Soon I will be taking my last few flights of the year back to Sydney for Christmas with stops in Jordan, Thailand and Malaysia. By the end of 2013 I will have taken nearly 25 international flights. I will have given thousands of my precious bucks to airlines around the world and spent around 4 full days in an economy cabin. Damnnnn! Good thing I really, really love flying.
There’s something very exhilarating about air travel. On a flight day, I’m pumped from the moment I wake up. Rushing to the airport, checking in, walking through customs, browsing the waiting areas and people watching until its time to board the plane and find my seat. The entire experience never disappoints me.
It’s a good thing I have this contentment with air travel because I have never been a high class flyer. Economy class, bad departure and arrival times, long lay overs and even switching to a different airport within the same city are my bread and butter.
There are a few reasons I do this to myself. The big one of course being money. Everyone knows flights ain’t cheap. Even with no frill airlines the price can rack up quick with baggage fees and extras if your not careful. By saving hundreds of dollars on flights it allows me to see more places and stay on the road longer.
I also look at it as a sort of game. The world is like a maze, and I need to connect the dots at the right times in the right places to get myself to the finish line. All well finding the lowest possible price. It’s kinda like the amazing race except I’m the only person playing.
As much as I like to arrive at my destination I anticipate that I could end up in an unexpected country and that, for me, could be just as much of a kick. So If that were to happen I’d like to think I’d be as ready as possible. That being said I’ve learnt a few things about the art of sky sailing.
Here’s my list of things to remember when getting ready to jet away on a low budget airline.
Change of Clothes
This one is really essential for two reasons. Lost baggage is not that uncommon. If you are stuck without your bag it’s nice to know you can at least have a day or twos grace before you really start grossing your travel companion out. Next is the temperatures. One minute sweating the next shivering. The climates are always changing in airports, on planes and once you arrive on the ground. Freezing in a plane or getting scorched in a new country is never fun. Make sure you have packed an article of clothing for all conditions.
Seems a tad unnecessary to mention but I have been caught running around an airport searching for a pen in order to fill out a customs form more times than I would like to admit. Stuff one in your bag.
Talking to the person next to you is great but after 5,6,7 hours the convo might wear thin. A lot of low budget airlines have nothing for entertainment. Other than a inflight magazine and some not even that. Make sure your stocked up with your favourite music, book, movies or games on your devices . If you get caught without like I have been, try downloading some free podcasts or game apps using the wifi that most airports provide before you head to your plane. Also make sure you have your universal adapters and chargers in your bag. I usually post up in an airport and grab some extra battery for my devices just in case.
You don’t always choose when you want to sleep on a plane so getting shut eye in where you can is important on long hauls. I always pack a blindfold, earplugs and travel pillow in my carry on. It’s no fun when you can’t control the amount of light coming in or there’s a crying baby beside you. A few Advil can be a handy companion if you experience headaches or motion sickness on a plane.
The point of this article is to save not spend but it’s good to have some USD, Euros or local currency on you in case you need to purchase water, food or something you may need to survive the flight. Quite a few airlines still only take cash. It’s also handy if you need to rush once your out of the airport and head straight for a bus, train or taxi.
Even if you only take an hour flight everyone comes off feeling a little scuzzy. So on big hauls it’s nice to be able to refresh yourself a little. Pack some travel sized toothpaste, toothbrush and deodorant. Another nice thing to have is hand lotion. A lot of times my hands and face dry out after long flights. These things go along way to making you feel better.
I typically always travel with a 15-25L backpack as a carry on. I do this not only because I’m a backpacker but for the convenience of being able to put my bag underneath the seat in front of me. This allows for easy access to everything above I just mentioned. Having to stand up and open the overhead compartment to retrieve an item is a major hassle.
Make sure to pack these items next time you fly low budget and you’ll think you are flying First Class… or at least Economy on a regular airline.
Anything you bring or do that makes your flights easier?? Let us know below