Taking the stress out of summer travel: why navigation holds the key to your holiday happiness

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We get to travel a lot with our work, but at this time of year we, like you no doubt, are looking forward to doing a little travelling of our own – and leaving the work behind.

There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a summer holiday, putting the out-of-office on, ditching the laptop and the prospect of beckoning sun, sea, and relaxation. But there’s one crucial element that can turn the getaway dream into a navigational nightmare: poor signage.

Summer holidays should be a time to rejuvenate. But we’re all too familiar with the experience of squinting at confusing airport signs or hopelessly wandering around airport car parks.

The airport labyrinth: setting the right course

First up, the airport. A daunting maze of terminals, lounges and gates, the airport oftens feels more like a labyrinth than a gateway to relaxation. Signage in airports can make or break this experience.

Then there’s the car park. Whether it’s finding your designated parking space for the week or dropping off your hire car at the end of the stay, airport car parks are too vast and unfamiliar to expect users to navigate from memory.

Because of their scale, the best signage solutions for spaces on this scale involve colour-coding and segregating spaces into zones. Technological interventions can also help with spaces on this scale, and we anticipate that it won’t be long before QR codes – already used to give access to car parks – will be used in airports to help you save your car’s location on your phone.

The global railways: colours and symbols save the day

Touch down in a new country and suddenly you’re faced with a new transport system.

Ever been in Tokyo during rush hour? Tokyo’s metro system could be overwhelming but the use of colour-coding routes turns what could be a confusing experience into a fairly smooth ride.

As well as colours, when you’re already dealing with a language barrier intuitive icons on signs can be your best travel buddy. Well-designed icons transcend language barriers, guiding users through spaces without the need for translation.

When the written word fails, a symbol can say it all.

The baggage carousel waltz: when luggage goes astray

Ah, luggage. The anticipation of seeing your trusty suitcase emerge on the conveyor belt, only for it to… not appear.

It happens to the best of us. This is where standout signage swoops in as the unsung hero. Finding the lost luggage counter shouldn’t be harder than tracking down a needle in a haystack. Signage in these high-stress situations needs to not only stand out but also calm the frantic traveller. Bold, clear and intuitive messaging is key to help travellers navigate stressful situations.

The littlest voyagers: meeting children’s needs in transit

Of course, we can’t forget about the kids. Nothing tests your patience more than a tired child in unfamiliar territory. Their needs often seem (and sound) immediate, and the right signage can arm carers with what they need to respond quickly and avert meltdowns.

Whether it’s locating the nearest bathroom, a place to grab a quick bite, or the kid’s play area, prompt and clear signage can mean the difference between a tantrum and a contented tot.

Airports and transport hubs could benefit from zones dedicated to family needs. Clear signage leading to these zones, utilising warm, kid-friendly colours and symbols, can transform the travel experience for parents and children alike.

Signage – your unsung holiday hero

Signage might not be atop your holiday checklist but its role in ensuring a seamless journey is monumental. Whether you’re navigating the sprawling corridors of an airport or trying to catch a train in a foreign city, clear, strategic, and effective signage guides, reassures and can even inject a dash of joy into our travels.

Here at Placemarque, we believe in a world where getting lost should be a choice. A result of wanderings and exploration, not a result of confusing signs.

Being lost in the old town of Florence? A whimsical adventure. Lost in an airport? A preventable challenge.

We help people navigate with confidence and enjoy every step of their journey. Get in touch if you need help making your place easy-to-navigate.

Wishing you all a hassle-free summer holiday from all of us at Placemarque!

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