1. Charge your phone on the way to the loo
Some airports have charging stations in public areas, and those airports are buildings of wondrous joy. Most airports don't care whether or not you need to charge devices mid-journey, unless you're one of the lucky ones with lounge access, in which case life is wonderful wherever you are. When you're desperate for a quick charge, you're more likely to find unguarded plug sockets in those long halls on the way to the loo than you are anywhere else. Just travel with a universal plug adaptor in your hand
luggage and you'll be fine. Or fly Emirates, which has USB connections in every seat, enabling you to charge your phone as you fly. I love Emirates.
If you're a gold level frequent flyer or you've bought a business/first class ticket, you'll have access to your airline's lounge and will already know how much nicer it makes flying. You lucky people can skip this one. For the rest of you, find out how much it costs to buy one-off lounge access and consider making it part of your holiday budget, especially if you have a long stopover somewhere. There's food and drink (quality and variety depend on the lounge, but there's always booze and soft drinks), free WiFi, showers, comfy seats. Some lounges have chairs where you can sleep, some have cinemas, indoor putting greens, spas... I always load up on magazines, snacks, and drinks for the plane, and the money I spend on doing that outside the lounge adds up to around what it costs to get in. Plus, you don't have to mix with the hoi polloi. At the Emirates lounge in Dubai, you can board your connecting plane without ever going back into the airport proper. Bliss.
3. Build an emergency pack
Everyone has different needs on a flight. I want to sleep as much as possible, so I never fly without several sets of earplugs and those sleepy eye masks. Planes are always too hot or too cold, so as well as wearing layers I bring a cardigan and a pashmina that I can use as extra blankets. Lip balm and Nurofen are essential, as headaches on planes suck balls. Extra layers aside, my in-flight emergency pack is smaller than my wallet, and even comes with me when I go short-haul. The recent trend for parents letting their sproglets watch things on iPads without headphones of any kind has made earplugs essential to my basic sanity/current lack of convictions for murder. Figure out what your in-flight essentials are and never travel without them.
4. Charity shops are your friend
I'm a voracious reader, but I also have a bad habit of breaking e-readers. I don't do it on purpose, but I just can't seem to keep the buggers alive. So instead of spending a fortune on new books all the time, or hauling library books around the world, I stock up on books from charity shops. When I'm done, I pass them on to friends, or leave them in hotels and airports for other people to find and read. The charity shops get my money, I don't spend a fortune, and I end up making space in my bag over the course of a trip. Win!
Forget about the booze and fags. Save cash and forget about annoying travel restrictions on your way out by stocking up on skincare and beauty products in the duty free.
Forget about the booze and fags. Save cash and forget about annoying travel restrictions on your way out by stocking up on skincare and beauty products in the duty free. The moisturiser and serum I use come to about Â£40 combined on the British high street. In duty free in some countries I can buy them for Â£6. But it's not just about duty free beauty - some countries have excellent home-grown products on the high street and in pharmacies that are either unavailable or painfully expensive over here. Do some pre-trip research, and Google 'cult beauty + France' to pick up tips on what to buy. South Korea is particularly good, but every country has a few local tricks up their sleeve.
* No airline anywhere in the world calls them air kilometres, but everywhere takes the piss out of the UK for not being metric. Go figure.