Genuine Getaways That Don’t Involve A Plane Trip

Keep yourself grounded.

Flying is objectively the worst mode of transport for a summer getaway. Sure, it can be glamorous (if you can afford business class), and maybe there’s something special about defying gravity in an aluminium can, but everything else about it is terrible.

It’s cramped, it’s stressful, and it is expensive as hell. Besides, we’ve all heard about the atrocious environmental impact our penchant for flight has, and packing light can only do so much to offset that. Instead, might we suggest some alternative getaway options? From most to least expensive, these holidays will keep you grounded – literally.

A trans-continental rail journey. If you’re willing to cough up a couple grand, you can see our great southern land in style and luxury aboard one of these desert-bound bad boys. A quick day dash on the Overland, or perhaps a coast-to-coast voyage on the Indian-Pacific is more your speed? You could always go for the Ghan and experience the endless expanse of the Red Centre. Either way, here’s your chance to live out those romantic railroad fantasies, Before Sunrise-style.

Hire a campervan with mates and go road-tripping. Why suffer the squashed conditions of your beat-up old hatchback when you can pile into a ‘van and have your hotel and transport in one? It’ll make for hilarious memories, as long as you set some ground rules about bathroom use.

The only good kind of road trip is a relaxed one, so pick your end goal carefully and give yourself tonnes of time to get there and back. The phrase ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination’ has never been truer. Whether you’re cruising Sydney’s iconic Pacific Drive, or conquering the Top End tropics along the Savannah Way, take time to truly appreciate the stunning scenery.

A suburban sea change. You never really know what hidden gems live right round the corner from you til you stumble upon them. Spending some time in a random suburb you’ve never been to before is the easiest getaway ever – sometimes you just need a change of scenery. You could even take a leaf out of Completing Sydney‘s book and making a challenge of it, by attempting to visit every suburb in your region.

(Gotta stay on brand)

An indulgent local degustation. The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach, so this option is a dream come true for foodie fanatics. There are so many delicious treats here in your backyard – why burn cash all the way to Cyprus for a perceived ‘authenticity’ when the local Greek community are serving up piping hot souvlaki right round the corner? There are probably hundreds of restaurants around you that you’ve been missing out on because you’re sticking to what you already know.

Okay, so dining out isn’t exactly a holiday, but your tastebuds have a sense of adventure too.

Sleep under the stars in the National Park. Camping is severely underrated, IMHO. Everyone thinks it’ll be too much effort, and that it’s nothing like the glossy, romantic TV portrayals. However, I’m willing to bet it’ll cost you less time, money, and stress to grab a tent and a bunsen burner than it would to plan an entire overseas vay-cay.

Just don’t go foraging and you’ll be fine.

Besides, there’s a gorgeous National Park on the doorstep of just about every population centre in the country, so strap on your hiking boots! Might want to wait til bushfire season is over, of course.

How To Survive A Road Trip With Your Mates

Stop-revive-survive, and other recommendations.

The memories you make on a road trip last a lifetime, they’re the kind of stories you’ll be telling your kids in twenty years. They’re also a fantastic way to save a bit of moolah, because who needs expensive getaways when you’ve got a tankful of petrol and the wide open road ahead of you?

Thing is, all that time squished in a car with minimal personal space can be very tense, so you need some feud-preventing tactics up your sleeve.

Agree to a group contract from the get-go.

It may sound heartbreakingly legalistic, but setting some ground rules will help resolve the inevitable disagreements. Consider how you’ll divvy up driving time, allocate bathroom breaks, and split fuel costs. Are messy drinks allowed in the car, or nah? Who’s responsible for checking the car is locked up at night – the driver or the owner? Everyone’s going to be a lot happier when there are some agreed rules to follow.

Slow and steady wins the race.

A slow and steady road trip is a safe road trip. That includes the safety of your friendship as much as the risk of physical harm. Pick your end goal carefully, and give yourself more than enough time to get there and back with several hours to spare. You need a buffer against bickering (‘we wouldn’t be late if you didn’t spend 30 minutes in the shower this morning!’) and an excuse to switch off and enjoy the ride. The best road trips are ones without a deadline.

See ya later, social media.

Snacks, glorious snacks.

Hangriness can and will get the better of anyone, so stay stocked up. It’s unlikely you’ll be having any five-star meals while you’re on the road, but try your best to accommodate everyone’s dietary preferences. Oreos and Doritos are great for the backseat bandits, but you might want to take a camping stove so you can have a few decent, hot meals together, or a soothing cup of tea.

“Pour some sugar on meeeee.”

Make sure the playlist absolutely slaps.

IMO, this is the most important step. In this golden age of music streaming, no longer are you confined to the number of mixtapes you can physically carry. Start a collaborative playlist long before your road trip kicks off so you can get the hype happening ASAP.

Picking the music is an excellent bonding activity, and if you accidentally discover one of your mates’ taste is terrible, you can veto their song choice before you’re behind the wheel of a two-tonne killing machine. As the great prophets of the internet once said, if the honour of the aux cord is bestowed upon you, you better not play trash. Bangers only, fool!

Expect things to go wrong, and embrace the chaos.

It’s Murphy’s law. It really doesn’t matter how well you prepare, because life is unpredictable, and road trips even more so. And that’s okay. Did I forget to mention that the most memorable parts of the journey are often the most disastrous ones? Getting lost, ending up in shonky accommodation, picking up shady-looking hitchhikers – those are the things that are most hilarious in retrospect. So enjoy the hijinks while you can!

How To Pack Light For Your Holiday And Still Look Chill On The Flight

It's not rocket science.

Going on a ten day vacay with only carry-on luggage? Getting that sweet, sweet flight discount? It’s not just a backpacker’s fantasy – if you know how to pack light, that is.

Step one: know the size and weight restrictions, and invest in a suitcase that matches it perfectly. The bigger the bag, the less compromising you when you get to packing. You just have to be prepared to piss off a few other passengers in your battle for overhead storage space.

If you’re going to commit to the minimalist way of life, you absolute cannot leave it til the morning of your flight to pack. Heathens who do a mad dash to the airport can leave now. This task requires time to strategise, and the zen of any day that isn’t the one you’re getting in a giant sky cylinder.

The real key to packing light is outfit planning. Know what you’re going to wear each day of your trip and only pack that much. Worst case scenario, you have to do a mid-week dash to the laundrette. And make sure you check the weather. If you’re going to Saudi Arabia, don’t take a raincoat.

It’s not just clothes either, you’ve got to be self-critical about how much you need in your beauty bag. If you’re travelling for influencer purposes only then there’s not much I can do for you, friend.

Unless you’re really roughing it when it comes to accommodation, most hotels will have hairdryers, and sometimes straighteners too – try to call ahead. Obviously carry-on only means you have to abide by the 100ml-or-less lifestyle, so be prepared to buy all your shower goodies when you get there.

Once you get past the prep stage, you need to have a strategy for cramming it all in. Fold your items carefully and stack them in a way that minimises empty space. Marie Kondo’s methods seem like a good place to start. You could also grab some vacuum-seal bags to keep it all airtight and shipshape.

This is how a chaotic neutral packs their bag. No. Just, no.

And last but not least, use every available inch of space – handbag and pockets included. Each airline has slightly different rules, but Qantas’ carry-on restrictions for example permit each passenger to have a 7kg piece of luggage, plus a smaller, lighter ‘personal item’ such as a handbag. I am unashamed to say I have worn cargo shorts on a flight to help carry my overflow, and look, it works. They are also very comfy.

Sunnies on, seat reclined, hakuna matata.

Pop-up Channel

Follow Us