Top 7 Airport Faux Pas

The tickets are here, the taxi is booked and you’re all set for your holiday – now you just have to get to the departure gate unscathed. Here’s our hassle-free guide to airport etiquette so you can arrive on the other side of your journey relaxed and ready for fun.

Depressed traveller

1. Trying to take prohibited items onboard

It’s surprisingly easy to end up with an item in your hand luggage that shouldn’t be there – a bottle of water you thought would be a good idea for the flight; a pair of scissors that you forgot were at the bottom of the pencil case you grabbed on your way out the door; or a pair of eyebrow tweezers in your makeup bag that you had no idea could be considered an offensive weapon. Every day, hundreds of items are confiscated from unwary travellers by airport security staff – so make sure you check all the pockets in your handbag or hand luggage, and buy items like water and suncream once you’re safely flightside. And watch out for surprising items on the prohibited list – we once lost a delicious reblochon cheese that was deemed trop liquide by a Swiss security guard.

2. Going over your baggage allowance

Stuffing more into your suitcase than your baggage allowance permits can be a costly mistake to make – and an almighty pain to rectify, as you’ll have to either jettison excess items there and then or retire from the check-in queue to reorganise your belongings. Excess baggage problems are more likely on bargain flights, which typically have a lower allowance per person, so pack light and think twice about bringing heavy souvenirs home in your cabin baggage – it might be worth using a shipping service instead.

3. Wearing too much metal

It’s unlikely that you’ll want to travel in a suit of antique armour, but outfits featuring a lot of zips, studs or buckles will set off airport metal detectors and cause you a lot of unwanted hassle. Keep metal detailing to a minimum if you want a swift walk through security – and don’t forget shoes may need to be removed too, so avoid 16-hole laceups and choose something easy to slip off and on again. Don’t make jokes about drugs or bombs when passing through security – staff are obliged to investigate anything perceived to be a threat and you may be questioned or even arrested.

4. Getting too tipsy pre-flight

It might seem like a fun idea to get your holiday off to a flying start with a couple of rounds of margaritas – and nervous flyers in particular might like the idea of a shot of Dutch courage before the flight – but getting squiffy can mean you’re not paying attention to important information like gate changes and boarding calls. A couple of pints can also become very uncomfortable on the bladder once you’ve been sitting on the tarmac for forty minutes – it’s best to wait until takeoff before getting into the holiday spirit.

5. Being late to the gate

Seasoned travellers often wait for the last call before moseying up to their departure gate to avoid waiting around in a place with no amenities – but if you’re flying from an airport you don’t know well, it pays to check how far the gate is from the main departure lounge. Running through the airport with your name being called over the tannoy is not a good look for anyone – and if you’re very late, a flight crew on a tight schedule is very likely to take your luggage off and depart without you. In large international airports it can take 20 minutes or more to get from security to the gate, so check in advance and make sure you factor in enough time – and avoid falling asleep before you’re onboard!

6. Misplacing important travel documents

Everyone knows the most basic of travel mantras, “Passport, tickets, wallet”. You can get by in almost any country as long as you have these about your person – so don’t make the very real mistake of leaving your passport in the Terminal 4 toilets, or dropping your boarding pass while shopping in Duty Free. Early starts, jet lag and general travel stress can cause you to be dozier and less vigilant than usual, so make absolutely sure everything is where it’s meant to be before leaving for the airport and again after presenting your passport and tickets or boarding pass at check-in and security.

7. Going overboard with the smellies

Duty Free can be a beguiling place – so many lovely items to sample, sip and spray! But spare a thought for your fellow passengers when wandering through the fragrance aisle – excessive perfume or cologne can be a noxious thing to sit next to for eight hours. If you’re genuinely interested in testing a fragrance before purchase, stick to a small squirt on the wrist or inside elbow rather than dousing yourself in the scents of twenty back gardens. Your co-travellers will thank you for it.

Originally published at

Europe’s Best Hen and Stag Do Destinations

1. Berlin, Germany


Image by Zoetnet under Creative Commons license.

If your bride or groom is serious about their dance music, there’s only one place on the continent to go – Berlin, the clubbing capital of Europe. For no-holds-barred techno, head to converted power station Berghain on Friedrichshain in the East of the city, or for lighter house, disco and indie try Cookies on Friedrichstrasse in the centre. Should your dancing feet get tired there’s plenty more to experience in Berlin, from Trabant tours and the Brandenburg Gate to paintballing and indoor go-karting. The German capital is a city steeped in history, where you can party as hard as you want to.

Best for: dancing the night away

2. Dublin, Ireland

The friendly city of Dublin has long been a favourite of pre-wedding revellers year-round. In the winter, there are plenty of cosy firesides in the city’s many pubs where you can enjoy a slow, velvety pint of locally-brewed Guinness. Outdoorsy types will enjoy getting a round in on one of Dublin’s many spectacular golf courses, and there are lots of opportunities in the area for freshwater fly fishing. A visit to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Guinness brewery – find out what goes into the famous stout and then have fun sampling the end product!

Best for: a night on the craic

3. Soldeu, Andorra

Skiing, Andorra.

Is the bride or groom getting married between December and March? If you have an active group of friends and want to do something a bit more memorable than barhopping, try a short ski break in the stunning (and stunningly good value) resort of Soldeu in the Pyrenees. Blessed with an excellent snow record and a large ski area with over 50 runs to suit skiers and snowboarders at all ability levels, Soldeu is a great place to enjoy a sporty winter break. After sunset, there are plenty of apres-ski options from traditional inns to cocktail bars and a nightclub; and Caldea, Europe’s biggest thermal spa, will help the party look and feel their best before the big day.

Best for: winter weddings

4. Bodrum, Turkey

Bodrum, Turkey

Looking for a beach destination with a difference for a long weekend away? Picturesque Bodrum, on Turkey’s Aegean coast, offers golden sandy beaches and a warm welcome. Once you’ve soaked up the sun to your heart’s content there’s lots more to explore in this friendly resort – swimming, snorkelling and watersports; world-class shopping; and the fascinating archaeological sites of Ephesus and Didyma – great for history buffs to explore. In the evenings you can dine on delicious fresh-caught seafood and Turkish mezze – with or without live music and dancing.

Best for: beach babes and sun worshippers

5. Barcelona, Spain

Located on Spain’s sun-soaked Costa del Sol, Barcelona enjoys balmy weather year-round; but there’s far more to the city than its pleasant beach or a dip in the Mediterranean sea. Art lovers will enjoy an afternoon in the Picasso Museum, where thousands of paintings and sculptures by Spain’s most famous artist are housed in a palatial medieval building that is worth a visit in itself. Elsewhere, the works of Catalan artist Antonio Gaudi dominate the city, from the public gardens displaying his designs to the immense Sagrada Familia, which boasts superb views over Barcelona. A short train trip out of the city takes you to the mountains and the monastery of Montserrat – the cable car ride up is spectacular. And when it’s time to unwind at the end of the day, head to the main pedestrian thoroughfare Las Ramblas for a jug of sangria and a plate or three of tapas. Perfecto.

Best for: a weekend of culture

6. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam canals.

If the phrase “culture vulture” doesn’t describe your bride or groom tremendously well, you might prefer a more traditional stag or hen weekend in the hedonist’s paradise in the heart of The Netherlands. We could try to tell you that Amsterdam is a strikingly pretty city, with its network of waterways and attractive historic buildings; or that you can see priceless works of art by the Dutch Masters including Rembrandt and Vermeer in the Rijksmuseum. We know that’s not why you’re going to Amsterdam. That’s OK – we won’t tell.

Best for: classic debauchery

7. Krakow, Poland

The attractive former Polish capital city of Krakow is chock full of historical delights, from the colourful Wawel Cathedral to the narrow alleys of the Old Town. It’s also reputedly home to the highest density of bars in the world, with a typical pint costing a very pocket-friendly £1. Thrillseekers can enjoy a spot of white-water rafting on one of Europe’s biggest rapid courses; or if you’ve ever fancied yourself as a bit of a gunslinger, Krakow offers both target shooting and paintball. If that’s not your style, how about a more sedate cruise along the Vistula river?

Best for: Eastern European charm

8. Milan, Italy

Shopping in Milan

Image by Christopher John SSF under Creative Commons license.

Paris has its fans, but the true European capital of shopping is the lively north Italian city of Milan. Head to the stunning glass-roofed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II near the Duomo; this 19th is home to Prada’s flagship store as well as Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Just a short walk away, the Via della Spiga boasts Italian favourites Armani, Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana. If these stores are a little rich for your wallet, try factory outlet Il Salvagente on Via Fratelli Bronzetti in the east of the city for hefty discounts on a great range of designer gear – you and your party are sure to be the best-dressed guests at the wedding!

Best for: a pre-wedding spending spree

Originally posted at