Australians love to travel and I’m one of them. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics we took a record 8.4 million short-term overseas trips in the year ending June 2013. That’s a lot of flying time!
As you know, I love pretty much everything about Italy. But the one thing I really don’t look forward to, is getting there. Did you know that transit time from the major capital cities in Australia to Milan or Rome is around 23 hours? So, how do you make travelling as easy as possible?
Don’t pack to the weight limit. It’s not necessary to pack everything ‘just in case’. You will be able to find the same or similar household or personal items in supermarkets and chemists in Italy if the need arises. Leave a bit of room for a few items you might like to buy. After all, Italy is the place for fashion and style!
Fly the most direct route. From Adelaide, fly to Singapore and then to Milan or Rome. Alternatively, fly to Dubai and from there to Rome. I usually fly with Singapore Airlines, which I can recommend for efficient, friendly service. In the 7 years I’ve been travelling to Italy I’ve had no problems such as lost or damaged luggage, delays or cancelled flights.
Book a room in one of the transit hotels if your stopover in Singapore or Dubai is more than 6 hours but less than 24 hours, There’s nothing worse than hanging around an airport for hours even if Changi has been voted World’s best airport.
Hotel rooms in the transit hotels in Changi are booked for a minimum of 6 hours and then by the hour if you want to extend your stay. Prices start from AU$40 for a budget room to around AU$75 for a double room for a 6 hour block. Rooms have a television, en-suite bathroom and you can even make a cup of tea or coffee.
Eat and drink healthy. Drink plenty of water in-flight. Take an empty water bottle with you and ask the flight attendant to fill it for you before take-off. Don’t drink too much alcohol, it will dehydrate you. Avoid spicy foods or anything that gives you gas. Bring some healthy snacks if you like to graze – nuts, dried fruit, a bit of chocolate (yes!) and raw carrots. Place in snap lock plastic bags which you can throw away when empty.
Put a comfort pack in your carry on luggage.
- Sleep mask and ear plugs to block out some of the noise if it affects your sleep.
- A travel pillow, one that inflates so it doesn’t take up much room in your bag.
- A pair of socks or fold up ballet flats. Flipsters have lots of different styles to choose from and they fold up small enough for your handbag.
- Wet wipes and a set of mini toiletries, especially moisturiser are must haves for freshening up on long haul flights. Place in a clear snap lock bag for going through customs (make sure you stick to the 100ml limit for each item)
- A shawl or wrap in case you need an extra layer – and it folds up small.
Stretch and move around. Get out of your seat occasionally, move your ankles around and massage your calves; long journeys increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Wear comfortable clothes that are easy on the body for long hours in your seat and shoes that are easy to take off and put on. Just don’t look like a slob – thongs and dirty shorts or tracksuit pants are not a good look, especially when you land in Italy where la bella figura is important.
Bring a spare outfit. 23 hours in the same clothes can make you feel grubby and uncomfortable. And who wants to look crumpled and spilled on when you land!
Take some local currency with you as well as your credit or debit card. The last thing you want to do after a travelling for 23 hours is to find a money exchange to change your cash for a taxi or the train. And although most shops in the big cities will accept your credit card, some stores and lodgings especially in small towns and in the country, will only accept cash.
Long haul flights are uncomfortable unless you are fortunate to fly business or first class. If you have any tips please share, we could all use suggestions to make the journey less arduous.
Buon viaggio! Isabella