The long road to the start destination 

There is not usually a lot to write about the transit between countries.

On the Brisbane to Singapore leg I was able to sleep for a large part of the 8 hours, thanks to an impulse purchase I made a few months ago – Bose Noise Cancelling headphones. They worked a dream in cutting out the hum of the engines and the seven screaming babies! 😂

In Singapore I ventured into the butterfly garden and was very promptly reminded I was in Singapore. The humidity hit me (and my Winter layers) hard, so I didn’t study the butterflies as carefully as I am sure some do.

Nothing much was open so after I had a massage (such a good find) I started my quest to locate somewhere that I could have my feet nibbled by fish! A 2 minute journey on the sky train took me to Terminal 2 where I located a fish bar. It was a strange feeling but I got used to it and after my 20 minutes had lapsed I wished I could stay longer. I am yet to see what good the fish actually did…

Changi was extremely clean and organised. I was so impressed by rhe bathrooms I couldn’t resist taking a photo!

Singapore Airport
Singapore Airport
Singapore Airport
Singapore Airport

In the air on the Singapore to London leg, about 2 hours after take off and despite being in a window seat next to a lovely English couple who were telling me about their holiday in Auckland, I moved from the front of the plane (clearly the economy section, not first class!) to the last row of seats after I inquired with the flight attendants about the number of empty seats at the back of the plane and whether I could move.

I was able to set up a makeshift bed and had a much more comfortable journey than I had anticipated! I had a lot of walking space behind me which was great, as I could get up every now and then to stretch.

Singapore to London
Singapore to London
Singapore to London

When on a plane for 14 hours one must occupy oneself… I started jotting down things I found helpful or that I wished I had brought. Lessons for my future travels!

– Purchase cheap 100ml hand sanitiser and upon boarding squeeze onto food tray table. Wipe down with a paper towel and then wipe other areas you may touch e.g. screen or screen remote

– Bring a pen for filling in immigration forms

– Visit the bathroom just after reaching cruising altitude so you can gauge the seating situation. If there are rows of spare seats enquire with a flight attendant about moving. I did and have a whole row of three to myself

– Try to get up every hour and do simple stretching and cardio exercises. On the A380 at the back of the plane there is a spiral stairwell which I walked up and down for ten minutes (use the rail if you get dizzy!) every hour.

– Drink a lot of water!

– Be nice to others and especially to the flight attendants. No one enjoys being cramped on a plane for 14 hours (unless you are lucky enough to be in a “suite” – I didn’t even know these existed!) and being kind and friendly will make the time much nicer for everyone.

– Bring a smaller bag within your carry on bag which is compact enough to fit the essentials you will need on your journey. In my carry on I brought a lot more than I needed, largely to ensure I could get by a for a few nights if my luggage was lost (optimistic!)

– Remember the following –

* Fess nasal spray. Helps to ensure you don’t pick up any lurgies from those sneezing and coughing around you

* Optimist for dry eyes

* Face moisturiser

* Avene thermal water spray (small size)… it really does help hydrate the skin

* Empty water bottle. The flight attendants will bring cups of water to you, however they are only small cups and asking them to constantly wait on you because of your camel-like thirst is probably annoying (this has been me in the past). Remember that when going through customs your bottle needs to be empty. In Changi airport the customs attendant emptied my bottle for me and when I was in Japan 4 yeara ago they sniffed the liquid… not sure if this is protocol or if they were just being nice.

* slip on shoes

* compression socks

* warm clothes, because the cabin gets bitterly cold and even with three blankets you will feel the chill

* Noise cancelling headphones. These are one of the best investments I have made – I can hear the movies or music without bursting my eardrums and there is no constant humming of the engine.

What not to bring:

– Germs. Seriously, if you are coughing and spluttering everywhere and you are genuinely sick (i.e. not just dry from recirculated air in a plane) please can you wear a mask out of courtesy to others? The Japanese do this and I think it is incredibly polite.

– Food (unless you have children/babies). You get fed SO much on a plane. I don’t remember having such lavish meals the last time I travelled. Being a Vegetarian I also have the benefit of receiving my meals first when they are nice and hot.

My stop for the night before heading off on my flight to Budapest was the Novotel London Heathrow. I highly recommend this hotel – my room was warm and very comfortable. The foyer was beautifully decorated for Christmas with the English football on the TV in the background. The overnight temperature dropped to below 0°C so there was some lovely frost around when I got up and about.

Morning frost in London
My room at the Novotel London
View from my room at the Novotel London Heathrow
Novotel London Heathrow foyer

The weather in London was beautiful and sunny when I departed. It was pitch black when I landed in Budapest at 4:30pm. The cab ride from the airport to hostel was 21km and cost 6,780 Hungarian Forint…. about AUD $32! I wandered around the streets checking out my surroundings and everything is so cheap! The currency is very confusing, though!

For my first night in Budapest I will have my own room in a hostel, which is pushing me out of my comfort zone but prepping me for the following three nights when I am going to be sharing as part of the three-night TopDeck NYE tour. I have a feeling I may need to see if this room is available for a few more nights as I may have passed the days… that is assuming they ever existed…of sharing a room with strangers.

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