How to survive a long haul journey – Travelling to Australia my story

Excitement is in the air, we are heading to Australia, not just for a week no, we are going for a whole month! Yay!

Addio England! Ciao UK! Aloha to you! Until we are back naturally.

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This has been planned for a while, but due to my boyfriends work commitments we had to keep putting our plans on hold and hope he could get the time off when requested, luckily he did. Packing was relatively easy, after all how many clothes does one really need when the weather is going to be unavoidably hot?

I always prefer packing for a hot destination as summer clothes do not take up too much room which means I can pack a few more dresses. Have you ever packed for a month? Or longer? I have, and let me say it gets easier.

You learn that those 10 different shorts are not needed, in fact you will probably only wear two of them but pack them all just in case. After all it is better to be safe than sorry. Deciding to take a holdall instead of a wheely suitcase, I preceded to cram (roll) all my beautiful summer clothes consisting predominately of playsuits and bikinis into my bag. Basically all the clothes I will never, ever get to wear in the UK because even during their summer time, weather is never consistent.

Thinking about it, the only consistent things about the UK’s weather is that it is inconsistent. Yes, the morning may start of with glorious sunshine, birds chirping from a nearby tree, sky so blue you think you are looking at a swimming pool upside down but scroll forward two hours, you will be left sitting in a puddle, on your own in your carefully selected strappy dress wishing you had bought an umbrella and wellies. How delightful!

I thought I did a great job of packing by hurriedly rolling out my clothes, after all why waste time packing? That was until Sean took one look at it and decided he had to re-pack as I ‘could fit way more in if I packed it right’. I am sure that boy has extremely mild OCD and some sort of methodical way of thinking regarding packing, draws and wardrobe arrangement. Baring in mind it took approximately half an hour to pack my selected clothes into my bag, guess what he did? He emptied my bag, started to roll my clothes just as I had done then put them all back into the bag.

Admittedly he did a much better job than me which is why I have promoted him to ‘Chief Packer’. A polite way of saying that when we next go away, he can do the packing.

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Deciding who to fly with had been a bit of a concern. How can one possibly choose which airline to go with? Quantas, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, British Airways are all good airlines, they offer different benefits and prices fluctuate so I decided to check out the prices on Skyscanner and see which offered good deals.

Needless to say, we did not want to go with the cheapest airline due to this flight a most definite ‘long-haul’, for a more pleasant flight I was happy to pay a little extra.

My research tactics were probably a bit far fetched to some people, but I felt they were necessary due to Sean being 6’2, come on, he was hardly going to enjoy being squashed into a seat fit for a small child for over 12 hours was he? I have flown this far before, but Sean had not, let’s just say he was not looking forward to it at all! I thought I’d do my bit to make sure we would hopefully have a comfortable flight, which meant researching the seat measurements of each airline (such fun). I found out that Emirates had the biggest seats out of all the airlines I looked at, they offered a good service and were known for being a good company, we chose them.

I thoroughly recommend researching and looking around at all airline carriers before booking, you may get a great price but it will not be a great flight. In my opinion you are better off spending that little bit extra if you can for comfort

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Pulling up at the airport, there is a familiar sense of bustling, a touch of nerves from some people and a lot of noise. I really enjoy airports, could this be because it take some back to family holidays as a child? Or the fact that I used to work at Heathrow Airport and enjoyed that? Perhaps both.

There is so much activity going on, parents  trying to bring some order to their children hoping that they stop swinging around on the trollies, airline staff pacing the marbled floor, bright artificial lights glaring down on you. In the midst of this hustle and bustle of flying, there is me. The girl who keeps putting her passport and boarding card back into the depths of her Mary Poppins bag just to be asked for it multiple times, then thinks she’s lost it, needless to say there was a lot of rifling and sighing.

Standing in the boarding lounge (I refuse to sit as will be spending the next 20hours sitting, okay apart from the layover in Dubai which is a quick 1hr45m).

Looking around at the sheer volume of people who will be joining us on the journey, are they really all on this plane? Surely some of them have the wrong gate and are just standing here for the fun of it? The plane taking us to Dubai is an Airbus A380 and absolutely enormous, you cannot believe all these people will fit into it! Oh so there is the flying planet disguised as a plane, yes we will all fit!

It still amazes me how this thing takes off so smoothly and quietly, I am used to the great rumble and roar of the engines once it starts, then throughout the whole flight it continues to rumble so loud that you can hear it through the bendy thin headphones the cabin crew give you. Let me tell you, this flight was a dream. It was smooth, mood lighting was in place ( for the record I do love pastel coloured lighting and have a thing for stars on the ceiling – they had tiny pin pricks of light on the cabin ceiling bliss ) we chose our seats prior to departure but I asked the check in agents if there were emergency exit seats free, which there were.

For emergency exit seats, the trick is to ask at check in. They are never released when you pick your seat online because you have to be fit in case of an emergency and the staff need to verify and see that you are. They normally pick people to go in them while checking the passengers in, go ask, you may be moved into one

Australia, signs, Tropic of Capricorn, flying, travel, blog, west coast, love, Emirates, long haul, beachI always change what I am wearing in the plane, from smart casual clothes (upgrade anyone?) to lounge clothes. Mainly because I like to be as comfortable as possible. While it’s tempting to change into pyjamas, unfortunately it would not be socially acceptable based on the fact that too many people would look at me and I cannot deal with that much negative attention.

My go to travel outfit consists of fleece leggings, loose top, with a warm pull over as planes can get chilly. Settling in, we have a huge amount of room in front of our seats, all the leg room one could possibly want (perhaps a bit too much as I kept sliding forward throughout the duration from LHR to DXB)

The cabin crew came round with freshen up bags, I love getting these! Excitedly clawing at that very annoying white plastic tag always wrapped around the zip, I delve into the bag to see what I can possibly use to make the journey more fresh. Oh yes there they are, the socks I have been looking forward to wearing. While I will not win a fashion parade wearing these cotton socks, did you know they are the best type for your feet while traveling? Small things and all!

The food was quite nice, to be honest I don’t tend to eat much on the plane apart from the snacks I bring. I would rather not feel bloated and full for the entire journey.

I have developed a routine which applies to flights lasting over 6 hours to brush my teeth before, during and after the flight. I find it helps me to freshen up, wake up and not feel so groggy. Plus, would you not brush your teeth before going to sleep? Do you wake up without brushing your teeth? Just because you are in a plane does that change things?

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Now would I be a complete sucker if I said I have an airplane in flight routine? Yes you read right, looking back at it, I do have an airplane flying routine!

Perhaps I should do a complete post on exactly what I do while travelling, but the basics are to purchase a bottle of water after security.

Brush teeth before or at the very start of the flight. Accept water when offered by cabin crew at All times, even when not thirsty or half asleep, drink it! Although something from Women’s Health said you should not drink water from the plane, I did not read anymore of that article as think all water is good water providing it is clear!

Always give the cabin I am in a quick scan, checking for children or babies that have the potential to make this flight a living nightmare (luckily there were none, well, apart from one small boy who kept staring at me for half the flight, but hey I can deal with that)

I also adjust my watch. Okay, I don’t wear a watch but I adjust my body clock and my brain to think it’s the time in the destination. Roll the clock forward 8 hours as that is currently the time difference, this actually helps with jet lag. Is jet lag really a thing? Or is it mostly in our mind? Whichever is true, it’s important to do everything you can to put off and hopefully avoid getting the dreaded jet lag, including changing your time clock and drinking a lot of water. Not alcohol, coffee or juice, just pure water.

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You want to have something that will hydrate you, not dehydrate you. Having coffee, tea (non herbal) or alcohol will increase your bodies dehydration (thankyou caffeine) you will not feel the best when you disembark the plane

Now back to the all important checking what they offer. This includes staring at the menu trying to pick whether I want the beef of chicken curry ( is there a fish dish?) Movie selection is another important factor of this flying experience. After all, realistically I will watch almost every movie I like the look of from the magazine so they better be good. It has to be said, I am thrilled with the selection that Emirates Ice have on offer, oh yes this will be a good flight.

Sean is settled into his middle seat, I really like looking out of the window (you know that dog who loves to put his face out of every open window? me too!) There is enough room for a 6’2 grown man to sit in a middle seat comfortably, so much so that he even sat in that seat on the second half of the flight (my research paid off).

Flying with someone you know is always nice. I have flown many times alone and while I am happy to immerse myself in the movies and sleep time away, it is nice to know that someone you know is enduring the same ridiculously long flight too. No, I’m just kidding, it is nice to have someone to talk to, to tell them the funny bits in the movies ( I am sure he had no interest in my chick flick, but he did a remarkable job of appearing interested and not looking too shocked when I laughed out loud at funny scenes. That is why I love him) Is it just me, or do you also look around at other people to see their reactions or purely just to see what they are watching?

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I enjoy flying, the excitement of stepping onto a plane in one country then stepping off that same plane in another. It holds the anticipation of an adventure and seeking out new ways to explore and see the country.

There are a few things that can be done to make your flight more comfortable, but in the end, we are all flying in a very large aluminium tube which does a good job of staying up in the air. So let’s make the most of this flight by settling in, and rather than focus on the duration, focus on what you want to get done during that flight. Read a book? Look through pictures, playing with your camera are all things I like to incorporate into my flying experience.

I was once told to look at the flight as the start of your ravel or holiday experience. It doesn’t start the minute you touchdown, make it start from when you go to the airport and enjoy it, after all, you are lucky.

Flying, Australia, travel, blog, photographer, beach, holiday, vacation, emiratesFlying is a privilege, it is taken for granted because just like a lot of things we ‘millennials’ have, it is easily purchased, easy to book and easy to go. Travelling to different countries, cultures a world apart from our own western culture makes me think that although we may have a lot of opportunity to travel and to see how big our world really is, not everyone has that opportunity.

I know some people who have never been to a country different from their home country, some go to Benidorm every year where they mix with the same English people that go there every year too. Some only take trips within the UK, now I have looked into holidays within U.K and they are not in any means cheap. In fact, it can work out more expensive to take a weeks holiday in Scotland than go for two weeks to Thailand!

There are people within the  countries I have visited that would relish the chance to visit another country, it is something they will only dream about.

Yet us, we have that opportunity to really live in this beautiful world, to see what it has to offer and we live in a time where boarding a ship bound for Australia but will take half a year to get there is unheard of, because it is possible to fly to these places, and we can.

The world is here to be explored, why would you want to spend your life in one country wondering what it may be like in another? Take this freedom and opportunity and turn it into something that you will benefit from, so that in 10 years time you can say ‘I always wanted to visit here, and I did’.

Bon voyage

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