But Sweden’s Foreign Ministry recently lifted its advice to avoid non-necessary travel, which has been in place since March 2020. Whether you’re part of a family with kids desperate to see their grandparents, a single person who has been cut off from friends and family overseas, or an entrepreneur who needs to see investors or clients, this could be the perfect time to travel again.
Indeed, passenger numbers have hit the highest level since the start of the pandemic, with more and more people returning to the skies. According to Swedavia, which runs Sweden’s major airports, air travel continued to recover for the second straight month in August.
If you’re now ready to fly again, here are some essential tips, presented in partnership with Arlanda express, for making your experience easier and less stressful when going to or from Stockholm. Travel is meant to be fun, right?
1. Being prepared means being Covid-prepared.
The last thing you want is to book your flights but be turned away at the airport for not having all the requisite documentation and certificates. For instance, the EU Covid certificate is now available, which should be sufficient for travel within the EU and to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
If you’ve been vaccinated, you can download your digital vaccination certificate if you have an approved form of Swedish e-identification, such as Bank ID. However, it’s still important to check all protocols related to Covid-19 for your airline and destination in terms of testing, masks and any local restrictions or recommendations.
2. Check the basics if it’s years since you’ve flown
Have everything ready the night before you travel. This is always good advice but perhaps especially now. If you think you know where your passport is but haven’t checked, go and find it right away. Not sure of the terminal? Or the precise departure time? Give yourself some peace of mind and double check!
If you feel fully prepared the night before you travel (at the latest!), all you have to worry about is the actual trip, not where all the essential documents (or downloads) are.
3. Get to and from the airport fast!
One way to suck some stress out of the travelling process is to avoid busy roads when you’re on your way to the airport. You may feel it could be better to avoid any roads. You really don’t want traffic snarls eating into your travel time.
Depending on where you live and your circumstances, it might be wise to invest in the certainty that rail travel can offer. If you choose to take Arlanda express, you can ensure you know exactly when you’ll arrive at the airport. You can also be sure of getting a good seat to enjoy the views as you speed north out of Stockholm, perhaps while enjoying a well-deserved cup of coffee.
Travelling to Arlanda by road can come to seem like a long journey, as it’s 40km or more from many parts of Stockholm. Arlanda express takes only 18 minutes to transport you from central Stockholm to Arlanda. Just 18 – not 40 or 60. Upon your return from Arlanda, you’ll want a little calm – not trouble finding a taxi, more traffic delays or finding there are no parking places within 10 minutes of your home.
This is even more vital if it’s not only yourself you need to think about. If you have children travelling with you, they travel for free on Arlanda express until they turn 18. A family of five, for example, can travel to or from Arlanda for just 379 Swedish kronor – or less than 76 kronor per person. If it’s just two of you, or you’re travelling with a few friends or colleagues, there are still deep discounts available.
4. Don’t forget your entertainment for the plane
One of the unheralded joys of preparing to travel is assembling your array of entertainment for the journey. If you have an e-reader, buy yourself a couple of e-books; if you have a tablet, download a new TV series or a couple of movies you’ve been meaning to watch, and if you have access to Spotify or a digital audio player, download some tracks from that artist you’ve been wanting to check out.
Or, if you just want to relax, make sure you have your noise-cancelling headphones, a travel pillow and a book packed in your hand luggage.
5. Think ahead when travelling with kids
Travelling with children means you have to be extra well-prepared, even as restrictions are being relaxed. For example, you could book an early morning departure, as these flights are usually less full and far less stressful and they depart when the airport isn’t as crowded.
Also, dress the younger kids in loose layers, preferably without buttons, studs, or anything that could prevent a sudden, last-minute dash to the bathroom – there are rarely laundry facilities in airports. And when you pack, make sure items that need to be removed during the security check are easily accessible.
You could also start your journey in a way that’s bound to get your kids tingling with excitement – a 200km/h train ride with Arlanda express.
6. Make conscious choices
Are you a conscious traveller? Do you feel guilty about your carbon footprint? This may be the very best reason to avoid taking a car or taxi to Arlanda. Instead book a ticket with Arlanda express, whose trains are operated 100 percent on green electricity that carries the “Good Environmental Choice” label.
This means the electricity is derived from renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, wind power, and biofuels. Did you know that, apart from actually cycling to Arlanda (try doing that with kids!), taking the train generates the lowest emissions. It’s the best practical way to travel from an environmental perspective.