>  Advice   >  How to cope with early morning flights

Going on a trip is always exciting but catching an early morning flight? Not so much. However, getting up ridiculously early to jump on a plane isn’t as bad as you might think. Early morning flights are usually the cheapest plus there’s no need to wait for a late arriving aircraft. Your plane has been waiting at the airport overnight and – just like you – it’s prepped and ready to go. Here are some tips for coping with flights that have you getting up far earlier than you would like.

Set two alarms

Never rely solely on a hotel wake-up call as these don’t always eventuate. Always set two alarms: one on your phone and use a hotel wake-up call or another alarm for the second one. If you’re staying at home the night before your flight, set one alarm on your phone and another on your iPad or tablet if you don’t have a traditional alarm clock.

Plan your outfit

Choosing what you’re going to wear and laying it out the night before can equate to an extra five or ten minutes in bed. If you’re travelling with young children, consider letting them sleep in their travel clothes. Buckling a sleepy fully dressed child into their car seat is easier than dressing a cranky one who has woken up early. If you’re lucky, they’ll go back to sleep in the car.

Sort out your bags

Ensure all your documents and other essentials are packed in your handbag or carry-on bag and leave this by the front door so you don’t forget it. Pre-loading any suitcases in the boot of the car the night before is a good idea as well. It is easy to forget things when you’re tired.

Get your documents in order

Keep any paperwork for the morning you depart in an easy to reach part of your bag. Fumbling around at the check-in counter is guaranteed to make you feel even grumpier. If it’s possible to check in online for your flight in advance, this makes for an even smoother departure.

Pay a little extra to park

Parking at an off-site airport parking garage might be cheaper but parking at the airport will give you up to an hour’s extra sleep in time. Don’t leave home too early as there will probably be very little traffic to contend with. Treat yourself to a few extra minutes in bed instead.

Getting to the airport

If you don’t want to drive to the airport and are worried about getting there on time, book an executive or private car service as these always arrive as scheduled. Once you have a preferred car service or individual driver, you can book them for every early morning trip. If you are catching a taxi or an Uber, allow extra time when you call in case a car isn’t immediately available near your house, particularly if you live in the outer suburbs. It’s not uncommon to wait up to 15 minutes for your ride to arrive in the early hours of the morning.

Stay at the airport

If it takes you an hour or more to reach the airport or you would like an extra sleep in, consider staying at an airport hotel the night before. Most major airports offer convenient and affordable accommodation within easy reach of the terminals. If you’re flying from Brisbane Airport, the Pullman Brisbane Airport is within walking distance of the domestic airport or you can catch the free airport bus to the international terminal. More than half a dozen other Brisbane Airport hotels are located less than 5kms away. Some airport hotels offer handy extras such as up to 14 days free car parking or complimentary airport transfers.

Eat when you arrive

Grab breakfast at the airport as flying hungry early in the morning makes you ‘hangry’. So does a lack of caffeine. Coffee or tea is essential at this time of day so grab a takeaway brew and find a comfy spot to watch the planes take off while you wait for your flight to board. If you don’t enjoy airport food (or you do enjoy it, but not the price), bring a breakfast snack from home.

Disclosure: The writer hates early morning flights but knows only too well that they’re often unavoidable.

Want to travel smarter and save money? Check out our tips for flying a low cost airline, keeping your luggage safe, visiting Europe in peak season, getting a great car hire deal, avoiding travel scams, saving money at the airport, staying at an Airbnb, finding cheap five star hotel deals, catching public transport overseas, staying safe in a big city, getting the best round-the-world airfares, making the most of a five star hotel stay, travelling during low season, visiting a theme park in peak season, packing a carry on bag, visiting a wine region, planning a romantic getaway, early morning flights, visiting the Great Barrier Reef, multigenerational travel, travelling in a motorhome, buying the best souvenirs, going on safari, visiting the Eiffel Tower, travelling with pets, holidaying with adult children, travelling with teens, and sleeping on a plane.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.