come with integrated USB sockets meaning that you can charge multiple items simultaneously – perfect for making sure your new e-reader is always charged without having to siphon power from your phone or camera.
Our favourite essential gadgets for travel
Forgotten travel essential: circulation socks
For those who struggle with long-haul journeys or have a medical need, flight socks are a must. Forgetting to bring these along can lead to extreme discomfort in the legs and other extremities. Flight socks can often be purchased from Boots in the terminal of the airport.
Whilst you’re there…
Track down some gel insoles. Weekends away are often filled with sightseeing and exploring the city by foot. Inevitably, this can wreak havoc on the soles. Gel insoles are specifically designed to counteract this. They work to support the arch of the foot and provide comfort with each step – perfect for activity-based breaks. Pick up a pack from Boots before hopping on board your flight.
Lea Claxton’s top tip
Utilise ‘Click & Collect’ services
“If your flight is approaching and you are desperately in need of an item, take a pre-emptive approach and utilise ‘Click & Collect’. At London Stansted you can place an order for the latest electronics, for instance, and collect them in the main terminal before you board. You could even benefit from exclusive online offers; for instance, London Stansted’s deal for two Fast Track tickets and a hot drink when you Click & Collect. It’s fast, convenient and straightforward.”