For Europeans, by far the worst thing about going tois the length of time it takes to get there. Or more specifically, having to spend around a day cramped up in a plane.
Unfortunately, there is absolutely no way of making this journey a pleasant one. I’ve done it far too many times now (including, on one occasion, twice in six days. That was lovely). I’ll be straight up with you; I’ve learned a few ways of making it slightly less hideous, but there’s only so much you can do. Unless you’re in first class in your own personal lounge, being fanned and having grapes popped into your mouth then it’s a day of discomfort.
But if you are thinking of flying to Australia, I suggest the following in order to reduce the horror.
Fly to Perth
It’s cheaper, and cuts a few hours off the journey.
Fly via the Middle East
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You have to stop somewhere on the way, so it may as well be where the route is as direct as possible. This usually means going via either Abu Dhabi (with Etihad) or Dubai (with Emirates). Etihad are aggressively targeting the Australian market at the moment, too – so they have some good deals on offer. Going via, say, Korea or Japan, can add a good few hours on to the journey.
Avoid long layovers…
There’s always a bit where you need to change planes or refuel. It’s better if this takes a maximum of two hours, rather than eight or nine.
…Or stop over
This is by far the best option – have a few days exploring another city or country on the way. It’s your chance to explore, , or Dubai, and many airlines include a free stopover on the ticket.
Pick the right seat
Sites such as Seat Guru are fantastic for picking out the best seats on a plane. In general, though, try for the emergency exit seats (more leg room) and avoid the bulkheads (that’s where the screaming kids get put). My personal favourite trick is to ask for an aisle seat in the middle aisle towards the back of the plane. This is a pretty bad seat if the plane is full, but the least popular seats are next to you – meaning there’s a much higher chance of getting two or four to yourself.
Don’t fly hungover
Yes, I know it’s tempting to go out for a few with friends the night before, but believe me you’ll regret it. Hangovers are far, far worse that high up when you can’t escape. The same applies to drinking heavily on the plane – really bad plan.
Bring an eye mask, ear plugs and a good book
Yes, it may look ridiculous, but blocking out sound and light can help with getting to sleep. And once you get stuck into a good read, time flies a lot faster.
Land in the evening
If you can pick a flight that lands in the evening or late afternoon, you’ll have far fewer problems with jetlag. You only need to stay awake for a few more hours, and then you’re sleeping at the right time for the time zone.
This story was kindly funded by Roundtheworldflights.com.