While choosing your holiday destination is fun, a lot of time and effort goes into planning a hassle-free trip. Beyond the dreaded admin work and trying to pack as lightly as you can, there’s also a lot to consider when mapping out your itinerary and navigating the airport like a pro. Whether you’re a first-time traveller or a frequent flyer, journeying from domestic or international airports, there’s something in this guide for everyone to make use of in 2024!
Plan ahead and get the admin stuff sorted
Preparation is key! The more you plan, the smoother you’ll travel. Before booking any flights, make sure you understand the visa regulations of your destination country. The pandemic years have had a huge impact on who can travel where and how, so always check on what rules are in place, even if you’ve had no issues in the past. Along with this, make copies of all your documents and keep them in different pieces of luggage. We’re talking tickets for flights, passports, visas and accommodation — you never know when these copies could come in handy, especially in emergencies!
Along with booking flights and travel insurance, get a gauge of how best to pay for things in your holiday destination of choice. Here at home, card is king, but that won’t be the case everywhere. Be sure to exchange cash based on what’s recommended for that location and bring along an international credit card. If you’re travelling overseas, it’s also a good idea to scope out where to purchase a SIM card when you arrive. These are often readily available at airports but beware of scams and look out for sellers that you know are legitimate.
Scope out the best accommodation on the block
When it comes to accommodation, everyone has their preferences. Some seek out the budget option, whereas others won’t settle for anything short of luxury. One thing that we can universally agree on, however, is that location matters. It’s important to research your destination thoroughly and understand which areas are best suited for your needs.
Found a hostel or suite that you love? Great! Now read through the reviews. You may come across the odd one-star review that doesn’t match the others, but if you have multiple with the same problems then re-evaluate. Top tip: check out those amenities too! Accommodation pictures can be misleading and there’s nothing worse than having to stay in a windowless room or share a bathroom unexpectedly.
Pack your luggage with purpose
To some it’s a nightmare, to others it’s an alternative form of therapy. Whichever side of the fence you sit, the way you pack your luggage can have a big impact on the overall enjoyability of your trip. If you struggle with overpacking, we recommend enforcing the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method, which limits you to five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. It’s also a great idea to roll smaller items like shirts instead of folding them, to save space and also make it easier to reach items more efficiently — great if you’re moving between hotels and don’t have the time to settle in properly.
When booking your flights, pay attention to your luggage allowance and stick to it to avoid additional, unnecessary fines at the airport. It’s worth investing in a portable travel scale too, so you can check your bag’s weight before flying back home and choose to pay for (much cheaper) additional luggage online. Finally, always wear your heaviest clothing items in the airport and during your flight, as you’re the only piece of cargo that won’t get weighed!
Craft an itinerary that you’ll actually stick to
There’s nothing worse than over-planning, you are going on a holiday after all. When crafting your itinerary, set reasonable expectations for each day — focus on the must-dos of your trip and let everything else happen as it may.
In your destination for a short time? Consider activities and things to do that are relatively close to one another, to maximise your time out. There for a week or more? Space out your time between soaking up the culture and adventure of your holiday destination with plenty of time to sit back, enjoy a good meal, go out on the town for a night and relax. Always remember — a good holiday is a marathon, not a sprint.
Stick to an efficient pre-flight routine
According to the Australian Aviation website, “more than one in three Australians suffer from a fear of flying, ranging from mild nervousness to severe anxiety”, if you fall into this group of people, then sticking to a stress-free, pre-flight routine may be just what you need to calm your nerves. Arrive early (at least 1-2 hours for domestic flights and 2-3 hours for international) and be prepared for a smooth check-in and security walk-through. Take time to shop around, enjoy a bite to eat or a coffee and relax before your flight — it may be small but it can make a huge difference!
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