I am excited to launch a new series of posts with tips about stress-free travel to Australia. Each post will look at stress from a different angle. These tips are based upon my personal experience and work well for me when travelling to Australia alone.
Today’s focus is on the first day of travel.
After packing for your Australian Adventure you are now ready to step to the next crucial step. Leaving home and touching base in Australia. This step stretches over 24 hours, including getting from home to the airport, navigating your way within the airport, checking in, going through customs and security, to spending your time before boarding the plane and flying to Australia.
Speaking from experience, the first day of travel is the most difficult day of the whole trip, no matter how well you have prepared for your Australia Trip. On top of being in a “naturally anxious state of mind” often situations crop up unexpectedly that rob you of your energy and throw you out of balance. While I think it’s impossible to have a 100% stress-free travel on the first day, there are many ways to reduce stress when travelling to Australia and to enhance travel comfort.
25 Tips for Stress-free Travel to Australia
I have learnt to plan the double-time of what I normally plan for any other flight. I make sure I leave relaxed and stay relaxed as much as I can and finally I get armed with a good dose of patience.
Airport – Arrive 3 hours before boarding
On my first trip to Australia, I nearly missed my flight due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. From that experience, I have learnt a lesson and that’s why since then I try to fly with the same airline company for all flight segments. Secondly, I plan my journey to the airport to get there at least 3 hours before boarding. These are my best tips for a relaxed, stress-free first day of travel.
- Choose the best way to get to the airport, calculate the time and add on top 30-45 min for a stress-free journey.
- Check and have a train/bus/shuttle/taxi schedule confirmed the day before leaving. Book your ticket/journey.
- Research alternative ways to travel so as to have it prepared “just in case” you need to change it in the last minute.
- Inform family or friends of your planned journey to the airport or have them take you to the airport, should any incidents occur with delayed trains or missing connection.
- If you travel by car, check traffic, weather conditions, road works so as to pick a fast and safe drive. If the forecast is for bad weather conditions then consider travelling the day before your flight and spend a night close to the airport.
Getting at the airport 3-4 hours in advance it’s not a waste of time. First, you cannot afford to be late and miss your flight and secondly, there are plenty of opportunities to make good use of this time. Feeling good and being relaxed is vital to enhance your flight enjoyment and to increase your endurance on the plane.
Checking in – Be the first to drop off your baggage
Once you have reached the airport, make your way to the check-in/drop off counters of your airline and go through security immediately after that. Not all airports have a high standard of comfort. If you don’t know the airport, make research on the internet and take a virtual tour so that you have a picture of how much time it will take to go from A to B within the airport.
- Calculate the time needed to navigate within the airport, to reach your terminal and your gate. In some airport you might have to get on a shuttle train to connect to your terminal, some have shuttle-buses that run every 15-20 minutes.
- Check-in online “ALWAYS” either from home or from your mobile. This saves you the queue at the check-in counter and also allows you a faster drop-off of your checked baggage.
- Check again the baggage weight to be checked in and sizes of your handbag at your airline counters. Make sure your baggage is within the allowed weight restrictions. On this new blog post you can read more about baggage allowance for Australia.
- Drop off checked bags, make sure they are locked and labelled with your tags bearing your full name and phone number.
- Be the first, or in the first group, to drop off the luggage, so as to reduce to the minimum the waiting time. Having checked in your luggage is just a peace of mind. The sooner you drop it off the better you can roam around weight-free.
Airport Security Check – Be prepared
Once you have completed the first step of the airport procedure, the next step is going through security. It much depends on the country and airport procedure, not rarely I have waited in the queue for 30-45 minutes. And sometimes it can take longer, depending on the procedure. These 8 tips will help you get better organized.
- Have everything ready so that you don’t have to rummage in your bag when approaching the conveyor belt.
- Hold boarding pass and passport in your pockets and switch off mobile phones and put them into your handbag.
- Have the transparent zipper bag with up-to-10 bottles with max-100ml ready on top of your handbag.
- Empty water bottles and make sure you have no more liquids apart from those in the transparent zipper bag.
- Beware on transfer-flights to Australia you are not allowed to take any bottled water, even if you are in the transfer airport (after security). More about it on this post here.
- Keep the computer on a separate bag as you will have to take it out and have it scanned.
- Don’t wear any belt and check that there are no metal gadgets on your clothes as they might set off the alarm.
- Be prepared to take off shoes, if asked, and have them checked.
- Wear a jacket with a few pockets to help stuff things when recollecting your things.
Relax and walk till you drop
The faster you go through check-in and security the better and less stress you accumulate. Now it’s time to sit back and relax before boarding the plane. Feeling good and relaxed is crucial for any long flight. These are a few things I always do to keep myself active and relaxed.
- Walk, walk, walk as much as you can. This is a first exercise for your legs to prevent swelling and vein blood clots.
- Don’t sit if you can. Or sit just for 10 min max at a time. You will sit for at least 12-17 hours on the plane, so what’s the point of sitting down.
- Pack your handbags onto a trolley, take a stroll through the shopping malls.
- Find a resting area, if you love a bit more exercise, where you can have your fave work out.
- Pamper yourself with a drink or your fave meal. Buy yourself fine chocolate or a little gift.
- Try to hide away from the airport buzz and go to the lounge if your ticket/frequent flyer card entitles you to enter. Ask the airline counter if you can get a free upgrade.
- Find a standing free-wifi station where you can use the internet, check your mails, chat, phone and use social media before leaving.
- Drink plenty of water. Buy 1-2 plastic bottles to take with you and have them refilled on the plane.
These are the first 25 tips that will help reduce stress at the airport. Next time I will reveal how I get prepared for the long flight to Australia, how and what and how I pack my handbag, what I do to maintain healthy eating habits when travelling Australia.
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