This article is sponsored by Tourism NT
A holiday can be a regenerating time as you come down from the stress of modern life and relax into what feels like endless days to fill up as you wish – or not fill at all!
But we don’t always have the luxury of taking an extended period of time off to jet overseas and we don’t always need to do so to get that same recharged feeling.
Taking a short trip within Australia can provide all the magic of a long holiday without the hefty price tag that overseas travel can attract. Between our white sand beaches, our spectacular national parks and our rolling wine country, there’s something local to tickle every taste.
But if you’ve ever headed home from a short trip feeling like you’d just begun, it’s time to get travel-savvy. There are simple hacks you can use to get the most out of your next short trip away.
1. Getting there
Skyscanner recently researched more than 250 million flight prices out of Sydney over the last three years and crunched the data to reveal the best time to book. Cheapest months to fly include May and November, while booking your domestic flight 13 weeks in advance typically yields the cheapest results.
Consider limiting your baggage to only carry-on to decrease wait times and streamline your airport experience. Packing everything you think you need into a small carry-on case can be daunting at first – but there are some easy rules to play by.
Rolling your clothes, rather than folding them, is a great spacing technique. Bring lightweight pieces that can seamlessly turn your outfit from day to night, which can include jewellery or a nice jacket. Leaving your heavy toiletries behind and travelling with product samples is a great way to reduce baggage weight too – remember, you won’t get more than 100ml through airport security anyway.
Most airlines will let you check in for your flight using your smart device and the airline’s app. From there you can download your boarding pass to your phone and head straight to security and to your boarding gate, which means there’s no need to do any printing – or queuing.
2. Staying there
It can be easy to jump in and book a run-of-the-mill hotel with a recognisable name and reputation. But choosing quirky or unusual accommodation can add a fun new dimension to your mini-trip. Be open to the idea of accommodation that pushes you a little out of your comfort zone – it’s all part of the experience!
If you’re looking for that elusive complimentary upgrade, there are some strategic moves you can make to better position yourself to receive one.
Generally, the shorter the stay, the more likely the complimentary upgrade. If you politely enquire about a potential upgrade on an overnight stay, a hotel is more likely to say yes because they can re-sell your premium room for the rack rate the following morning – a room that may have stayed empty otherwise.
Time your check-in to be one of the first of the day, which usually means arriving late afternoon. Between 6pm and 8pm is typically a busy time for reception, and beating the rush means there’s more opportunity for you to form a rapport with the front desk, which can increase your chances of an upgrade. Don’t forget – politeness and friendliness will get you everywhere.
3. Being there
You could do a lot of research beforehand about where to dine, drink and visit, but locals are usually the best resources for the secrets of the area. Ask reception when checking in about the tastiest restaurants, unique local attractions, hidden hikes and the best coffee in town. The people on the ground always know their home the best, and they’re usually keen to share their secrets.
A great way to immerse yourself in a new place when you’re short on time is tohead along to local markets – particularly if your trip falls across a weekend. Local markets are bursting with the area’s best produce, arts and crafts and music and they are a great way to experience a breadth of culture in a short amount of time.
While you’re away, splurge on one thing. Whether it is purchasing a pair of designer sunglasses you absolutely love, or having one expensive dinner overlooking the ocean, or even screaming your way through an outdoor adventure activity like tandem skydiving – make one thing about your short trip away memorable and unique.
That way, you’ll have one main thing to take away from your trip and enjoy until it’s time for the next one!
This article is sponsored by Tourism NT