Plane and Simple

travelTips and tricks from seasoned travellers

The JAN team has been fortunate to experience a lot of exciting travel opportunities and world class destinations in our careers, and while the excitement of exploring new cultures and locations can never get old, the logistics of traveling can prove to be a bit… tiring. travel

In the golden era of travel (think 1950s and 60s) transport like air travel was closer to a cocktail party in the air than it was a necessity to get from place A to B. Cabin crew were dressed and styled like professional models about to hit the runway, you would be served a seven course meal, and almost everyone flying would be better dressed for a theatre performance by modern standard. Today, flying is more synonymous with travel pajamas, doughnut pillows, screaming babies, stale pretzels and fighting for arm rests. Luckily, once you’ve travelled enough you realise there are several tips and tricks that can help the experience run a bit more smoothly from start to finish, here are some of the team’s go-to tips for your next trip! travel

Group CEO Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen is the definition of an experienced traveller

– Travelling can be a bit of a cut throat experience, and I always try to avoid getting stuck behind a big family or group during check-in to avoid long waits and delays. It just takes a little bit of scouting to spy who you should power walk past on your way to the gate to avoid a bottle neck (respectfully of course!)

– If you travel regularly like me, there are highlights you can look forward to on every trip, for me it’s a sandwich at JOE and the JUICE. Small indulgences or comforts on a long haul trip are the best way to show some kindness to yourself.

– Avoid packing delicate items in your main suitcase and always rather wrap it/ them up safely in your hand luggage or disclose that it’s a fragile item upon check-in. Never pack 16 crystal glasses in your suitcase… don’t ask me how I know that.

– At the risk of sounding unfriendly, never make eye contact at customs unless you want to get pulled over for a fun little bag check that will make you feel like you’re smuggling diamonds when you really have a few travel peanuts in your bag.

– We all want to look our best and most graceful in public, I understand, but sometimes you just have to run to catch a flight, dignity be damned, and that’s ok. Yet another reason why traveling in comfy shoes is important!

Group Editor Hanfred Rauch is the number one fan of compression socks

-Keep your in-flight jewellery to a minimum, as too much heavy metal might wreak havoc on your time at the security gates. The same goes for belts, the less metal the better.

-Compression socks might not be the sexiest thing since lederhosen, but your ankles will thank you when you get to the other side. Taking regular walks and sitting without crossing your legs will also help you avoid swelling.

-Take an empty refillable bottle onto the plane with you to stay hydrated. Most airlines allow you to refill your bottle in the galley as often as you like.

-Keep your pre-flight sodium intake to a minimum. All airline food is essentially too high in salt. Also, watch your coffee intake, it can dehydrate you.

-Not a light traveller? Wear a multi-pocketed utility vest or jacket to stow away slightly heavier items that might tip the scale on your carry-on weight allowance. Fair warning: some check-in stewards will see you coming so play it cool.

JAN Group COO Julia Pretorius offers advice to avoid everyone’s no.1 flying fear, the crying infant.

-Pack small items like underwear and device chargers inside your shoes, it’s a real space saver!

-I always take my own noise canceling headphones on long haul flights. Airplane earphones don’t cancel out the noise of loud kids, passenger conversations or the sound of the person next to you snoring…

-If the time zone you’re traveling to is similar to the one you are traveling from, you can minimise jet lag by sticking to routine while in transit. Go to sleep at your normal bedtime and set your alarm to wake up at your usual time. Your body will thank you.

-Pack thick socks into your carry-on so that you can slip off your shoes but still keep your feet warm in-flight.

-If you’re flying with babies you should know that they are known for crying on planes because of the air pressure on their ears. Keep at least two bottles with juice or water on hand. Give one bottle as the plane takes off and the other when it has started to descend. The action of drinking from a bottle will relieve the pressure – i.e. no crying baby!

With 15 years of cruise ship experience, our Head of Retail, E-Commerce and Office Manager Anne-Marie De Bruin has some amazing insight into life at sea.

-Be smart about shoes and pack up to three pairs. These are active shoes, flip flops and dressy shoes for the evenings. Plus you should always pack a jacket, you never know what the weather will be like at sea.

-Go to the spa on port days. There are almost always special offers available.

-Try to catch the sunrise or sunset at least once while onboard.

-Read your daily ship program every day or you might miss something special.

-Make breakfast an occasion. Enjoy a change from the bustle of the buffet for a more serene experience in the main restaurant, where you’ll enjoy table service with yummy dishes.

-Make the most of the experience and plan specialty dining. For example, if there’s a sunset while sailing away from somewhere exceptionally beautiful, like Santorini, book something like a rooftop restaurant that will offer an exceptional view

-Avoid the morning rush on port days. Wait until the crowds have dispersed and get off at your leisure. You’ll avoid all the lines.

Head of Video and the JAN Innovation Academy Jenna Lemmer has the lowdown on feeling fabulous mid-flight

-Pack clothing that you love and wear often. Don’t test out weird outfits or wear new shoes halfway across the world, unless you have an ample supply of plasters available.

-Pack sheet face masks for long flights. They’ll keep your skin hydrated and always make for good laughs or at least a few good photos. Also, pack essential oil roller bottles to freshen up on long flights!

-Stock up on your favourite snacks at duty-free so that you are not at the mercy of on-board catering.

-Download the relevant Google Maps data for the regions you’ll be navigating before you leave your home country so that you can access them without internet connection and won’t get stuck without directions.

-Walk as much and as far as you can to really get to know a city. Many international cities offer walking tours as a way to get the lay of the land and are either really inexpensive or completely free, with the option to tip.

-If you shop till you drop overseas, remember you can claim tax back on your purchases at the airport as a foreigner!

Online Editor Tegan Mouton begs you to do your visa research

-I cannot stress this enough, ensure that your passport and visas are compliant for whatever your travel itinerary includes. As an example, people travelling with a South African passport and flying via the UK for a period shorter than 48 hours will need a transit visa regardless of whether or not you’re planning on leaving the airport or just sitting in an airport lounge for an hour. (Those travelling with a current US Visa in their passport are exempt from this). Don’t let a minor detail like this ruin your trip!

-Always pack a change of essential clothes (underwear, socks, a T-Shirt) in your luggage in the instance of a cancelled flight or lost luggage. Also pack essential toiletries like your deodorant, face wash and toothpaste (all under 100ml) if you need to freshen up in an airplane bathroom. 

-Be wary of public wifi networks like those found in airports, these are notoriously unsafe. Always scrutinise the name of a network before you connect, does the address have https (s for secure) in it? Is the name of the network spelt correctly and presented professionally? Is the padlock icon present next to the web address? Try to avoid accessing your sensitive or financial information while on any public network, and consider using a VPN app to encrypt your information and interactions.

-If you happen to miss two consecutive flights and have a full emotional breakdown in the middle of a Starbucks it will make for a good dinner party story in the future, but it’s probably best to take it to a bathroom stall in the moment to avoid scaring all the other patrons. Don’t ask me how I know this…