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 on 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 ready to take the next crucial step. You were 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, and spending time before boarding the plane and flying to Australia.
Speaking from experience, the first day of travel is the most challenging 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,” situations often crop up unexpectedly that rob you of your energy and throw you out of balance. While I think it’s impossible to have 100% stress-free time 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
I have learnt to plan the double time of what I usually plan for any other flight. I make sure I leave relaxed and stay relaxed as much as possible, and finally, I get armed with a good dose of patience.
Airport – Arrive 3 hours before boarding
I nearly missed my flight on my first trip to Australia due to unfortunate circumstances. From that experience, I have learnt a lesson, and since then, I have tried 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 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 to have it prepared “just in case” you need to change it at the last minute.
- Inform family or friends of your planned journey to the airport or have them take you there, should any incidents occur with delayed trains or lost connection.
- If you travel by car, check traffic, weather conditions, and road works to pick a fast and safe drive. If the forecast is for bad weather conditions, consider travelling the day before your flight and staying close to the airport.
Getting to the airport 3-4 hours before is not a waste of time. First, you cannot afford to be late and miss your flight; secondly, there are plenty of opportunities to make good use of this time. Feeling good and relaxed is vital to enhance your flight enjoyment and 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 your airline’s check-in/drop-off counters and go through security immediately after that. Not all airports have a high standard of comfort. If you don’t know the airport, research on the internet and take a virtual tour to show how long 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. You might have to get on a shuttle train in some airports 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 the handbag sizes at your airline counters. Make sure your baggage is within the allowed weight restrictions. In this post, you can read more about baggage allowance for Australia.
- Drop off checked bags, and 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 to reduce to the minimum the waiting time. Having checked in your luggage is just 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 depends much on the country and airport procedure; not rarely have I waited in the queue for 30-45 minutes. And sometimes, it can take longer. These eight tips will help you get better organized.
- Have everything ready, so you don’t have to rummage in your bag when approaching the conveyor belt.
- Hold boarding passes and passports 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 ensure you have no more liquids than those in the transparent zipper bag.
- Beware, on connecting flights to Australia, you cannot take any bottled water, even if you are in the transfer airport (after security)—more about what you can pack in your luggage.
- Keep the computer in a separate bag. They will scan it.
- Don’t wear belts; 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 comfortable.
- Walk, walk, walk as much as you can. This is the 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 on the plane for at least 12-17 hours, so what’s the point of sitting down?
- Pack your handbags onto a trolley, and stroll through the shopping malls.
- Find a resting area, if you love a bit more exercise, where you can have your fave workout.
- Pamper yourself with a drink or your fave meal. Buy yourself fine chocolate or a little gift.
- Avoid 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 mail, chat, phone and use social media before leaving.
- Drink plenty of water. Buy 1-2 plastic bottles with you and have them refilled on the plane.
These are the first 25 tips to help reduce stress at the airport.
Check how I prepared for the long flight to Australia, how and how I packed my handbag, and what I do to maintain healthy eating habits when travelling Australia.
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