You worked hard for your holiday. Now it’s time to make it one to remember – and for all the right reasons. Here are our top tips for a hassle-free summer getaway, from shortcuts and freebies to upgrades worth splashing out on. So when you come to set your out-of-office, you can be sure it’s really time to relax.
Before you set out
Some of us start packing a week in advance using a reusable list stored in the cloud. Others leave it until the morning of travel, then spend half an hour winging it. Either way, one thing’s for sure – nothing cramps your style like a case full of creased collars and burst toothpaste.
So make like the cabin crew – nobody packs a travel bag more often, and yet has to look awesome on a daily basis. We asked airline staff for their top tips in making our ‘How to pack like a pro’ film. Seven years on, it’s still one of the most popular videos we’ve ever published.
There are plenty of online tools to help you plan a route or buy a train ticket, but how do you choose the best travel option to get here? Check out our recently updated Journey Planner and you’ll find more door-to-door travel options than you can shake a stick at. Bookmark your route and it’s at your fingertips when you need it, complete with maps and the latest traffic updates.
Budget travel tips
There’s plenty you can do at Heathrow without spending a single penny. Here are some freebies and discounts you might not have known about:
- Escape the crowd: There’s a free Relaxation Room in Terminal 3 and our View Heathrow observation deck in Terminal 4.
- Family time: All our departure lounges have free children’s play areas. Children go free on Heathrow Express trains to and from London Paddington. And don’t miss our ever-popular Kids Eat Free offer.
- Have a makeover: choose a free beauty consultation at World Duty Free.
- Free Wi-Fi: No ifs or buts, just free wireless internet for as long as you’re here. There are free charging stations in every departure lounge, too.
- Study your destination: Get a free in-depth destination guide for wherever you’re heading.
- Parking: It’s always cheaper to book in advance. You can also find great deals if you book a nearby hotel together with your airport parking – see our hotel and parking package comparison engine.
- Earn rewards: If you travel frequently, collect Heathrow Rewards points on your purchases. Because points mean prizes rewards.
Smart upgrades = smoother journeys
Sorry, we can’t offer you a bump up to Business Class. But a few well-chosen upgrades can really transform your journey. Here are some great ways to sidestep holiday hassle without blowing your holiday budget.
- Fly through security: We’re now offering a Fast Track security service, giving you priority at security control.
- Relax in a lounge: These days, airport lounges aren’t just for frequent flyers. Anyone can enjoy peace, quiet and complimentary refreshments for a modest fee, and some of our lounges offer luxurious extras including spas, showers and bedrooms. Compare Heathrow lounges
- Personal shoppers: Our stylist-trained retail gurus can save you the time and bother of trekking round the shops. There’s no charge for the service, either. Book a personal shopper
- In-flight picnics: If you’re not a fan of airline food, plenty of Heathrow restaurants can create a take-away to carry on board. Take Onboard
- Pre-order lunch: Use our app to order ahead, then simply collect when you get to the departure lounge. All for no extra charge. Pre-order food and drink
No expense spared
Ever wondered how the super-rich do Heathrow? If you aren’t holding a first-class ticket you might never even see them. Here’s what you didn’t know that you didn’t know.
- VIP Service: a private, personal service for the world’s most discerning travellers. VIP passengers get their own personal lounge, where bag check and security are taken care of, before being driven to their flight in a luxury limousine. heathrowvip.com
- Heathrow chauffeur service: A fixed-price transfer by executive or luxury vehicle, to or from any UK destination. Book online with chauffeurit
- Terminal 5’s First Wing: a separate, exclusive entrance for British Airways’ premium passengers. BritishAirways.com
- Royal suites for the Royal Family, diplomats and heads of government.
And finally …
• British? Don’t forget your tea bags. They just aren’t the same anywhere else.
(You can always pick some up at Fortnum & Mason if you forget)
• Remember where you parked! Take plenty of photos, or use the ‘car finder’ kiosks in the car park.
• Proper preparation saves time at security – check the rules before you pack.
• Don’t carry heavy duty-free purchases away on holiday. Collect them when you get back.
• Passport. Driving licence. European health card. Obvs.
Bon voyage! Enjoy your summer break, wherever you’re going, and don’t forget to share your favourite travel tips in the comments.