Australia: Getting Down Under
9,442 miles from the UK, the other side of the world; Australia is a pretty long way away.
The journey is a big one, so below we have compiled a few tips/bits of advice that will hopefully make getting there that little bit easier and stress-free.
Where to book?
Recommended websites. On the odd occasion booking directly with an airline can be cheaper, but it's always best to do your research through a third party; and before you book double-check on the airline website that you are getting the best deal.
(We have no affiliation or relationship with these sites, just recommended through personal experience and advice from friends)
www.google.com/flights = the first place we always look www.opodo.com
When to book
It has been found that the cheapest air tickets are often available 50-55 days before the flight so consider booking around this time. However, if you are traveling in a peak week e.g. Christmas best to book as early as possible as the airlines won't be reducing the price on sold-out flights.
Lots of conflicting advice online, but better to be safe than sorry; delete your cookies and search history before booking flights; it's quick, simple, and may just save you some money. Additionally when trying to find the best deal, switch up what devices you are using and even use friends or family members devices just to ensure your devices search history and cookies have been linked.
Rather book through a Human?
If you are looking to have human interaction during your booking, there are some great companies out there with high street stores or representatives you can reach over the phone. From previous experience, the following are recommended, but there are loads more out there!
Store locator: www.stores.statravel.co.uk
0333 333 2211
Store locator: www.flightcentre.co.uk/store-locator
Essential tips for long plane journeys
Choose a good airline
For long haul flights, your experience can vary dramatically depending on what airline you go for. Everyone wants to get the best deal but for this distance, we would really recommend spending a few hundred pounds more to fly with one of the high-end Airlines. Airlines such as Emirates, Qatar and Singapore airlines offer bigger seats, better service and improved food! Do some research and have a look at different airline reviews before you book the cheapest flight possible!
Take a bottle of water with you and keep it! Buying water at the airport is always expensive and some airlines aren't the best at providing water throughout the flight. Airports often have water fountains available and air hostess are always happy to fill up your bottle. This also saves you from having to wait for the air hostess every time you want a drink. Hydralate tablets are also great to bring as they help prevent dehydration and the effects of jet lag. The food will vary depending on the airline so it's always good to see what/if any meals are included before the flight and bring some snacks in case you don't want to eat the delicious plane food- protein + carb snacks are ideal choices.
What to wear:
Obviously you want to be as comfortable as possible but we would recommend layering several loose clothes so that you can adjust to the different temperatures- make sure you always have a jumper to hand in case the plane suddenly feels like an icebox! An oversized jumper can be good as doubles up as an extra blanket and being snuggly should help you sleep!
Other things to bring
When you get to your stopover destination it can be really nice to freshen up before your next flight so have everything you need in your hand luggage e.g. toothbrush, facial wipes, lip balm, moisturizer, deodorant, change of clothes etc.
An eye mask is essential for those long haul flights and can really help you sleep, grab some ear-plugs as well and go into your own world and forgot about the 400 others in economy with you! Some of the better airlines will provide an eye mask/ear plugs but it's definitely not guaranteed in economy so plan ahead.
Most long haul flights offer movies etc. but always come with back up just in case- did you know you can now download Netflix programs on your tablet/phone and watch these offline, binging through series can be a great way to kill time!
Also don't forget your charging cables/ power banks and always save some battery so that when you arrive you can order an Uber/make calls etc.
Your seat choice on the plane can also make a big difference to how your journey goes. Some airlines will let you reserve the seats when you book the tickets but generally checkin and seat reservation opens 1-2 days before the flight. Have look at when checkin opens and check in ASAP so that you have a good choice of seats. For long haul flights, there is almost always a quieter economy cabin which has fewer seats and it doesn't feel as though you are in such a big plane so look out for these. Generally, the seats by the windows in a 3-3 formation are nicer than being in the middle on a 4-4 formation.
Don't make the mistake of not moving for the whole flight. Get up and stretch (although physios are good at this one!)it makes you feel good and you will be thankful for it later!
Have a shower just before you leave for your journey (it could be a long time otherwise) and definitely make the time to freshen up half way.
Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and don't go crazy on the free booze.
Keep things small! You don't want to be stressed carrying around a heavy bag so just have your essentials for the flight.
It may sound simple but we think the best way to get over jet lag is to stay as busy as possible and to make sure you stay up until at least 9 pm on your first few days (but the later the better!). Avoid thinking about what time it is at home at all costs and stick to local times until you have adjusted- don't keep thinking its 3 am in the UK etc.
Where to take your pit stop?
Although it is now possible to do the entire journey in one long flight (London to Perth) it may be a stretch not only for your bank account but also a physical and mental strain with the nonstop 17-hour flight.
There are some pretty amazing flight routes you can take and explore on either a stopover or layover. Not only will this give you a chance to break up the long journey and stretch your legs but there are also lots of opportunities to see some incredible sights, relax, eat something other than plane food and depending on the length of your stop over, visit some breathtaking beaches too!
Below we have listed our favorite destinations to stop at, which are sure to be an experience; some of which you don’t even have to leave the airport!
Top on our list because the Singapore Changi airport is simply a metropolis ahead of its time, the airport literally describes itself as a "Destination in its own right". Airport facilities include but are not limited too: Movie theatres, Butterfly Garden, Swimming pool, Jacuzzi, Cactus Garden, Sunflower Garden and more.
If you have longer than a few hours, Singapore City is a short journey away, 30 minutes by train and potentially less in a car. Stunning architecture, food and a tropical climate await you. However Singapore is one of the most expensive destinations in the world, so maybe a brief stop over would work out best.
Airlines operating this route:
Singapore Airlines(duh, Qantas, British Airways, Scoot
A pretty jet-set destination that's for sure; Dubai airport itself is a mini representation of the UAE city. Huge, innovative and quite frankly - great shopping. Dubai airport is regarded as one of the most popular stopover destinations due to its geographical location and amenities - its motto puts it simply ;Land, Live, Leave. Airport facilities to occupy your stop over include but are not limited to Zen Garden, Trampolines, Free showers, Spas, Hairdressers, Nail Salons, Health Club and more.
If you have more than a few hours, and the right paperwork (48 Hour Visa free of charge - to be applied for through your airline in advance) then why not go and visit the world's tallest building downtown and visit the observation deck on the 124th floor? Dubai has a plethora of other stuff to do and see if heights aren't you thing; such as going to the beach, completing the worlds first black run in indoor skiing, and then if you still have the time and energy visit some of the most extravagant shops in the world....all whilst on your way down under. Dubai airport is in close proximity to the city itself, so getting in and out is not a problem.
Airlines operating this route:
Emirates, British Airways
Other airlines are possible but this may include adding an additional stopover in another city.
The list doesn’t stop there, other amazing places to consider stopping at on your way down under:
Bali, Thailand, Hong Kong,
(We don’t blame you if you spend longer than a few days) and you could even consider traveling for a few months in South East Asia before you arrive- you may even then arrive in Aus with a tan and there's never been a better excuse to go to these places!
Some of the above destinations may require you to take another stopover, but they are well worth it.
Additionally, It’s important to note that you may need a visa to leave the airport at certain destinations(where we haven’t already mentioned). When checking out visa requirements always go directly to the Government website of your chosen country and read the official requirements - don’t risk it with third parties.
Australia will be an amazing adventure in its own right, but we hope we have enticed you and shown that the “getting there” is full of opportunities too.