Bleats

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.

We Don’t All Have The Luxury Of A Gap Year, But You Can Still Get Your Travel Fix While Studying

'Travel' and 'uni' doesn't have to mean commuting.

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Trying to travel while you study usually requires an insane amount of mental math and compromise. Need to skip a class to catch up on your jet lag? Well good luck with all those hoops you’ll be jumping through.

If my essay is due in 13 days, and it takes 27 hours to fly to France, how many times can I visit the Louvre?

But what if you never had to go to class at all? No, I’m not suggesting you just give up on your uni ambitions altogether and sponge off your parents forever – crazily enough, there is an alternative.

Online study is your new saviour. You can kiss bland canteen food goodbye, and say hello to escargot instead while you peruse your weekly readings. You’ll never have to experience the agony of hunting for a comfy study area for an hour, only for someone to snatch the last chair right in front of you.

Rolling up to the library at 10 am like

Most universities use online platforms to host learning materials or submit assessments, yet they still require students to spend days in a classroom or lecture theatre, even though that time could be better spent working independently, earning money, or seeing the world.

Travel and studying are often framed as an either/or – you can choose to backpack about frivolously while burning your savings, or advance your education but sacrifice your will to live in the process. Online units like Swinburne Online are debunking that myth by giving their students the flexibility to login and complete work wherever, whenever.

Having the freedom to choose how you complete your degree has a whole bunch of benefits, but mobility is one of the best. There are very few ways to get all the life enriching experiences of travel while studying without the endless stress of return flights and exam dates weighing you down.

You can check out the range of courses offered by Swinburne Online in 2020 here.

Swinburne Online provides a new approach to learning in Australia, where the classroom comes to you.

With an interactive learning format, coupled with the flexibility of online study and 7-day support, Swinburne Online gives students all the best features of an on-campus degree in a digital environment.

How To Use Your Local Cafe As An Office Without Being A Jerk

About to spill the (coffee) beans.

Chances are that if you’re a student or office worker, you’ve at some point sought out a cozy local cafe and enjoyed the ambiance and free WiFi while working away. And chances are, having done so, you’ve pissed off a small business owner in the process.

And that’s the tea on that.

There are going to be two types of people reading this. The first are the blissfully ignorant, who camp out and have never noticed the pointed glare of the barista. The second are folks who are so stressed about inconveniencing the staff, that they break out in a cold sweat the second they start their laptop.

No need to fret, because regardless of which archetype you fall into, I’ve run the numbers and provided below the definitive guide to ‘coffice’ etiquette. You’re welcome.

Hour One

The work day is just beginning, but the good news is that this is going to be the least socially awkward part of it. Just make sure that you’ve fully charged your devices, because leeching electricity is just plain distasteful.

However, you’re going to have to make an informed decision about which cafe you choose, especially if you haven’t yet established a rapport with any of the local businesses. My advice is to find a spot with a large and mostly empty dining area. If WiFi access is a must, scope out the exterior for one of those little stickers – if they ain’t advertising it, there’s probably a reason.

Once you’re inside, make sure you’re at a small table and not a six-person dining arrangement. That’s basic stuff. Once you’ve set up, go and order your first drink – as long as it’s not too embarrassing – and when you do so, get your workspace a green light from the server. Common courtesy.

Hour Two

Your first purchase buys you some time. After all, there’ll be plenty of folks coming in for catch-ups with friends who do the same thing, and what you’re doing is no different, really – even if the Skype conversations are a tad less joy-filled. As the hour wears on, you should really order a second drink, and/or a snack of some kind. Banana bread or a scone would do the trick.

It’s worth mentioning at this point, too, that you need to keep your area tidy. Don’t give the local cafe staff the extra challenge of sweeping up a square metre of crumbs or dirty tissues. And whatever you do, you’ve gotta respect the fact you’re in a public place and not your own home – no shoes, no shirt, no service.

That’s all anyone asks.

Hour Three

Now, this is where things get a little tricky. If you’re determined to stay on, you’re going to have to splash the cash on a full meal – and don’t be stingy, especially if you’re chewing through a serious quantity of megabytes. Once you’ve polished off your (hopefully) delicious lunch, do a quick head count. Are there enough free tables to accommodate peak period customers? If not, it’s time to move on.

Hour Four

If you’ve somehow, against all odds, found the quietest cafe in the country then you can confidently go ahead and breaking that unspoken three-hour rule. You’ve bought yourself the time, literally and metaphorically. Go the extra mile for your kind and generous hosts by going for a walk midway through hour four – it’s good for you and for anyone who comes in wanting to nab that perfect cozy spot. You can always come back if it remains quiet and the place stays open late. If you do, you should probably switch over to hotspotting your mobile data, even if it’s only to satisfy your own conscience.

Hour Five

Now, this is the danger zone, especially if you haven’t moved all day. It’s a miracle that your phone hasn’t died as it is, and now definitely isn’t the right time to whip out the extension cord. But we’ve all had the crazy days of cramming for an exam or being looped into meeting after meeting. In order to avoid pushing the limits of public decency, order another drink and afternoon tea. Don’t worry, it’s a perfectly safe amount of coffee. Tip generously on your way out, and a 5-star Google review is an absolute must.

There you have it. You’ve successful navigated the social protocol of being a coffice worker. But at what cost?

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