It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been travelling, there are always hacks to make the journey better. From newbie to seasoned pro, this comprehensive list has a hack -and some common sense advice from seasoned travellers – for you!
Airliners at Auckland International Airport by Follash
Flight booking hacks
- Credit card: There are a variety of credit cards that offer different benefits. Find one scheme that allows you to gain points towards travel and use it consistently.
- Airline membership: Loyalty pays off for airline memberships. If you travel on a range of different airlines, you’re not going to accrue as many points. Choose your favourite airline and try to stick to them – it helps with getting upgraded and will save you money.
- Buying flights: It’s cheapest to buy flights on a Tuesday. Every time you look for flights, do so in an incognito window, otherwise that flight will get more expensive every time you look at it! The cheapest flights are generally between 140 – 180 days in advance of travel. Leaving it to the last minute can either reward you with very cheap, or extremely expensive flights.
- Travel off-peak: If you can, travel in the off-peak or shoulder season. It’ll save you money when visiting attractions, the flights will be cheaper, and there will be less tourists and crowding.
- Choose your seat: If you don’t have the extra bank balance to be seated up in the pointy end, then seat selection is the best way to make your flight more comfortable. Avoid sitting by the toilet, and middle seats often leave you sandwiches between two strangers. Window seats give you wall space to lean on. Aisle seats make it easy to get up and move around- and are great if you need regular toilet breaks. Seat Guru makes it easy to see what seats are good on your flight.
- Packing: If you can get away with carry-on only, this is easiest and fastest at both ends of the airport. Remember, no liquids over 100ml though. Backpacks are great as they are flexible and easier to carry around than suitcases. Check luggage size and weight requirements for your airline before packing. Packing cells are great to help keep clothing organised, and remember to roll rather than fold clothes- it wrinkles them less and takes up less space.
- What to pack: Passport (take photos of all relevant pages and have a soft copy on your phone). All relevant chargers and adapters. An external battery for charging is great as you can’t always rely on airlines or hotels. A scarf is a great adaptable piece of clothing for cold climates, if you need to cover up in temples, a temporary towel or as a headscarf to keep off the sun.
- Workout: A workout the day of or the day before a flight is a great way to prepare yourself for a day of sitting still.
Travel hacks on the plane
- Comfort on the flight: While the airline might offer these to you free, buy your own good quality set of earplugs and eye mask. Not only is this better for the environment than a throwaway set, but it is nicer to have quality gear. A neck pillow helps some people sleep, and a scarf is essential – if it gets cold, it’s a blanket, or you can use it for a pillow. A noise cancelling headset is nice but not a must-have. Wear layers of clothing that are comfortable.
- Sleep: Sleep is important. You want to get some sleep and use the flight time as a way to try and prepare yourself for jet lag – so if you are arriving at 7am, you’ll want to sleep towards the end of the flight. There are a range of ways people get sleep- alcohol, sleeping tablets and melatonin tablets. Do whatever works for you, but follow your doctor’s advice for sleeping tablets and melatonin and don’t mix sleeping tablets with alcohol.
- Hydrate: Take a reusable water bottle with you. Once you are through customs, find a water fountain and fill it up. Not only are you creating less waste, but staying hydrated keeps you healthier on the flight and helps to avoid jet lag.
- Entertainment: It’s worth taking your own earbuds/ headphones and an adaptor if you want to watch a movie. Take a book and catch up on your reading.
- In-flight care: A toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wipes and hand sanitizer will keep you feeling less fuggy. Antibacterial wipes are great for wiping down your tray table and seat arms. If you don’t want to brush your teeth on the plane, chewing gum or mints will help to chase away the furry feeling. Lip balm and hand moisturizer is great, as airplanes leave your skin dehydrated. Carrying Panadol is a good idea too, in case of a headache
How to make the airport less painful
- Plan to arrive early: An international flight requires you to be there two hours beforehand. Make sure you build in a buffer of time for traffic and other problems while en route to the airport. Even the best planning doesn’t account for traffic jams. Give yourself extra time and enjoy a more relaxed check in at the airport. Use that extra time for a wine and start reading your book.
- Security: Look at the lines in front of you. Avoid the queues with children or disorganised people. Look for business travellers – they know the drill and the queue will move quicker. You should be organised too. Avoid wearing metal that day, including belts and jewellery. Wear slip-on shoes. Have your laptop in an easily-accessible place.
- Travel documentation: Have everything on hand and ready to go- and have hard copies of everything too. This includes flights, hotel bookings, travel insurance and your passport. If you’re looking for travel insurance try www.state.co.nz.
- Lounge access: If you have a long stopover and don’t have lounge access, consider buying a pass. A shower, free food and drink and a quiet relaxed atmosphere will make the rest of the trip so much better.
Arriving at your destination
- Fight jet lag: Get into a routine as fast as possible. If that means forcing yourself to stay awake until a ‘normal’ bed time, do it. Go for a walk, keep hydrated, and eat small meals.
Bon Voyage! Have a great trip.