Make every weekend a long one, by maximising your time, and grabbing an early morning flight.
Getting up ridiculously early to jump on a plane isn't as bad as you might think. Early morning flights are usually the cheapest option, plus there's no need to wait for a late-arriving aircraft. Your plane has been waiting at the airport overnight and – just like you – it's prepped and ready to go. Here are some tips for coping with flights that have you getting up before the birds.
Set two alarms
Never rely solely on one alarm - whether it's your own, or a hotel wake-up call (which doesn't always eventuate). Always set two: that could mean a traditional clock and a phone, a smart watch and a hotel call, or any other combination you may have.
Plan your outfit
Choosing what you're going to wear and laying it out the night before can equate to an extra five or 10 minutes in bed. If you're travelling with young children, consider letting them sleep in their travel clothes. Buckling a sleepy fully dressed child into their car seat is easier than dressing a cranky one who has woken up early. If you're lucky, they'll go back to sleep in the car.
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Sort out your bags
Ensure all your documents and other essentials are packed in your handbag or carry-on bag and leave this by the front door so you don't forget it. Don't forget to pack your mask in your hand luggage, as these are needed for domestic and international flights right now. Pre-loading any suitcases in the boot of the car the night before is a good idea as well. It is easy to forget things when you're tired.
Get your documents in order
Keep any paperwork for the morning you depart in an easy-to-reach section of your hand luggage. Fumbling around at the check-in counter is guaranteed to make you feel even grumpier. If it's possible to check in online for your flight in advance, this makes for an even smoother departure.
Pay a little extra to park
Parking at an off-site airport parking garage might be cheaper but parking at the airport will give you up to an hour's extra sleep-in time. Don't leave home too early as there will probably be very little traffic to contend with. Treat yourself to a few extra minutes in bed instead.
Getting to the airport
If you don't want to drive to the airport and are worried about getting there on time, book an executive or private car service so you can arrive as scheduled. Once you have a preferred car service or individual driver, you can book them for every early morning trip. If you are catching a taxi or an Uber, allow extra time when you call in case a car isn't immediately available near your house, particularly if you live in the outer suburbs. It's not uncommon to wait up to 15 minutes for your ride to arrive in the early hours of the morning.
Stay at the airport
If it takes you an hour or more to reach the airport or you would like an extra sleep in, consider staying at an airport hotel the night before - most will offer convenient and affordable accommodation within easy reach of the terminals. Some airport hotels offer handy extras, such as up to 14 days free car parking or complimentary airport transfers.
Eat when you arrive
Grab breakfast at the airport if flying hungry early in the morning makes you "hangry". Ditto with caffeine. Grab a takeaway brew and find a comfy spot to watch the planes take off while you wait for your flight to board. If you don't enjoy airport food (or you do enjoy it, but not the price), bring a breakfast snack from home.