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I’ve been travelling to Melbourne to see clients for the last two years, heading down every four months or so.

The trips have been hit and miss (mostly miss) in terms of productivity, and general stress levels.  I’ve tended to spend more time in taxis crossing and re-crossing Melbourne than in actual meetings – as well as spending far too much money in the process.  I also eat sooo much worse than I would at home, which results in me feeling like crap.

I had my Melbourne trip this week, and it’s the closest I’ve come to nailing the perfect itinerary, food, travel and accommodation.  I squeezed in five meetings and a party on day 1 and three more meetings on day 2, landing back in Sydney at 5pm on Thursday.

Here’s what I did:

1. Packed a plane breakfast

I got the 7.15am Virgin flight from Sydney, which meant I left the house at 6.20am – an hour earlier than I normally eat breakfast.  I packed a ziplock bag of celery and cucumber sticks and a plastic container of my bulk breakfast for the week – brown rice porridge with pumpkin, carrot and a dollop of natural yoghurt.  This meant that I had breakfast at my usual time and wasn’t craving croissants/bacon/general rubbish by the time I hit Melbourne.

2. Booked a cheap – and super handy – hotel

I used to book relatively pricey hotels ($150 per night or so) for biz trips to Melbourne…  Then I realised that I was spending all of eight hours in the room, and racking up a fortune in taxi fares getting to and from it.  I’ve found the perfect hotel for my trips now – it’s right next to Southern Cross Station, so I jump off the Skybus from the airport and am checked in within 10 minutes.  It’s $80 per night, is super clean and fairly quiet.  I checked out on the second morning and stored my luggage at the hotel, then cabbed it back after my last meeting, got into comfy clothes and strolled to the Skybus again.  It’s the Ibis Styles on King St.  Note: don’t have breakfast in the restaurant there – head to Kinfolk instead.

Ibis Styles

 3. Used Uber

I am constantly amazed at how hard it is to get a cab in Melbourne!  I assume it’s because everyone gets trams, but on a two-day trip time doesn’t allow for the inevitable number of times I’d get lost on them.  I use Uber in Sydney all the time, but for some reason it didn’t dawn on me to use it interstate as well.  It was BRILLIANT – the longest I waited for a car was 10 minutes and that was in a fairly far-out suburb.

4. Got meetings to come to me (and gave back in the process)

I used to go see everyone at their office, which resulted in the more-time-travelling-than-meeting problem.  This time, I booked in my first few meetings of each day back-to-back right by Southern Cross station at Kinfolk – a super cute social enterprise that’s run by volunteers and donates all profits to four development centres.  The tea/coffee is great, as was my smashed avocado on rye breakfast on day 2.  I love the décor, especially the old school desks for tables.

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5. Travelled in comfy clothes

I’m not a fan of getting up at 5.30am and having to do hair and make-up, and get into the meeting-friendly clothes I’m going to wear until that night.  I flew down in comfortable jeans, my Sperries and a big cosy striped sweater; then changed into my meeting clothes when I checked into the hotel.  By 2pm on day 2 and nine appointments later, I was thrilled to get back into my jeans and sweater when I went back to the hotel to collect my luggage!

6. Ate soup

I’ve seen this soup stand a few times at Southern Cross station, and finally tried it this time around.  Getting on the Skybus with a warming vegetable and lentil soup in my belly was the perfect ending to the trip.


So that’s my newly-formed Melbourne plan of attack!  What tips do you have for interstate trips?  Am I the only one who prefers to fly in snuggly sweaters?!