If you had asked me last year the best way to describe my time at any airport, my answer would be short. My motto was to make the most of every second and I never viewed time at the airport as the best use of my time.
Oh, how wrong I was. I came to this realisation late last year at Sydney Airport. You can imagine the setting: my flight was delayed due to a storm, I didn’t have my work laptop on me and that left me with a whole lot of free time.
By the time my flight was called, I was well and truly converted and realised that Sydney Airport is a place worth arriving early for. No, not just on-time. Early. As someone who has now explored most (still not done yet!) of what the airport has to offer, here’s my list on the best places to shop, eat, drink and stay.
Your stay sorted
The first part of your airport experience can actually start the night before. If you’re flying international or, like me, catch early flights interstate you can swap a cab fare and rush to the terminal for an overnight stay right near the airport. For instance, the Mantra is located on the airport precinct, so you can walk (yep, walk) or catch a shuttle bus to your terminal. Add on a delicious meal available at the Mantra, staying overnight has completely changed the game for me. I’m not just saving money on transport, thanks to their onsite parking, but I’m using my time in a smarter way. I can be at the airport earlier and a lot calmer than my previous 4am taxi.
All the shopping, at your convenience
If you missed the news or like (old) me, ran through the airport, you should know about the recent unveiling of the lifestyle precinct at the T2 Domestic terminal. Filled with all the stores you love and trust, you almost forget you’re at the airport. From BONDS and LEGO (the only stores at an Australian airport) to JB Hi-Fi, Seed, Country Road, Amuse Beauty and DECJUBA it’s a completely holistic shopping experience.
Something I have loved, and visit almost every time, is Amuse Beauty. Besides having every makeup product you could imagine, they also offer a mini-makeover before your flight. The touch-up is perfect when I’m travelling for work and going straight to a meeting or just want a refresh after a busy day.
Just another example of the convenience was when I was travelling for a birthday earlier this year, I bought all my accessories and shoes at the airport. I didn’t have time before flying out on a Friday afternoon but also knew that I would be able to find something at the airport. I picked up my shoes from French Connection, earrings from Seed, and blazer from DECJUBA. And, it was even better shopping at DECJUBA, knowing it was founded by long-time Business Chicks Premium member, Tania Austin.
This is why I get to Sydney airport early. I’m able to do the same shopping I can outside, but often for cheaper and always with the certainty that I’m not missing my flight.
Eats and drinks
This is usually my final stop before I head to the gate and it’s one of my favourite hot spots at Sydney Airport. I can’t count the amount of times I have raced onto the plane (not eaten), had a tiny snack, and by the time I arrive at my destination, skipping a meal since I didn’t have time.
It’s hard to miss the new Domestic bar concept Fat Yak, which has a bunch of local craft beers and wine, as well as wood-fired pizzas, jaffles, and charcuterie boards you dream of making. If you’re looking for a coffee before a flight, another super popular recommendation is Veloce.
For me, the best part of the dining experience is that it feels beyond the airport. You’re out of the hustle, taking a moment, and resetting for the journey ahead.
It’s how this experience makes you feel, which makes Sydney Airport worth arriving early for. If you’re already someone who gets to the airport ahead of schedule, it will transform your time. And, if you’re anything like I was last year, it gets you out of the rush. Instead of trying to fit more hours in the day, which only leads to dead ends, it’s helped me use my time smarter.
This article is sponsored by Sydney Airport.