It goes without saying that I am not unfamiliar with the inside of an airport and it's workings. My previous life as a flight attendant is the crux of my obsession for efficient, seamless travel. If you run into me at the airport you will see me scrambling around like a psychopath. Because I am on a mission, a mission to beat the long ques at check in, customs and those annoying people that stand 1 inch from the baggage carousel (I mean really?). Anyway, travelling smarter is all in the preparation and let's face it who doesn't love a good prep list? If you share the same, lets call it passion, for saving time and arriving at your destination feeling less stressed and most of all organised then you need to read this.
Prep Before You Leave: If you are travelling from the US, UK or Europe to Australia, you should know by now that you are going to be travelling for a minimum of 14 - 24 hours and entering a completely different time zone. A few days before, I start to adjust my internal clock by waking up earlier and going to bed earlier. I gradually shift my eating times to coincide with the destination I am travelling to. This may sound a little obnoxious (and you don't need to go overboard) but if you want to make the most of every minute in a new and exciting country it makes the transition a little easier on the body.
Packing: If you haven't purchased a new suitcase in the last 5 years then first of all what the? And secondly, stop reading this right now, you need to jump online and buy a lightweight suitcase with 4 wheels! Why? Because, TRUST ME. Pulling a suitcase is so last year, having your suitcase glide alongside you like Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 Olympics, is much more glamorous! Samsonite and American Tourister have the best lightweight suitcases. I personally own this one (Elise's Suitcase) it weighs a couple of kilos which means I can pack more AND which brings me to my next topic......
Roll, don't fold. This is such a simple thing you can do to create much more space. And if you are anything like me and need 495,784,250 outfits to choose from, then you are going to have to implement this method STAT.
At the Airport: So this is the part you need to get serious. Strap those blinders on and focus, or people will slow you down. I always joke that some people seem to leave their common sense in the backseat of the taxi before they step foot inside an airport (I mean when did it become acceptable to wear your neck pillow as a fashion accessory?). Below are a few helpful tips to get through the airport more efficiently.
Be Loyal! It pays to be a loyal customer. I generally fly Virgin Australia (domestically and to the US). If you travel enough you become a frequent flyer and earn miles and eventually status credits. If you are ranked highly enough you get priority check in, lounge access, priority boarding, excess baggage waiver, seat selection and the list goes on..... But all these small things really add up and make your airport experience all the more tolerable.
Upgrades. If you have a good amount of points sitting in your frequent flyer account then use them for upgrades! It is much easier to purchase your airfare in either economy or premium economy then use your points to get an upgrade.
Forget Home Time: OK so this is one question I can't deal with when I am travelling to another country "what time is it at home right now?" forget this. As soon as you step foot on that aircraft set your watch to the time zone you are travelling to. Immediately.
On the Plane: I always take an un-prescribed Melatonin tablet 2 hours prior to sleep. I don't do sleeping pills, I never feel refreshed when I wake up, its almost worst than the feeling of jetlag. The brand I use is Nature's Care. Having said this, resist sleeping at the wrong time. Since you set your watch to the time zone you are traveling to you can now tell if it’s the right or wrong time. For instance if it's 5pm in the time zone you are traveling to, work on your computer or IPad but don't sleep until the time you would normally go to bed.
At the destination: GET OUTSIDE. It's important that your body knows what time it is and by getting outside your body is adjusting to the local time naturally. I like to go for a long walk and get familiar with my new surrounds.
I hope these small tips help you next time you travel!