Air travel to Australia from the northern hemisphere is a long and tiring journey. Here are some ideas of how to turn it into a better experience.
Count on at least 24 hours, if you are flying from one of the big hubs in Europe, such as London, Frankfurt or Paris.
Add even more if your starting point is a smaller European city.
So you are flying from a smaller town and you are not in a rush?
Consider visiting the hub.
Try to book an early morning flight to the city where your long haul flight starts and a late evening flight to Australia. After you take into account border control, the distance to and back from the city and the check in, you'll have about 8 hours to visit London, Paris, Vienna, Frankfurt, Amsterdam or any other big city that offers you air travel to Australia. Not bad - enough to get a good glimpse of the tourist attractions and enjoy some local food.
If you have cabin luggage, leave it at the storage facilities in the airport terminals. No storage facilities available? Just carry it with you, it is not that inconvenient.
When you come back to the airport to board your long haul flight, you are facing about 12 - 14 hours to fly to one of the Asian destinations, then a stop that can be anything from 1 hour to the whole day, depending on the ticket you bought.
On the positive side if your stop is more than 5 - 6 hours you could actually try and visit the Asian city before boarding on the flight to Sydney or Melbourne. Which will take another 7 - 9 hours. It all depends on airlines and connections.
For example, if you have enough time between flights in Singapore you might find an offer for free sightseeing tours. Hop on the bus and listen to the guide, who will reveal places and share stories about Singapore that are difficult to find on your own.
So check your stopover airport sites, you may have a nice surprise.
With Europe airfares to Australia high and trips really long, why not turn that stopover in an Asian city into a short holiday? Book yourself into a hotel and enjoy the experience of discovering new places, tasting great food and becoming aware of a new culture.
You will pay the additional airport taxes and probably some fee for interrupting your flight. But think of the savings you make if you compare these costs to the usual airfares to and from Australia, when you book a holiday from scratch.
And search the internet, you may find some cheap airfare deals.
The alternative to going via Asia is travelling via Middle East. You could stop in Dubai if you took an Emirates flight. Imagine a holiday skiing indoors, and think about the sweltering heat outside. Awesome.
To add another positive note, if you decide to take a short break instead of a stopover, your 24 hour flight has now turned into 2 flights in two different days.
Yes, each of them is long by European standards. But you will be able to stretch your legs and sleep in a bed rather than stay awake in a tight seat.
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