In Part 1 of this article, we discussed the best ways to take advantage of a New Zealand vacation, focusing on booking ahead and some natural and cultural activities to keep you occupied once you set foot in the country. Of course, when heading to a long-haul destination like New Zealand, the flight is a large part of the adventure. This is why you need to know how to make that flight as comfortable as possible and thus make your New Zealand vacation, as a whole, more enjoyable.
The following are another 10 tips to make the most of your New Zealand vacation, this time focusing on your flight to-and-from the country. These are tried-and-true methods of making the 12 hours spent in the air as enjoyable as possible.
1. Be fully charged before you board.
There are few things as irksome as a low phone battery at the best of times. But to have a low battery on your iPad or smartphone when you’re almost 40,000 feet in air, that’s when things get truly bothersome. This is why it is key to fully charge your electronics before you board. Whether you want to listen to some of your own music or podcasts while you’re in the air, or whether you want to have immediate access to mobile data, email, and Google Maps upon landing in Auckland or Wellington, it’s essential that you have the power to boot up your smartphone.
You can find charging stations in most airports of the world, so you shouldn’t have any problem plugging in your phone in the couple of hours before you board your plane. In worst case scenarios where all the charging stations are full, you can plug your phone into the backs of one of the hundreds of televisions set up around your airport terminal. Most new television sets are equipped with USB ports on the back or side, and can act like a charger for most any electronics with a USB cable. Bet you didn’t know that.
2. Dress for comfort.
This probably shouldn’t need saying, but it’s always good to remember to dress comfortably while travelling by air. The flight to New Zealand takes over 12 hours and you’ll want comfy pants and shirts during the long haul. As well, temperatures are always unpredictable when you’re in the air. One minute it can be warm and the next you’d think someone turned on a million air conditioners. Having the ability to dress up or down depending on the moment is essential, so dressing in layers is smart. As well, the more layers you dress in, the less you need to pack, which leads us to our next point.
3. Minimize that carry-on.
Don’t over pack! This is important for all international travel, where you’ll be schlepping around a suitcase or two across cities you’re unfamiliar with and terrains foreign to you. Make things as easy for you as possible by keeping the clothes and accessories to a bare minimum. This is especially important for carry-on luggage on a New Zealand vacation. Don’t overdo it.
Massive bags underneath the seat in front of you will block the space you should be using to stretch your legs, and enormous bags in the overhead compartments will terrify anyone who has to open one up mid-flight to find a jacket or jumper, worried that these massive bags will have shifted in flight and will come tumbling down on them. Make everyone’s lives easier, including your own, by having a small carry-on bag.
Before you go, pare down your carry-on luggage and then pare it down again to make sure you’re not overdoing it. Unless you’re going to Antarctica or some other place at the end of the world, you won’t need that third waterproof, windproof jacket that’s there just in case your other clothes magically disappear from the face of the earth. If you need a new hair brush, you can buy one. Stores do exist in New Zealand. You can take advantage of them.
4. Bring some spare plastic bags.
The last things anyone wants more of are plastic bags, as the planet is dealing with enough of these already, but I’m not talking about buying new plastic bags, but reusing the vast number you already have, to help you out on your New Zealand vacation.
Spare plastic bags are great storage for all manner of travel trinkets and day-to-day items. Small bags can keep together your charging cords, store any new jewelry you buy, and contain all the tiny travel liquid containers, like moisturizer and mouthwash, that you’ll want on board. (Also, airlines and airport security screeners want your liquids in transparent plastic bags so they can easily find and inspect them during pre-boarding screening.)
As well, plastic bags are great for sorting stuff within your suitcase. Decide to collect some sand while at the Bay of Islands? A small zip-lock bag will store that nicely. Happen to get your shoes muddy on a walk along the Coromandel Peninsula? Store them in a plastic bag so they don’t spread their muck. Don’t want your worn underwear getting mixed in with the clean stuff? Put it in a plastic bag so you know what needs cleaning and what doesn’t. Plastic bags can be your best friend on long-haul travels.
5. Eat extraordinary food matched with fine wine at 38,000 feet.
Here’s something unique to Air New Zealand: take advantage of the airline’s incredible cuisine. A lot of people might not be fans of airline food in general, but Air New Zealand is adamant on making the most of your on-board experience and provide you with delicious food at 38,000 feet in the air.
The airline’s consulting chef, Peter Gordon, owner of The Providores in London, has designed a range of delectable meals for Business Class passengers. Combine that with the incredible New Zealand wines available on board (remember what we said about the quality of New Zealand wine in Part 1?), and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a fine night out. All of a sudden airplane food seems a whole lot more appealing.
6. Make the most of your in-flight entertainment.
There’s a lot to keep you occupied on Air New Zealand flights, so indulge yourself. It’s smart to check the Air New Zealand website before you board to get up to speed on all that’s offered, from music to audiobooks to movies to TV shows and video games. Once you get on board, you can have your line-up all ready to go and hit play the moment you’re in the air.
If you aren’t so much into TV or movies, but are more of a bookworm, give audiobooks a listen. One title sure to calm any anxious flyers is Meditations for Frequent Flyers by David Michie. The book shares methods to improve your physical and mental well-being while sitting in your seat.
7. Travelling as a couple? Make it a date night in the sky.
Not only will you have access to some great food while on board, but you can also make the most of the activities that let you interact with each other during the 12-hour flight. In video adventures on the inflight entertainment system, you can play games against each other. You can also connect your two screens so you’re watching the same movie or TV show without having to share earbuds and look over each other’s shoulder.
You can also make it a dinner date while on board. In Business Premier, you have the option to dine together, as the cabin accommodates a dining table that’s large enough for two. You don’t have to worry about not being able to look your partner in the eyes while sharing a dinner together on Air New Zealand.
8. Stay healthy while on board.
Staying healthy and feeling well upon arrival is key to starting your New Zealand vacation off with a bang. There are several smart things you can do to stay healthy while on board. Key to your wellness is hydration, which means drinking a lot of water throughout the flight. If you want something sweeter, stick to juice or non-caffeinated beverages to prevent dehydration, fatigue, and headaches. Although it’s nice to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail on board, drink in moderation and minimize your alcohol and coffee intake. It’s also smart to moisturize throughout the flight to combat the drying effects of the cabin’s recycled air.
Engaging in some light exercise while on board will also keep your muscles activated and help fight fatigue. Some gentle movements, like a stroll through the cabin or a concentrated stretch every one-to-two hours, will do wonders. It’s also smart to not overdo it with food – savour your meal, but no need for seconds – and to set your watch to New Zealand time and forget about it afterwards. There’s no use fretting over what time it is at home; it’s healthy for your brain to get used to new routines as soon as possible.
9. Make your vacation last a little bit longer by purchasing the wine you enjoy on board.
It’s likely you’ll fall in love with New Zealand wine while touring the country and also sampling the lovely vintages they serve on board Air New Zealand. Luckily, the Air New Zealand Wine Store offers an exciting opportunity to purchase some of the world-class labels you enjoyed on board, and have them delivered to your door after your trip ends.
After closing out your New Zealand vacation, you might be a little sad that the adventure is over. Well, there’s no better pick-me-up for these post-travel blues than a little taste of New Zealand in the form of some Kiwi wine. The Air New Zealand Wine Store delivers worldwide and offers Airpoints with each transaction, which can be saved up for future flights or to purchase more wine in the future. You can check out their selection by visiting the Air New Zealand website.
10. Remember that for Air New Zealand, their job is personal.
It’s important to remember that for Air New Zealand, you are a guest, not just a seat number. The fact that Air New Zealand balances safety and luxury with light-hearted imagination makes it one of the world’s most popular airlines. It’s as if the airline is incorporating the authentic Kiwi sensibility – being friendly and personable, almost quirky – into its ethos as a business.
If you understand that Air New Zealand sees their service as a personal endeavour, all the engagements with the crew during your flight to New Zealand will become a whole lot more personable.
Ensuring that you have a comfortable and healthy flight to New Zealand and back will help you immeasurably in having a better New Zealand vacation when you’re on the ground. It’s so easy for us to forget that the experience in the air is a large part of the total experience of heading to a destination. Those 12 hours there and back don’t count for nothing. With any luck, these tips will help you navigate the air and make your New Zealand vacation even more special.