6 ways to get the best value for money on airfares

Travelling long haul on a budget doesn’t have to cost you hours of extra time and effort!

You probably love something that’s “value for money” as much as the next person – but what’s your definition of value for money? What’s your friend’s definition? We all have different perceptions of what’s value for money and what’s not; sometimes the cheapest airfare on the market may not actually provide you with any benefit at all. Here are my top six ways to get the best value for money on your airfare!

1 – Knowing where and when to find the bargains

Following your preferred airline or travel agent for their sales window can save you lots. Subscribe to their campaign emails and you will soon notice a particular pattern that may suit your needs. Virgin Australia offers “Happy Hour” sales on selected Thursdays; Jetstar holds their yearly “Birthday Sale” where in some cases you can book your return flight for free. Flight Centre facilitates “Travel Expo” about three times a year in capital and selected regional Australian cities, and online booking sites offer small discounts off fares periodically. Even when not looking to book any travel, it’s still worth keeping an eye on sale prices to your bucket list destinations to set realistic expectations on price for when the time comes to book.

2 – Search with purpose; what’s the plan?

Heading off on the dream Euro trip, or the quick getaway for a few days? Don’t just plot in random dates and go wild – search your airfares around your intentions. No matter what the purpose of your trip is, planning your flights with specific time frames in mind is pivotal to finding the option that suits your needs otherwise it’s wasting yours and your travel agent’s time. For example, if you plan to join a group tour on the day of departure and the introduction meeting is at 6pm; there’s no use comparing airlines who arrive late in the afternoon or evening no matter how reasonably priced they are.

Airline Calendar, ITX Matrix
Don’t be a time waster, search realistic dates that line up with your schedule

3 – Picking the transit city that’s right for you

If your home city isn’t well connected to your destination, you will need to transit somewhere. Always take each option on its own merits as no two transits are the same. If a longer transit (six or more hours) is required at world-leading Singapore Changi, you can amuse yourself in many of its own airport attractions, or even have a quick opportunity to pop into the city for lunch or dinner. Compare this to Beijing, where processing times are quite slow and the airport is a long distance from the city centre. The airport is good, but nothing outstanding. Two world-class cities with busy airports, yet two vastly different experiences for those stuck with a long transit. If you’re unsure of what to expect from a potential airport experience, there are multiple review sites online such as Skytrax with regular reviews of the world’s more popular airports.

4 – Decide if you’re stopping over

I hear you asking “wait one second what’s the difference between transit and stopover?” – transits are transfers from one flight to another inside a 24 hour period. Stopovers are you literally stopping, in a city for 24 hours or more.

If you’re travelling from one side of the world to another you may feel inclined to stopover somewhere to discover a new city in depth, or simply take a mini holiday within a holiday on the way home. If you’re travelling an incredibly long distance; let’s use Sydney to London and would like to stopover, it pays to research which airlines can take you to which stops. Choosing Emirates allows you to stop in their hub megacity of Dubai; Qantas can take you via Perth or Singapore; Qatar Airways via Doha and I can go on for hours with examples.

Airplane Flight Paths

The choice of airlines and routes between Sydney and London are near endless…these are only a fraction of possible routing options!

5 – Budget versus full-service airlines

Considering flying a budget airline like Jetstar instead of a full-service carrier like Hawaiian Airlines for a tropical getaway? That’s a great way to save cash to spend at your destination on shopping and dining, but if you’re one who prefers inclusions like meals, baggage, seats and drinks; you’ll be forking out more money time and again on a budget carrier. Keep an eye out in the near future as I will explore these key differences in detail.

6 – Bringing it all together; price versus convenience

This point is wrapping the first five points into a neat little package. The rock bottom airfare may see you taking twice as long to get to your destination. Consider where you are transiting or stopping, but most importantly which airline will get you to where you need to be when you need to be? If you’re one who values that little more knee room or prefers the “full service” that low-cost carriers don’t include then you will need to accept that your price expectations need to be set higher than their flashy sale prices.

Let’s put this into practice!

The options for my recent Jordan trip were overwhelming. There were plenty of Middle Eastern, Asian and even European airlines offering airfares between Brisbane and Amman. Let’s use some examples of how I would consider the same trip again, today. For simplicity, I have not set a budget for my airfare – I just want the best value flights.

Scenario – I need to be at my Amman hotel by 6pm on 10 April for my tour welcome meeting. For my two week stay, I’m trying to find the most competitive airfare. No airlines fly Brisbane to Amman non-stop; meaning transits are required. As long as I get to my destination reasonably quickly I don’t mind which route I take.

The cheapest fare is found with Oman Air, at $1,716. However the arrival time is too late to get to my meeting on time unless I arrive a day earlier, and it takes nearly two days to get home. This extra time means I will need to source extra accommodation and meals; therefore this option will ultimately become more expensive than competitor airline options.

ITX Matrix Flight Options
Oman Air has the cheapest airfare, but requires overnight stops which adds to my total trip price.

Next best (that’s not three stops!) is Qatar Airways at $1,894. Qatar does not currently fly to Brisbane, so two stops are required to make my way to Amman. It’s slightly inconvenient but the total overall travel time and schedule meet my needs. Let’s put this on the shortlist.

ITX Flight Options B
Qatar Airways aren’t that much more than Oman Air, however there are still two stops on this itinerary.

The last airline I would consider here is the cheapest one-stop option, with Etihad. This is the most expensive of the three realistic choices at $2,188. However, this will get me to Amman the fastest with a one-stop connection. Let’s add this to the shortlist alongside Qatar Airways.

Flight Options C

Who would you choose? Let me know by commenting below!

Which of the these options did I decide?

When faced with this exact conundrum in real life (with cheaper airfares at the time!) I chose the Qatar Airways option. Despite the two stops, the money I saved on the airfare meant I had more to spend in Jordan, even after trading off a couple of extra hours in transit. Qatar Airways offers world-class service, their home of Hamad International Airport in Doha is fantastic to explore at any time of day and for what it’s worth, my long legs could do with the extra stretch on such a long journey.

Airbus A380
Boarding the humongous double decker Airbus A380 at Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar

In conclusion…

The definition of “value” will vary from one person to the next. The cheapest airfare on the market may not suit your circumstances; whereas the little extra for the airfare upfront can shave hours off your total travel time and provide greater comfort. Shop around, have a chat with your local travel agent and make sure you are getting your journey started off on the right foot.

Feature photo taken on the descent into Amman, Jordan onboard a
Royal Jordanian Boeing 787-800; part of my Qatar Airways ticket from Brisbane, Australia

Ten Reasons to put Jordan on your Travel Bucket List

Mountains, canyons, reefs, deserts, people, food and everything in between; Jordan is far more than The Treasury

Landlocked for all but a 26km stretch of the Red Sea, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan brings out the best in Middle Eastern culture and showcases dynamic, jaw-dropping scenery from tip to toe.

Having to stop myself from writing many more, here are just ten reasons why Jordan needs to be on your bucket list, now!

1 – You are welcomed with open arms

Walking down a back street in Amman, a young shop keeper cheerfully calls out “Welcome to Jordan! Enjoy your time here!” I turn around expecting to be fronted by a clever sales pitch, however, the young man is kindly waving from a distance and is using the opportunity to practice his rusty English. Not being a rude person, I wave hello back and try and say thank you in Arabic and receive massive laughs all round from the locals. Clearly, my Arabic needs a lot of work, yet every local Jordanian went above and beyond being super patient and friendly, and made certain that we were happy and on our way in the right direction.

Bedouin Shop Keeper
A friendly Bedouin (a group of nomadic Arab people living in the Middle East for centuries) offers us tea and snacks en route to Wadi Rum

2 – The food; OMG GUYZ THE FOOD!

I entered the country hungry and departed drooling for more. Food brings family and strangers together in Jordan and is done so deliciously. I’ve returned home not being able to look at Hummus or Baba Ganoush the same way. While you’re there try a local Shawarma (the closest thing I can compare this to is a Yiros) or pick up some sweet treats at one of the many little bakeries set up along any major street. Going hungry in Jordan is nearly an impossibility with cheap, massive portions of hearty goodness in every direction.

Jordanian Food
Delicious Jordanian spread with local made herbal tea aka “Bedouin Whiskey”
Jordanian Desserts
Dessert consisting of Middle Eastern sweets ❤

3 – I’m seeing double…four countries?!

Set sail on the Red Sea for a fantastic day of snorkelling and sunbathing. While out on the water you will be able to view four countries with the swivel of your head. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan & Israel are all within touching distance of each other and give a real sense of where you are in the world, yet the unreal sense in that borders are literally just imaginary lines decided over thousands of years of humans agreeing to disagree.

Aqaba by sea
The port city of Aqaba sits tantalisingly close to the border of three other countries.

4 – Get under the sea

I never associated Jordan with snorkelling and coral reefs, but here we are. Dive in the beautiful warm waters and discover the weird and wonderful aqua life below. This rivals the snorkelling I’ve experienced in Indonesia and even ranks as an honourable mention alongside the Great Barrier Reef. Once back on dry land in Aqaba make sure you try some delicious local seafood that’s on offer in nearly every restaurant.

Red Sea by Boat
Jump right in for warm water and the discover the underwater jungle of coral reef

5 – Camp under the stars

Camping in Wadi Rum is like no other experience and gave “glamping” a run for its money. Rich red dirt surrounded by massive rock formations and sand dunes; watching a picture-perfect sunset with a colourful display of vibrant red, pink and blue hues; followed by a Bedouin made dinner of spiced chicken cooked underground with a selection of vegetables, bread and delicious dips. Topping off the night, a campfire under the galaxy of stars, drinking local herbal tea (cheekily referred to as Bedouin Whiskey despite being zero alcohol). Answering to natures call during the night, I stop and look up to the stars; gazing upon what our ancestors had witnessed and pondered big questions to over the generations.

6 – Feel the desert breeze

Wadi Rum offers more than just camping under the stars. You can spend days here joyriding in Jeeps in the dunes or slowly trekking across by camel. In the Jeeps, the scenery takes a dramatic plot twist seemingly every minute. This place is what Mars must be, or close to it. I challenge you to take a bad photo here, you will be hard pressed to do so.

Wadi Rum Landscape
Wadi Rum feels closer to Mars than it does to any major city
Camels, Jordan
You’ll make new friends in no time with these cool kids hanging about

7 – Feel alive again in the Dead Sea

I haven’t used that heading purely for a clever play on words. I genuinely came back to shore feeling fresh and engergised after a dip. The Dead Sea is unique in two ways in that you don’t swim, rather you float due to the super salinity of the water thanks to huge salt deposits. It’s also the lowest point of elevation on land at -430m below sea level. I’ve never been able to float in a normal swimming pool and felt as though I would be the exception to the rule here. As you reach the point where your feet can’t quite touch the ground, suddenly…Nah, I’m going to make you feel this strange experience for yourself! Whatever happens, do not put your head underwater; you’ve been warned. While you’re there, try slapping Dead Sea mud on your face and body, or shop around for some natural salt scrub. My skin felt a lot smoother and radiant for days after!

Lowest Point of Land
Standing at the lowest point of land in the world, you can read a book whilst having a float

8 – Road side stops are natural attractions in themselves

You may know a few of the major landmarks in Jordan, but the “ordinary” countryside offers views which in my opinion rival some of the best road trip scenery anywhere. A highlight is driving between Wadi Rum and Petra, taking you into the highlands with jagged hills and refreshing mountain air. It doesn’t matter which side of the car or bus you sit on as the twisting roads give everyone 360-degree panoramic views of this gorgeous part of the world.

Jordan, Near Petra
Boring drives are impossible when you can stretch your legs overlooking this…

9 – Rediscover the reward of hiking at The Monastery

Many people come from all corners of the Earth to view The Treasury at Petra, but don’t go any further. They miss out on potentially days of experiences and discovery of lesser-known landmarks which have an equally fascinating story. One of these is The Monastery, about a two-hour return hike from The Treasury, up roughly 850 stairs and passing countless little shops selling souvenirs and drinks. As you slowly ascend up the steps your view down over the surrounding valleys are literally becoming breathtaking. The peak appears suddenly, without warning the massive facade of The Monastery jumps out at you somewhat like a Jack in the Box. Even in the cooler months of November-March, aim to climb early in the morning to escape the crowds. Enjoy the serenity in the courtyard before further exploring a little further upwards to witness the infinite views of valleys and mountains behind.

Jordanian Monastery Hike
More amazing views greet you at just the halfway point of the hike upwards to The Monastery

10 – The crown jewel

Saving the best to last. I’ve stressed the importance of not centring your Jordan journey around The Treasury, but it truly stands out as a wonder of the world in its own right. Your Petra and Treasury journey will start with a long walk down a gentle hill entering The Siq, a long narrow gorge naturally cut into the Earth. Just as you begin to accept that the walk may just take forever, a beam of light, like at the end of a tunnel strikes you. With each step closer, the heart rate goes up a notch. Those who don’t believe in love at first sight will be converted within seconds of studying the immense figure of The Treasury. For an iconic view from the top, take the walk down to the Royal Tombs before heading near vertically up a steep set of stairs and across the mountain top. The 90-minute return trip is worth every second.

The Treasury Petra
More friendly giants meet you upon arrival at The Treasury
Scenic View The Treasury Petra
The view from the top is out of this world and is well worth the sore legs the next day!

One opinionated tip about Petra…

I love animals, so much so that I won’t hurt a fly. There are numerous vendors at Petra who offer donkey rides around the park, especially on the ascent to The Monastery. I do not recommend taking a donkey as these animals are subjected to unreasonable workloads and are not treated with respect by many owners. Donkeys are commonly used as working animals around the world, however, in my opinion, the majority of owners at Petra were treating their animals with borderline cruelty. Ultimately it’s up to you, but I will not support anyone who cannot treat a living being with minimum respect. On the other hand, I witnessed camels in Wadi Rum being treated with extreme respect and care and I highly recommended taking a ride for a fantastic desert experience if you feel so inclined.

How to get to Jordan

You will most likely arrive by plane into Jordan’s capital, Amman. Many major airlines service Jordan including the large Middle Eastern carriers such as Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad; offering multiple daily services. The national airline of Jordan is Royal Jordanian, who fly non-stop to Amman from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

Royal Jordanian Boeing 787-800
View of Jordan as we bank right towards Amman from a Royal Jordanian Boeing 787-800
Australian to Jordan
I travelled from Australia to Jordan on a combination of Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian; both members of the Oneworld alliance

Unless visiting neighbouring Israel or nearby Egypt, it’s unlikely you’ll arrive overland or by ship. Syria and Iraq are northern neighbours, and I will assume that you will stay away from those borders (there are no tourist attractions in the border regions). Eastern neighbour Saudi Arabia does not currently offer tourist visas.

Some countries in this region will refuse you entry if you show evidence of travel to Israel. Consult your local Jordanian embassy to check visa requirements well before you book your holiday.

The final word

If you have even a remote interest in the Middle East, Jordan is a must visit and there are many fantastic tour operators who can guide you seamlessly and on a friendly budget. This country surprised me with how remarkably friendly and safe everyone made me feel and I’m already figuring out ways on visiting again in the future. Now, how do they make such good hummus??

Comment below have you experienced the magic of Jordan yet? Or are you perhaps a bit stuck and need some more information before deciding to jet off?

Suburban Amman
Suburban Amman from the Citadel

Feature photo taken @ The Monastery trail, Petra, Jordan

© tylergoesplaces 2019

Why I Booked a Flight Just to Fly on a Specific Plane

Family, friends, onlookers. This is my #avgeek at 110%

Qantas has recently acquired Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliners’ to their fleet in order to retire the aging Boeing 747 ‘Jumbo’ within the next couple of years. The Jumbo operated on flights between Brisbane (BNE) and Los Angeles daily until December 1, 2018. The last scheduled Jumbo flight from Brisbane was routed Los Angeles-Brisbane-Sydney so the aircraft could return to its base.

Why couldn’t my inner nerd resist temptation? When local media caught wind that the last Jumbo flight departing BNE was on December 1 and making the short hop to Sydney, my ears peaked up with interest. With a busy weekend planned and close to Christmas, I wrote off the idea as not being feasible. Then came Friday night of November 30. We’re out having a few drinks with friends and the topic comes up. Someone suggests that I just do it. I already knew I’d really enjoy the experience, but I had plenty of excuses in the way. After about half an hour of weighing everything up, I booked it, with ten hours to departure and knowing a heavy hangover was coming.

I kept thinking to myself “what had led me to this point? Why am I that obsessed with aviation that I would use my hard earned money into flying on the last service of a flying metal tube? What’s in it for me?”

Flying is magic. That’s a lie, there’s physics and reasoning behind it, but I still feel as though there is an element of magic. This came to me on September 14, 2000, and remember it like yesterday. My father and I were visiting my grandmother in Wollongong, near Sydney and decided to fly as traffic would be crazy the day before the opening of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The excitement in overload, I had heard so much about flying and how great it was. I had a window seat and watched everything outside like a meticulous hawk. We lined up on the runway. The roar, the thrust, the inertia and finally…lift. Being seven years old, this is actually magic!

Floating above the clouds, the flight attendant comes to us and asks if I’d like to visit the cockpit. I’d never heard that term before I didn’t know what that meant. The door opens and I’m greeted by a chirpy crew, an amazing view forwards of the airplane and what looked like 1 million switches, buttons and computers. I don’t remember the conversations we had, but I knew I had found my home, 30,000ft in the sky.

We descend into Sydney on a partly cloudy afternoon. All the sudden from behind a cloud, a massive stadium decked out in blue seats, with the playing arena looking immaculate stands out like a sparkling jewel. It was Sydney Olympic Park ready to go for arguably what was the greatest Opening Ceremony of all time. The Olympics were here, tomorrow! Nothing can beat today. Not a flood of Australian gold medals, not even meeting Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny with the Tooth Fairy all at once.

Stadium Australia, Olympic Games 2000
Stadium Australia during the full swing of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The view from above was spectacular

You’re probably thinking ‘okay Tyler…so you loved your first flight but what does this have to do with the 747 Jumbo?’ This explanation is more straight forward. My primary school offered an educational trip to Japan and I applied for it quicker than you can say konichiwa. Having flown a couple of times now, I knew what to expect from a flight to Sydney, but having never been on a plane for more than an hour, I didn’t quite know what treat I was in for.

Upon arrival at Brisbane International, my eyes are immediately drawn to the massive piece of metal that’s sitting at the gate. It’s a Japan Airlines Boeing 747-300 and I’ve never seen a machine this big before. My dad gets jealous, my mum was probably worried if I packed enough socks, but none of it mattered to me because I was off to Japan. Don’t get me wrong; the flight wasn’t the best thing about the trip. My entire world changed in two weeks in the land of the rising sun and I was incredibly fortunate to experience this. My world had opened to boundless horizons, and simultaneously my love affair with aviation grew out of this world when I was seated at the window of literally a flying monster that accelerates faster, roars louder and transports me to new and exotic cultures.

Japan Airlines 747-300
Japan Airlines 747-300, the aircraft type used in 2004 for Brisbane-Tokyo flights

Circling back to modern day tipsy Tyler at a Brisbane bar on the last day of November 2018; I’ve got a decision to make. This is the last ever Boeing 747 service scheduled out of Brisbane, my home to everything. It’s unlikely another airline will re-introduce the 747 for Brisbane services. On the same token, there are so many reasons why I didn’t have to jump on this flight; there are still quite a few routes and airlines I can fly and go overseas at the same time; Qantas isn’t retiring the entire 747 fleet for another couple of years and other airlines such as Lufthansa have recently taken delivery of the latest 747-8 which will likely be in service for one to two decades. My head was going crazy. It was a fifty-fifty lineball decision to make. What would I think in ten years time when I look back on this decision, which would I regret the least? Goodness just buy the ticket already…so I did.

Qantas Boeing 747
My ride to Sydney on VH-OJS “Hamilton Island” on the last Jumbo service scheduled from Brisbane

And boy did I enjoy every moment of it! The flight was about 80% full; mainly consisting fellow plane nerds, plus a few unsuspecting passengers who had just booked a ticket from Los Angeles to Sydney via Brisbane as part of their normal travel arrangement.

Inside Boing 747
I was very lucky and had three seats to myself on the right hand side

I couldn’t help but take a sub-par selfie to celebrate the moment.

On Boeing 47
My goodness, I am hungover

The departure out of Brisbane was spectacular. Jetting off from runway 01, we banked right and had excellent views of the Brisbane CBD despite a few clouds lurking around.

Brisbane Aerial View
Brisbane on a sparkling Saturday morning

Unfortunately the flight came to an end after a lightning 1 hour 13 minutes. The aircraft was due to fly to Honolulu later that day, but no 747 will be scheduled to fly to the River City again.

External Super Jumbo A380
Exiting via the stairs was a fitting way to end this incredible experience, with a newer generation ‘Super Jumbo’ A380 in the background

Flying has brought this planet closer together over the last six decades with a massive thank you due to the Boeing 747. We have cut our travel times from Sydney to London from two weeks in the mid ’30s to under 24 hours today. This plane revolutionised the way we travel, how we connect with one another in the world and allows opportunity for ordinary people to experience extraordinary things. The naysayers will tell you this plane is old and consumes a lot more fuel than the latest state of the art Dreamliner and isn’t worth flying anymore. However without it, the ease and convenience of travel may be decades behind where we are today.

I chose to fly on that day for a couple of simple reasons. This was the kind of aircraft that first transported me to a new culture, a different way of thinking and many new experiences. I remember my first flight from Brisbane to Sydney and Tokyo so vividly that I can recall facts about those flights a lot faster than remembering what I had for lunch an hour ago. All of my great aviation stories start from Brisbane, it always has for me. That’s why I opted in for the hour-long joy ride, to treasure the memories of old and inspire me to create new ones in the future. Let’s go places.

Featured photo @ Brisbane on take off on QF56 – the last scheduled Boeing 747 service departing BNE

Six Essential Tips to Surviving a Long Haul Flight

Arrive refreshed and ready to go.

With the rise of ultra long haul aircraft (yes that is the plural form of the word) like the Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ and the Airbus A350, long haul travel is definitively the way of the future. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has challenged aircraft manufacturers to build a plane that can fly from the east coast of Australia to London or New York non-stop.

The scenario: You’ve found an amazing airfare from Sydney to Los Angeles for an incredible price. The dreaded 14-hour economy class journey is ahead. How can this possibly be comfortable?

What’s in this for you: Your actions before and during the flight will impact your perception of time, space and comfort. Here are my six essential tips to survive a long haul flight and make your journey that little more enjoyable, even if you are up the pointy end sipping champagne in business or first class.

1. What to wear

What you wear on board determines how comfortable you are en route. Think smart with loose, comfortable clothing that allows ease to sit, move and stretch out comfortably. Don’t underestimate the choice of footwear either. You don’t want to look at someone’s bare feet at 30,000ft and odds are they don’t want to see yours either. Find the comfiest shoes in your wardrobe. Personally, it’s my sneakers. Ditch the skinny jeans, heels or dress shoes, they can be worn at your destination. Wearing tight clothing will gradually increase the feeling of restricted movement and overtime the walls may just close in to appear closer than they are!

2. Carry-on is everything

Saying goodbye to your checked bag for 14 hours means careful selection is needed for what goes into your carry-on bag beyond the obvious passport, laptop, and earphones. Plan for all scenarios, the aircraft aircon may be set to Sahara heatwave or Antarctic blizzard and airlines rarely choose a temperature in between. Mistakes also happen, people spill things, bags get lost, you might find lunch inedible. I never travel without these essentials in my carry-on:

  • Sweater – if the aircon is set to polar breeze
  • Second shirt/shorts – I’ve had dinners spilled on me, and I’m not on fleek wearing braised beef. This is also insurance if checked baggage is delayed or lost
  • Pen – traveling internationally means there are forms to fill out for immigration
  • Power bank – the aircraft USB port won’t always work. Buy a cheap power bank to keep the charge at 100% in order to hit the ground running.
  • Lollies and Muesli Bars – just in case you get the munchies between meal services

Keep in mind that many countries now impose strict liquid and powder limits in your carry-on bag. To avoid drama and keep my bag well below the standard 7kg limit, I put all toiletries in my checked bag and drink plenty of water before arriving at the airport, and ask for bottled water onboard.

Carry-on Essentials
The bare minimum essentials for carry-on

3. Avoid the seating lottery

If I had a penny for every time I’ve seen or heard someone complaining they didn’t get the seat they wanted, I could afford an upgrade to Premium Economy. The complaint is generally followed by the airline staff saying something like ‘you haven’t pre-reserved a seat request’. If you value the view out the window or enjoy that little extra room in the aisle, then pre-select your desired seat. Many airlines are moving towards charging for seat selection depending on the type of airfare you’ve purchased. Agree or disagree with this practice all you like, you’ll be much better off a happy camper with your seat of choice for 14 hours rather than being grumpy stuck in the middle between two strangers!

4. Watch the time

‘I love jetlag’, said no one, ever. There is no silver bullet to beat it however a golden rule of long haul travel is to try and ‘slot’ into the destination time zone as soon as you can. For me, this is setting my watch before the plane takes off. Most onboard welcome announcements will tell you who the pilot is, how long the flight is going to take and the local time at the destination. Use this as a reminder to set your watch/phone to the destination straight away. If possible, plan your naps around your destination timezone. In the example below, when we take off at 11:15am in Sydney, I will convert this to LA time which is 4:15pm (depending on daylight saving for each country). With arrival at 6:05am I know I will want to aim to sleep as much as I can in the last few hours of the flight in order to maximise the full day upon arrival. Easier said than done? Yes. Impossible? No.

Virgan Aus SYD-LAX
Beat the jet lag as best you can, convert 11:15am Sydney time to LA time when you take off and plan your naps set to the LA time zone

5. Let me entertain you!

Many airlines now offer extensive entertainment systems with hundreds of hours of movies, TV and music onboard. Sometimes no matter how much content is loaded, you just might not fancy the latest Hollywood blockbuster or season seven of The Big Bang Theory…again. Don’t rely on the airline entertaining you the entire way. Being 2019, many streaming providers have made things easier than ever, by allowing downloads of TV shows and movies of your choice directly to your device. At the same time, download your favourite music and search your app store to find a few easy to navigate games. If you’re prone to being bored easily and you’ve booked a daytime flight, consider a window seat for an ever-changing landscape. If you’re still bored, go low tech and read a book. Maximising your options helps ensure you will always be entertained. As they say time flies when you’re having fun.

6. Please, go for a walk!

Personally, this is the most important activity on a long haul flight. The effects of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are well documented and is a risk on longer flights. If sitting at the window or the middle, the person sitting in the aisle cannot expect you to stay stuck to your seat for hours on end, don’t be shy to get up occasionally. Go for a proper walk from the rear of the plane to the front. If you’re on a widebody aircraft with a large exit area, use it to stretch the back and leg muscles. You might feel a little (or very) awkward, but you need to take your own health seriously over how you might look for a minute to keep your body working.

These six essential tips to survive a long haul flight should have you feeling relaxed and ready to holiday from the moment you touchdown! There are many more tips and tricks out there which I’m excited to share. How do you manage long periods up in the sky? Let me know by commenting below!

Please note that products, services, and companies directly or indirectly mentioned in this article are used as examples and do not constitute my endorsement.

Feature photo captured @ sunrise over the Philippines en route to Hong Kong

©tylergoesplaces 2019


I’m Tyler & I like to go places!

Simplifying travel for everyone.

This website has been created for very basic reasons. I enjoy traveling, I like writing and I love being able to help people with simple tricks and tips that I have picked up along the way.

What’s in this for you? I’ll break down this confusing industry into easy to understand bites. Whether you’re a platinum frequent flyer or never left your town, or somewhere in between; I’ll share simple hacks that will allow you to travel like a pro.

Look out for articles such as ‘how to find the perfect airfare‘ and ‘tips on how to find the best offbeat places to explore’ coming soon.

Everything you see here will be raw, honest tips and feedback from my experiences. I’m very “basic” in that I use my phone as my camera, use a backpack as my suitcase and cram my 6’4″ body into economy class seats. You can learn more about me here.

So what are you waiting for? Come along with me, let’s discover this big blue ball that we call Earth together! You can follow me on Instagram @tylergoesplaces_, keep up to date via Facebook or be the first to see new articles via the email link at the bottom of this page.

Feel free to comment below and let me know what do you want to know about travel? What travel conundrums can I help you solve?

Featured photo captured @ Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, East Java, Indonesia

©tylergoesplaces 2019

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