AND how to make it less shitty!
Hello, it’s time for my very first blog post! Hooray!
I know it sounds ridiculous to say I haven’t ‘had time’ to write a blog post while traveling through Europe, but it’s honestly been harder than expected to find the time. My plan was to smash out a blog post every time we had a long travel day, but I love my sleep (and also Instagram when there’s free wifi and the sodoku app on my phone) and turns out I can also stare out of a window for ages without getting bored or agitated, and so the hours of travel flew by.
BUT, here I am, sitting on a 7 hour bus trip from Budapest to Krakow, 6 weeks into our European adventure, and I’m finally writing the first blog. So here goes.
I have a bone to pick with all of my friends and family who have been to Europe before me; everyone failed to mentally prepare me for the 27 hour journey to Europe from Melbourne. I’ve been on long flights before, but nothing prepared me for this. They all just said ‘it’s long.’ Damn right it is.
We were pretty lucky with our flights, 14 hours from Melbourne to Dubai (flying with Emirates, who were fantastic by the way and the tiny bit of extra leg room makes all the difference), followed by a very quick 2 hour stopover and then another 7.5 hour flight to Lisbon, Portugal. When we arrived in Lisbon, we were met with a 55 minute wait for passport checks. BRILL. Didn’t even want to get to our hotel for a shower.
I’m not here to complain for this entire post though, because even the fact that we have been lucky enough to travel to Europe is amazing. So instead, let’s talk about the best way to make it not so shitty.
Firstly, pay attention when booking your flights. Try to keep your stopover time short, unless you want to spend an extra night somewhere and stay in a hotel to break it up. Nothing worse than travelling for 14 hours and then hanging out at an airport for 7 hours with nothing to do. I realise this can be out of your control and sometimes budget outweighs convenience, but it’s something to be aware of.
Secondly, seat selection is everything. When you book economy, you can only select your seat when you check in, otherwise you can pay a $50-$60 fee to pre-select prior to check in. I would say the best position for two people on a fully booked plane would be across the middle row which was 4 seats, with you and your travel companion booking 2 outside seats- as in second from the aisle and the aisle. This means you’re not bothering anyone when you’re getting up to stretch or for bathroom breaks, and no one is bothering you either. If you’re travelling solo it’s really up to you, but I’m a big fan of the aisle. Sitting on the window is great for the view and having something to lean on, but you generally don’t get up as much in fear of being too annoying (well, that’s the case for me) and it’s SO important to get up and get the blood flowing as much as you can. Trust me on this, we had super swollen ankles when we arrived in Lisbon and it was not a pretty sight.
ALWAYS ask if there are any free rows or rows with a seat free; these are an absolute win on long haul flights and mean you can stretch out and have a better chance at some sleep time.
Obviously, this advice is only valid for us regular folk that live the economy life, people in business and first just have all the fun, and a 27 hour journey is probably quite nice for them. We should be so lucky. If you’ve got the points to upgrade- do it.
Thirdly, make sure you come prepared with things to do; there’s only so many movies you can watch on that little screen before the headache kicks in and your eyes start to burn and water. Pack a book, load your phone up with games, write a blog (hey), go through and organise/edit photos, look over itineraries, ask for snacks, enjoy the drinks, start a travel journal or TRY AND SLEEP. Sleep is what you want. I like to always work out what time night is where I’m actually travelling to and I sleep according to this, it’s a great way to try and beat the jet lag. Tried and tested.
When you arrive at the other end, the last thing you want to have to do is try and work out the best way to get to your hotel, particularly if you’re in a place that doesn’t speak your language and you’re basically a little nugget walking around blind trying to work out what’s going on, with limited wifi.
If you’re on a budget, look into pre-booking airport transfers, but to be real if you’re not staying far from the airport, just get a cab. You pay a little more but the convenience is absolutely worth it, especially with all your luggage.
Long story short, the journey is rough and you are pretty crabby and tired by the end, but there’s ways to make it better, and the excitement generally outweighs the negatives. Most times. Happy flying!