There’s Only So Much A Travelator Can Do

Yes, the featured image is of a Qantas plane… but this post isn’t about the flying kangaroo.

So a friend of mine is moving to England to start a teaching job. Naturally I’m happy for her and a little bit… nah, make that a lot of envious because I love London and those English have access to peanut butter Oreos! It’s really something else… but this isn’t about London either.

My friend hasn’t been to England, or Europe, and naturally she has questions like a lot of inexperienced young travelers (there’s always something we don’t know sqwat about) so I’ve been answering as best as I can – they’ve ranged from How many bags will a certain airline allow me to carry? (AGAIN, THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE KANGAROO) and How should I get around London when I get there?

All valid, but it’s the questions relating to the transit from airport to airport, and getting through those bad boys… especially if there’re multiple transfers, that got me thinking how the whole process can often times turn into a bit of a shit storm.

Obviously a post was going to take shape.

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Now I haven’t done sky-time that features a small window of opportunity to reach a connecting flight – the shortest window I’ve had has been about three hours in Dubai, from Melbourne to London, and that wasn’t too bad except for when I had to go through a security check.

That is a valid process and your good Sheep endorses security protocols in airports, but you gotta hate the hassle it all comes with.

Adding all of that to a small window of opportunity (I have heard some Doha horror stories from a lovely Hungarian) you’re asking for a hard time and there’s only so much a travelator can do (Mum loves these things when she’s hitting up Sydney for a quilt show) so I thought, I know a couple a tricks that can be of benefit to the inexperienced traveler.

Know the lay of the land… when you land.

Research your transfer airport or airports – you have my sympathies if the latter is the case – and make sure you know how long you have there. Figure out how big said transfer airports are and determine the distance between your gates. You might have a complimentary shuttle service of some sort to take advantage of, like the buses and trains at Madrid-Barajas International Airport.

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This is Coolangatta Airport in case anyone was wondering. Not a huge hassle to take on, but I needed a picture of an airport. Let’s move on now.

Say Goodbye to badarsedom… if you already had it.

It’s official, if someone other than your family or best friend calls you a badarse then that means you are one (you’re welcome, people of Iran), and that might compel you to dress appropriately. However, as much as I love my leather jacket, it does feature metal parts and will have to come off at security – same goes for a belt and JEWELLERY!

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Dress light! This is where a hoodie and tracksuit pants, or pants that will stay up, will save you some much needed minutes, and I’ll just add that this post hasn’t been tailored exclusively for men – a dress is just fine if you prefer one ladies.

For when you’re Speedy Gonzalez.

I’ve seen a lot of people have to take their footwear off because it featured, yet again, metal parts that those security scanners love to go off about. I got this message into my head after flying from Marrakech to Amsterdam, via Madrid, and I thought, why the **** am I not wearing my runners – nothing Magneto can piss around with!

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These boys have a second birthday coming up, I’ll just add.

Your laptop might make you a technophobe.

This rule is pretty standard – security will want you to put your laptop… and your other devices I suppose (I’m not big on carrying too much tech – makes me feel less human). That said, have everything out ready to put into one of the trays the security goons will be dishing out.

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Duty Free is an enchanting thing.

If it’s your first time flying international, learn in advance what Duty Free is because said wonder, of what you might mistake for a divine bottle shop at Crown Casino, might slow you down (actually happened – thought I’d left the airport). I’ve never actually shopped at one… to date… but they are very nice to walk through.

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That and the selfie opportunities are beautiful. This is my sister by the way, on her way to New Zealand for her honeymoon… and proof that this post has Oreo leanings. Funny that.

Know where to pee free.

This one is really important if you’re flying through countries with an Islamic flavour (keep reading and you will understand, I promise). During my transfer in Dubai I really needed to use the toilet, and upon finding a little sign of a figure (there were male and female ones) standing against a… temple-like building I thought I was good, but oh no.

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Rest assured (irony?), seeing several men bowing down to pray was enough to send me on my way without unwillingly committing a blasphemy. Don’t worry, I was at the mercy of a bum gun within a few minutes.

Raise your fist in triumph!

This is a no brainer. You’re through security, Duty Free (and ignoring it’s wonders) and hopefully without the need to relieve yourself, so it’s time to get to your gate. Now I’m going to stress this one – if time really, really is against you, this is where those runners I mentioned before will come in handy. After all, it will have you taking bitchin shots like this again which really bring in the Facebook Likes.

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And that’s what I’ve got to offer to the inexperienced young traveler. This is what I’ve learnt over the years and I’m always like to learn something new, so I might mention it.

Additional photography was provided by Kathlene Cook and Ashim D’Silva