December 8, 2022


Qualified food specialists

‘Headphones make food taste better!’: 10 readers’ tips for a better holiday | Summer holidays

5 min read

Sound off and eat well

Noise-cancelling headphones are my most cherished luggage. On busy trains, planes and ferries they block out the thrum of engines, the cries of babies and the sounds leaking from other people’s headsets. They allow me to be entertained by music, podcasts or audiobooks when turbulence, bumpy tracks or heavy swell make reading impossible. Most importantly, they make food taste better! Taste is affected by hearing, and the background engine drone is one reason aeroplane food tastes so bland. I pop on my headphones and, if not haute cuisine, the food does develop taste.
Debbie Rolls

Don’t rely on local internet

Tourists using navigation app on the mobile phone.
Using maps offline can be very useful. Photograph: Sergey Nivens/Alamy

My top tip is to download an app like and the relevant map for the place you are visiting before you leave. Then when you arrive if you haven’t got internet, or are worried about how much connecting will cost, you still can find your way around – it will even locate you on the map.


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Journey into the imagination

Glen Coe.
Glen Coe. Photograph: Mark Greenwood/Alamy

The journey from Hertfordshire to the Hebrides is long and arduous. The holiday, however, begins at Loch Lomond. From here, the spectacular scenery of every loch, glen and mountain peak has a different character. We make up stories imagining the brutal battles in the eerie mist at Glen Coe, the bombardments at Eilean Donan Castle during the Jacobite uprising, or the “little folk” who live among the cathedrals of conifers at Glen Garry. The wildlife changes every step of the way: curlews in the lowlands, eagles in the highlands … and is that an otter or just a rock or piece of seaweed?
Vanessa Wright

Keep your boarding card handy

jack russell dog waiting in airport terminal ready to board the airplane
Where to put documents when in the airport can be quite a challenge. Photograph: Javier Brosch/Alamy

At the airport, your passport and boarding card always need to be handy, but it’s difficult to keep holding them. My husband simply wears his “airport shirt” with a suitably sized top pocket for these.
Valerie Seal

Seek out the best ice-cream beforehand

Find the best ice-cream in town
Always find out where the best ice-cream in town is … Photograph: Cavan Images/Getty

I always plan ahead, research the area and write a list of useful things in my travelling notepad such as directions, tips, places to see and do or the place to try wonderful ice-cream or cake. It stays in my handbag or backpack for when I need it and saves time and effort when I reach the destination. It also means I remember to try the best ice-cream in town! I don’t have to follow it, but it is there to ensure I see and do the most I can.
Victoria Stevens

Think outfits not clothes

Packing for a coordinated wardrobe. Photograph: Kanchana Chitkhamma/Getty Images

For me, my biggest tip is packing a coordinating wardrobe. Each item must be able to mix and match within my capsule wardrobe. I lay out all the clothes I think I want to take, trousers, skirts and dresses together, then see how many of the tops can be worn with multiple items. If they can’t make at least two outfits they are discarded. Add some scarves and jewellery to change the look, and neutral shoes that can go with everything.

Travel in easygoing style

Railroad tracks with train in mountains of Lavaux Vineyard, Switzerland
Let the changing landscape slide by your window (Lake Geneva pictured). Photograph: Yevgen Romanenko/Getty Images

Don’t fly. Enjoy a glass of prosecco on the sundeck while you set sail on a ferry. Indulge in good food followed by a boogie on the dancefloor, and let the gentle waves rock you to sleep. Alternatively take the train and let the changing landscape slide by your window: with only one change in Paris, you can arrive the next day in Venice, Barcelona or one of dozens of destinations. For a stress-free journey, buy an Interrail ticket and only pay extra for your seat reservation – you can plan your trip at Seat 61.
Monique Gadella

There’s no rush

Slow rural trains, such as this one in Bulgaria offer the best experiences.
Slow rural trains, such as this one in Bulgaria, offer rich experiences. Photograph: John Wreford/Alamy

Go slow and take it easy on holiday. A lifetime of this simple holiday philosophy has given me years of enjoyable trips alone and with friends and family. Wait until everyone has got off the train, coach or plane – don’t join in the stampede for the exit. Decades of strolling down the aisles (no one minds if you saunter through first class as if you own it at the end of a journey) has given me the chance to pick up discarded novels and magazines for holiday reading later. Wherever I am, I take the slower, regional trains: you see more, get local company and save money. Drive at slower speeds and stop frequently – enjoy the journey and the destination.
Nigel Cox

Go solo

woman on beach
Photograph: Alamy

There is one simple way to make holidaying easier: travel alone! Price? Whatever you want to pay. Where? Anywhere you want to go. It is less stress not having to worry about other people. Children – send them off to summer camp or away with their school. Partner or friends – let them make their own way and meet them when you get there.

Play the game

A white Fiat Abart car
Number plate games can make motorway journeys go a bit quicker. Photograph: Alamy

Playing the number plate game is one way to relieve the tedium of long car journeys. The idea is to treat the three consecutive letters in UK number plates as three-letter abbreviations and make up what they could stand for. For example, BFC could be Big Friendly Car. Kudos for the creator of the most inventive or humorous suggestions. Registrations including ‘X’s and ‘V’s add an extra challenge – there seem to be a lot of those. Of course, types of answer vary depending on children’s (or adults’) ages. My children particularly enjoyed it when letters corresponded with siblings’ initials…
Sharon Pinner

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