Here are 12 tips for stress-free travel, as revealed by Judith Chalmers OBE

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Nearly a third of adults say booking a holiday never fails to put them in a good mood, while 25 per cent love the last day at work before a trip, research has found.

The poll of 2,000 adults found that they are happy when they wake up on the day of a holiday, and 23 per cent feel in the mood for adventure.

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Another 32 per cent enjoy nothing more than feeling the sun on their face when they finally step off the plane and into their holiday.

To celebrate summer getaways, Judith Chalmers, travel icon and host of Wish You Were Here, has pulled together handy hints for a stress-free trip – including appointing a group leader, packing light and learning a little lingo.

In the mood for adventure

She has been globetrotting for more than 50 years, covered over 744,000 miles and her advice is also to book things early, always have a back-up of print-out tickets – and take a comfy scarf.

She has also bagged a new and unusual role as ‘Chief Smile Officer’ at Heathrow Express – appointed to keep train travellers happy and help them have a smiley start.

Judith Chalmers said: “There are so many stories about delayed travel and hold ups, but let’s face it, we all still want to get away.

“There are some things you can do to give yourself the best chance of a smooth and stress-free journey, which is why I’ve teamed up with Heathrow Express to help everyone travel with a smile.

“Follow these tips and you’ll give yourself the best chance of a great trip, from start to finish.”

Mark Eastwood, commercial strategy lead at Heathrow Express said: “We are thrilled to welcome Judith Chalmers OBE to the Heathrow Express team.

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"Judith has already been on board sharing her tips and her smiles, and we hope they will spread to all passengers who get on-board.”

Judith Chalmers’ 12 top tips for happy travel

  1. Book early – keep it calm and carefree by booking your train, transfers and trips nice and early, so there’s no rush or panic come travel day. You’ll have more choice, a better price and may even get some perks thrown in.
  2. Print it out – most tickets have gone digital now, but this often brings a worry that the phone battery will go down, or you can’t find where you saved the documents. Some of us don’t have smart phones either, so bring a paper back up. Print your tickets and release the stress, and take a pic of your passport too…. Just in case!
  1. Group leader – when travelling with friends and family, one person will often become the designated leader and keep hold of tickets and boarding passes. It’s wise to double up and keep copies of each other’s vitals. Set up a group chat and share everyone’s boarding passes, passports, accommodation details , booking references and the itinerary, then there are no worries or arguments.
  1. Be comfortable – you’re going to be sitting and walking for however long it takes to get to your destination, so you don’t want to do that in tight jeans. Loose, comfy clothing will help you keep that lovely smile!
  2. Wrap up – and by this, I don’t mean wear a big coat! I mean bring a pashmina wrap or comfy scarf with you for the journey, as it will stop the draughts getting to you, and can double up as a pillow. As well, or course, as being a fashion accessory.
  3. Be Safe – while most countries no longer have Covid procedures in place, you might want to keep hand sanitizer and a mask handy, just to be sure.
  4. Stay connected – keep your charger in your hand luggage. Mobile phones weren’t even a thing when I started travelling, but they are certainly an absolute essential now, what with the built-in camera and maps. And if your battery is running low, you don’t want to dig too deep to find the charger.
  5. Pack light, use wheels – we’ve all seen the images of cases waiting or their owners in airports, and we’ve all heard stories of cases going missing. If possible, travel with just hand luggage and keep it with you. You’ll sail through the airport at the other end too.
  6. A little lingo goes a long way – before you arrive at your destination, you should at least learn how to say hello, goodbye and thank you in the local language. Not only will you feel a good when chatting to locals or ordering at the bar, but you’ll be spreading a smile too. And there’s nothing nicer than that.
  7. Keep little minds busy – if you’re travelling with kids, the best way to keep them quiet is to keep them occupied. A book or tablet to read or play games, an activity pack, even their favourite snacks in little tubs. Anything to keep them happy will make your journey more smiley.
  8. To tourist or not to tourist – Yes, we are all tourists. But that doesn’t mean we have to stick to tourist restaurants. Take a side street, go off the main strip, and sample food where the locals eat. You’ll generally eat better, cheaper and more authentically.
  9. Travel more – the best way to travel with a smile is to TRAVEL MORE. There’s a big and wonderful world out there, and every destination is another reason to smile.
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