Packing for a flight is never an easy time, whether it’s a week-long trip, going home for the holidays, or moving to a new country. To try and make it easier for you, we’ve pulled together some of our best tips and tricks below.
Tips for packing for a flight
Make a list. Make a list, check it twice, and tick off each item as you pack. It might sound obvious, but having a physical list of absolutely everything you need to bring will ensure you don’t forget things like any medication, your favourite t-shirt, or the jar of Vegemite you promised your Aunt.
Roll your clothes. While usually in the realm of information given to backpackers, rolling your clothes tightly is a great way to maximise what you can take, and conserve space. The beauty of this tip is that once the clothes are rolled, you can place them at the bottom and sides of your suitcase as padding, to protect any fragile items you might be bringing.
Always put fragile items in the middle of your suitcase. Wrap them in jumpers, surround them with other clothes, and always put your fragiles in a plastic bag. This way they’ll be padded, and should the worst happen, there won’t be pieces of your favourite vase all through your suitcase.
Do you really need to bring that? It’s hard deciding what you need when packing for a flight, but sometimes you have to be ruthless. If you’re packing up for good, ask yourself, ‘Can I get this back home?’ If not, leave it behind. Donate it to charity, give it to a friend, sell it on Gumtree or your educational institution’s noticeboard, and move on.
Know your airline’s luggage limit. Checked baggage varies anywhere from 20kg to 30kg, so make sure you check before you get to the airport. Some airlines even let you split this across two suitcases, which is useful. Most airlines also let you bring a carry-on item of up to 7kg, and an extra handbag or laptop case, so make the most of this and stow a few extra books and cables in your handbag so you have more room in your suitcase.
There are plenty of websites out there with useful information on packing for a flight, so if you’re stuck, do a quick internet search for more useful tips.
How to save money on flights
We all want to save money, and flights are some of the most expensive things a student can buy. Here are a few tips to help you save some money when you fly.
Use incognito mode when browsing. This will avoid your search history being monitored by airlines. The more they see people searching for flights, the more demand it creates, and the price may increase. Browsing incognito means the airlines can’t track you and won’t see your searches. It sounds paranoid, but it works.
Use a cheap flight website. Skyscanner, AirFareWatchDog, and Expedia are all great websites to compare and contrast the cheapest flight options. You might find airlines you’ve never heard of before offering a super-cheap deal. Alternatively, STA Travel caters to students and will do all they can to get you the best deal.
Book each leg separately. It will take a little more effort, but these days you can use low-budget airlines to get cheap tickets between cities, which can end up being cheaper than one long-haul flight with a stop-over. Have a look at a few websites and see what options you have.
Travel at the cheapest times. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are generally thought to be the cheapest days to fly. Book the redeye flight for an even bigger saving.
Bring your own snacks. If you’re travelling on a low-budget airline, food and drinks will usually be extra – and expensive. Save yourself some money and pack your own meal and water. You’re sure to get a better quality of food, too.
Weigh your luggage. It might sound obvious, but always make sure you’re within the luggage limit for your airline. Exceeding your luggage limit can be expensive, and the cost of a few extra kilos can set you back almost $100.
Booking return flights for next semester. The one piece of advice we have for booking flights for your next semester is to remember to actually book flights for next semester! The closer you get to your return date, the more expensive your flight will be.
Book your return flight when you book your flight home using the tips above, and you’ll be sure to get the best deal. Click here to read more on saving money when travelling.
How to enjoy/not hate your flight
Flying should be an adventure, but it’s hard to feel that way when you’re cramped on a plane with hundreds of other people. We’ve got a few tips on how to get the most out of your flight and make it a more pleasant experience.
Plan for your flight. In your carry-on luggage, make sure to pack what you need to survive. Bring a book, a tablet, or some form of entertainment – but if it’s electronic, don’t forget the charger! Bring the minimum amount of toiletries to keep you feeling human; the feeling of brushed teeth on a long-haul flight can’t be beaten. And, while pedantic, packing your snacks in the order you want them means no annoying rummaging through your bag. You seatmate will thank you for this tip.
Book an aisle seat. While it means you don’t get the view from the window, it does mean you can get up and stretch your legs whenever you want. It’s easier to speak to the flight attendants and go to the bathroom, and if you book the aisle seat in a two-seater row, there’s the potential for the seat next to you to remain free. After all, no one willingly puts themselves next to someone else on a flight.
Look around. If you’ve booked a late-night flight, there’s a good chance the flight won’t be full. When you get to your seat, keep an eye out for free rows. When the seatbelt sign switches off, go for it. Free rows are fair game, and if you get there first, it’s yours.
Get comfortable. If you’ve got a long flight ahead of you, it pays to be comfortable. Many people bring travel pillows, but think about bringing pyjamas, a face mask and ear plugs, too. Familiar pyjamas will let your body know it’s time for sleep, and the mask and plugs will block out light and sound and let you snooze better.
Stay hydrated. The atmosphere inside the plane is dry, so be sure to bring a bottle of water or two to sip on throughout the flight. A headache, dry mouth, or general fuzzy-headedness all indicate that you’re dehydrated. Staying hydrated means you’ll feel more alert during the flight, and will help you avoid that gross feeling at the end of it. Also, as much as it may hurt, try and avoid alcohol or coffee on long flights. These are diuretics, and while fun, only increase dehydration.
Flying with excess baggage
If you think you’re going to need more baggage coming home with you, it pays to look outside your airline’s expensive excess baggage option. While excess baggage will never be cheap, there are services out there that cater to flyers who need more luggage than what airlines offer.
If you’re in Perth, Exportair is a great option for sending your personal belongings and goods back home. You have the option of sending a bag, or packing a box, and having these items arrive at your nominated location by air or sea. Simply get a quote online, book, pack your bags or boxes as per their instruction, and let them do the rest.