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I’m a frequent traveler from the US to Australia. Arriving in Australia, from USA, nearly every flight is early a.m., but no hotel and most Airbnb do not have that early of a check in available. Have yet to find a good solution for a place to put my luggage, to freshen up after 15 hr. Flight, and be comfortable leaving my luggage as I go about the day until I can check in later.

Looking for suggestions on what to do for upcoming trip in July to Sydney with 5 travelers (and our luggage), heading to an Airbnb, from 9am-4pm. I have considered renting our Airbnb the day before as well. It is not available.

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    Anywhere in Australia? – Henning Makholm May 10 at 2:46
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    Hotels at least will usually let you drop off your luggage early, then come back and check in later. That would solve half of your problem, though it doesn't help with the "freshen up" part. Your Airbnb host might let you do the same, but you'd probably have to check with them. – Nate Eldredge May 10 at 2:56
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    What cabin do you typically travel in? – chrylis May 10 at 9:24
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    "the day before as well. It is not available" that is bad luck! – Fattie May 10 at 12:23
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    For later: Hawaiian Airlines flights usually arrive in the evening and are often the cheapest to Australia from the mainland US. The "down side" is the transfer in Honolulu. – Michael Hampton May 10 at 18:38
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A number of hotels near major Australian airports offer heavily discounted day use rooms. For example, here's the Ibis Sydney Airport with a room you can use from 9 AM to 5 PM.

If simply "freshening up" is enough, almost any hotel will be happy to hold your bags until you can check in, and many (but not all) larger ones can give you advance access to the gym/pool so you can take a shower and change.

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    The gym/pool idea is a good one. I've actually never thought of that! – Fattie May 10 at 12:22
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    I have done this once before with the Westin on Martin Place. It seemed to work well. The trouble is typically not me, but my co-travelers:). Often I’ll have grandma or someone along who isn’t quite as good just going with the flow. I don’t typically mind the expense of an added extra day at a hotel/Airbnb. It’s this specific trip that’s causing a problem for us with no early check in available, so was hoping to find creative solutions. – Dana May 10 at 13:18
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Most hotels will store your luggage for the day free of charge, so that part of the problem is easy - at least if you're staying in a hotel rather than an AirBnB.

As far as the ability to "freshen up", there are a few options.

The first is that there are public showers available at Sydney Airport. These are "bring-your-own-everything" style (ie, towels, soap, etc), and whilst they are cleaner than you might expect for a public shower, they are not exactly what I could call luxurious (and yes, I am speaking from experience of having used them) - however after a 14+ hour flight you probably won't care!

Alternatively some hotels will have shared shower facilities, often in their in-house gymnasium, that they will allow you use free of charge if your room is not available. The Westin and Hilton hotels is the Sydney CBD both have this option available, as I'm sure to many other higher-end hotels.

Other gymnasium in the city may also often the option of paying to use their shower facilities, although with 5 people this could get expensive quickly.

The final option is to pay for an early check-in at your hotel, or pay a day rate at another hotel in the area. Not all hotels will offer this, in which case you may need to pay for the night before in order to secure early access to your room.

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    Airports are usually much better equipped for a bit of freshening up than almost anything in town.And by the time you're done with that, you should be able to drop luggage somewhere in town without quite so much trouble as if you were trying to do it at 5am – George M May 10 at 21:59
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Since you've gone AirBnB, this is a bit of a problem.

Hotel

Generally, the hotel's issue is that the room is not ready for you.

Talk to the hotel and ask them what your options are. Certainly they will cheerfully store your luggage, and may even put it in your room for you once your room is ready, so you can simply arrive back and collect your keycard.

As for freshening up, they may also have solutions for you there. If the hotel has a fitness center, it's an easy fix. Or they may have a relationship with a nearby gym, they may be able to get you discounted or free access.

It certainly won't be the first time they've encountered the issue.

AirBnB, cheap motel or other BYOservices

I don't see any probability of getting "freshening up" services in the same place as "luggage storage", outside of renting a hotel room, which kinda defeats the purpose of airBnB. So you'll need to do a fair bit of "running around" to get these separately, which will really bite into your day. Which means location will matter. And AirBnB's are often out in residential areas where services are different.

First, can you rent a car, at least for the first day? Put the luggage in the boot; done.

Second, look at Private Mail Box / Shipping Assist companies such as Mail Boxes Etc. They shouldn't mind storing your luggage, and they have lots of locations in residential areas where your AirBnB might be.

As far as "freshening up", I travel Amtrak a lot, and my style is "spongebath in the washroom" - and mind you, I am typically sweaty from having hiked all over Chicago during the layover. So I would just do that in any suitable public bathroom, in a little-trafficked area where the whole bathroom can be locked. Note that I bring all the "kit" to do this, including razors, washcloths and ziploc bags for the now-wet washcloths.

However if you want something a little more upscale, find a gym/fitness center - any of them will have a single-day rate for carte-blanche access to the facilities, including locker rooms. You can even swim or work out while you're there. Bring a lock. The gym will NOT have room to store your luggage, so you still need to solve that other problem.

I can see where this might not appeal. If you need the pampering of a proper hotel bathroom, then they have hotel day-only rates, which will let you solve both problems at once, though, at the highest cost.

Honestly, if you didn't have a car, the headaches of all that running around would "take the gild off the lily" for AirBnB as far as I'm concerned, at least for the first night. That's the problem - AirBnB doesn't have all the amenities of a hotel and experience at what travelers need, because hotels have been supporting travelers since they turned away Joseph and Mary.

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I am not too familiar with Sydney (only been there twice for short visits), but here are some other options that haven't been mentioned yet.

  1. buying lounge access in the airport. For five people, this probably isn't cheaper than a day-use hotel room, but will also provide food and beverages.
  2. going to a swimming pool in the city. Not to use the swimming pool instead of a shower, that would be gross, but they do have showers, exactly like gyms.
  3. I suppose showers are available, either free or at a small charge, for tourists in beaches such as Bondi.
  • I don't believe Sydney has any pay-per-use arrival lounges. Also, while public showers at beaches are free, you need to BYO everything and there's no place to store luggage. – jpatokal May 10 at 10:41
  • @jpatokal sleepinginairports.net/guides/sydney-airport-guide.htm#lounges mentions pay-per-use lounges, all airside. But I presume one can stay airside after arrival. IIRC the baggage claim is airside in SYD. Whether the lounges will admit OP without a departure ticket: that's a good question; I suppose the only way to know is asking them. – Federico Poloni May 10 at 15:19
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    Sydney separates departures and arrivals, there's nothing but a duty-free shop on the arrivals side. – jpatokal May 10 at 21:29

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