I know nothing about travelling to Australia - please help

(22 Posts)
notnowImreading Sat 20-Jul-13 13:01:02

My lovely friend who lives just outside Sydney has invited me to visit in August - I have about two weeks to get sorted from a standing start. I have never travelled on my own before, although I'm not a nervous traveller particularly. I know nothing about going so far (not been past the Mediterranean - so please treat me like an idiot and tell me what I might need to know.

It will just be me travelling. I am flexible with dates and will stay with my friend so no accommodation costs unless we go somewhere other than her house. I have £2000 plus an empty credit card but don't want to go mad with money.

Can I get there in one flight or will the plane need to stop for petrol? Is it better to stop or go direct. If it's better to stop, is there a best place to stop or anywhere to avoid for a woman on her own? Will I need a visa or injections? Etc. I don't really know what I should be asking.

Help!

Thank you smile

notnowImreading Sat 20-Jul-13 13:01:36

PS I know planes don't use petrol really.

saffronwblue Sat 20-Jul-13 13:07:55

You will have about 12 hours on the plane from the UK then will stop for a couple of hours to refule in Singapore, Hong Kong or Bangkok. You will stay in the airport and they will direct you on to your next plane( or back on to the original plane) . Your luggage wlil go straight through. It is another 9 hours from Asia to Sydney. You will feel jetlagged for the first few days on arrival - waking at odd times in the night. You won't need injectionsl. You could book a night in a hotel coming or going to break up the journey.

Bippidee Sat 20-Jul-13 13:08:11

We flew virgin, stopped in HK for about 4 hours then carried on. If flying to Sydney, sit on the RH side of the plane, fab views of the opera house as you come in to land.

My DH's strategy given our flight time (6am arrival in Sydney) was to ... Erm... Drink reasonably heavily to HK, sleep from HK to Sydney.

It is 2 long flights, so take a good book, or sort out your in-flight film viewing in advance!

Nothing else I can add particularly, but I much prefer travelling alone. If you have airmiles, and have enough to upgrade, then it's well worth it.

Have a fabulous trip!

saffronwblue Sat 20-Jul-13 13:15:48

Sorry my post was a bit garbled. You could book a stopover in whatever Asian city the plane refuels in. If you are flying, for example Singapore Airlines, they usually have good deals for Singapore hotels. A bus will take you from the airport to your hotel for 24 hours - you can sleep, swim have a city tour etc before doing the final leg of the flight.If you do this you need to collect your luggage and go through customs/immigration to enter Singapore ( or wherever).
August is still winter in Sydney. You may have gorgeous weather or not!

chelsbells Sat 20-Jul-13 13:30:17

It all becomes very simple once you're on your way. We always flew with Singapore Airlines, very nice staff, good food and nice airport to stop down in.

Best option is to get a late night flight from UK, eg 10pm, you can the sleep for most of the first flight, and feel slightly more refreshed when you land for the first time. As others have mentioned the airline sort all your luggage if its going to be a different plane, you literally walk off the plane, wait in the lounge and re-board. Simples!
All your meals are provided for Long haul flights on board, and I often found them to be quite often and there's always plenty of drinks when you want them.
Hope you have a fab time! And take a good book for the flight smile

Where are you flying from?

lightrain Sat 20-Jul-13 13:31:15

I've done this route quite a few times and used to live in Sydney. Here's my advice:
- fly emirates or virgin. Do not fly Malaysian airways.
- I prefer a flight without an overnight stopover. As pp says, you'll still need to stop in Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong for refuel but only a couple of hours. My advice would be to take advantage of this stopover in the airport and brush your teeth, wash face, etc. then get a coffee and just sit with a book. Time flies.
- you don't need any injections if you're staying in Sydney
- you need a tourist visa, you need to appy online before you go. Web page here explains visa
- the airport you refuel at is really safe so don't worry about that. You won't go outside of the holding area unless you are doing an overnight stopover.
- you will need to take all you hand luggage off when refuelling (not the luggage that's checked into the hold though). It will need to be taken through security again, so just remember that and the to pack as lightly as you can for hand luggage or its a pain
- when you get to Australia and wait for your bags to come off the carousel, there are lots of police and sniffer dogs. There are very strict rules on what you can bring in and not - no shoes with mud on, no pine comes, no fruit. It's to protect Australia from pests and insects from foreign countries. They're also a bit funny about food coming in, so best to read up on the rules before you pack it or else it'll be embarrassing when you get there!

Hope that helps, have a fab time. Sydney is beautiful.

notnowImreading Sat 20-Jul-13 14:07:08

That's all great advice, thank you all. I guess I will be flying from Heathrow - a London airport, anyway. I will look into Emirates, Virgin and Singapore Airlines for flights, then, and stock up the kindle.

Anymore tips very welcome.

I would add wear something comfortable. It's a l

I would add wear something comfortable. It's a long way if your clothes are tight!

I got very cold feet on a flight home from Oz, so perhaps take warm socks in your hand luggage. I also found it impossible to sleep without an eye mask - some airlines provide them though.

Keep hydrated during the flight - I would accept every offer of water going.

specialsubject Sat 20-Jul-13 20:41:20

you will not believe how long the journey takes. If it is economy class you will be cramped, so get up and walk around every hour or so. Most planes now have seatback screens with lots of entertainment.

to add to all the useful stuff: take an EMPTY big water bottle through security. Fill it at a tap before boarding, then you've got lots of water. They do hand it out but it is never enough.

expect to feel awful for about 3 days due to jet lag. Do not even THINK of driving in this time.

get that visa sorted and DON'T FORGET TRAVEL INSURANCE.

oh and just to check you know it will be winter!

notnowImreading Sat 20-Jul-13 23:37:39

Yeah but that's fine with me - I'm not great with heat and I'm just looking forward to seeing my friend. What do people wear on planes for that long? I've been on 16 hour bus journeys through France and jeans were always okay but maybe something softer would be better. Would they judge me if I got into my pyjamas?

Mosschops30 Sat 20-Jul-13 23:46:22

If you fly emirates you won't always have to refuel in Bangkok.
You can fly lon-dxb-syd

Also if you choose your flights to be on one of the airbus a380 (you can check this on emirates website) the seats in economy are fantastic, big, lots of space, great reclining, inflight entertainment excellent.
Also emirates will hand out 2L bottles of water so no need to take your own

I would wear light layers. I wore a cotton dress with leggings under (so I didn't flash my knickers trying to get comfy, I'm not very ladylike) and a cardi.

Someone in another thread suggests yoga type clothes.

saffronwblue Sun 21-Jul-13 11:15:23

I hate to say it but the less free alcohol you drink, the better you will feel.

You can't take liquids of more than 100 ml with you in the cabin on any flight going into Australia. I have had a beautiful bottle of Italian Limoncello seized at Hong Kong airport. <<bitter>>

AppleYumYum Sun 21-Jul-13 12:07:01

Good advice above. I fly back to Aus fairly regularly, the airline you choose does change the experience. I usually use Emirates these days because we moved up North. I find them ok but the customer service isn't very warm or caring, and they treat the flight as just sectors, rather than if you fly Qantas for example it's the "Kangaroo route" and they assume you're in for the long haul and have nice snack packs for overnight with a bottle of water etc.

I hate stopping in Dubai, it is so busy and each time the changeover is more and more complicated, a huge hike across the terminal and last time a shuttle train as well to get to the gates. Having done it so many times it's fine, but if I hadn't been there before and was on my own I would be overwhelmed. Stopping in Hong Kong, Bangkok or Singapore is much more pleasant. However, Qantas are now partners with Emirates so use Dubai now too. So I'd recommend Singapore airlines if prices are much of a muchness.

Watch out for sneaky stop overs, Emirates often have sneaky stops in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, flights should be 22-24 hours total with 1 stop over to re-fuel. The less time sitting around the airport at the change over the better. Also watch for code share flights. Just because you think you are booking on the Qantas website you may be on a flight operated by Emirates for example. Also arriving either there or back in the afternoon or early evening is best for jet lag, you can normally stay awake a few hours then crash and sleep at local night time, which gets you quickly into the time zone, arriving at 6am is hard as you try to stay awake but it's too long until night and if you cave in and sleep then you don't sleep well that night and prolong the jet lag.

Oh and get one of those nice microbead neck pillows they sell at the airport, pack some baby wipes and a pair of fresh undies, it's nice to have a little wash and freshen up at some point.

I'll stop waffling on now, remember once you step off that plane you'll forget all about the flight. Have fun grin

specialsubject Sun 21-Jul-13 13:27:50

no-one will judge, but loose trousers and t-shirt, with a fleece jumper, are the best outfit for plane travel. Trainers too - your feet will swell.

temperature in the plane varies - they tweak it for fuel economy and also when they want you to go to sleep.

CrackerSnacker Sun 21-Jul-13 13:46:00

I've never been outside Europe either and am flying to Melbourne next Sat with my 3yr old for 5 weeks. Think I'm almost sorted...

Get the e-visitors visa - it doesn't cost anything
- - Halifax credit card for overseas purchasing (recommended by MSE site). Also got some cash too.
- We're flying with Singapore Air, 3hr stop in
Singapore. Flights for us both totalled £2k.
- ipod/tablet for flight. Sweets/travel sickness tabs
- and if you like a lot of hand luggage space, I've got a massive rucksack from CabinZero. Though, as you're travelling alone, you can choose style over practicality :-)
- re: food, I'm taking choc for my ex-pat friends. You just fill in the form on arrival and it's fairly straightforward (so I've been told)

How exciting for you!

NannyR Sun 21-Jul-13 14:00:19

I've not been for a few years but I used to find that taking the flight that left London around lunchtime and arrived in sydney around 6pm worked best for me in terms of avoiding jet lag.
I don't really sleep well on planes, just catnap, so on arrival would go to my hotel, eat then go straight to bed and sleep like a log, waking up in the morning local time.
I always tried to spend as much time as possible outside on the first day, (not difficult with all the lovely beaches!) as the sunlight helps to sort out your body clock.

specialsubject Sun 21-Jul-13 17:01:01

BTW OP - tell the bank/ credit card company where you are going, and when. This is to ensure that your cards aren't stopped.

and take with their contact number as a geographic number (not 0845/0870).

notnowImreading Sun 21-Jul-13 19:23:30

Brilliant, I hadn't thought of letting the bank know. I love mumsnet - it's a proper hive-mind.

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