And despite having little time to train with his new team-mates ahead of the final mid-week game of the tour, Payne claims familiarity ensured he had no problems settling in.
"It was great. Luckily, I fitted in straight away because the way the Lions played was similar to the way Wasps play," said Payne, who joined the former Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup winners from Cardiff in 2003.
"There was Shaun (Edwards), Warren Gatland and Geech who'd I'd played under before, so defensively and attacking wise it was pretty sound for me and I didn't have to learn too much. It was just a brilliant experience."
While the Lions had been blazing their way across the Republic, Payne had been facing an equally daunting rugby experience in Argentina.
Having started England's 37-15 win over the Pumas at Old Trafford, Payne again played the full 80 minutes when Martin Johnson's men travelled to South America for the second international a week later.
And while Payne was aware he was on standby for Britain and Ireland's elite, the back-to-back fixtures against Argentina helped focus his mind and ensure all thoughts of the Lions were put to one side.
"I wasn't keeping an eye on the Lions tour massively because we were away in Argentina and we were just focussed on that," explained the 30-year-old.
"I was surprised but, luckily, (when the call came) I'd just come back from Argentina - I'd only been back three days - so it wasn't as if I wasn't match fit.
"It was an amazing experience. There was quality coaching staff, quality management and, thankfully, I was lucky enough to go out there and I had a great time."
With experience of the Lions now added to his growing reputation, Payne is hoping that the new season will signal more progress in his aim of becoming England's number one loose-head.
Payne currently has fellow Lions tourist Andrew Sheridan blocking his path to that goal but the Swindon-born player is dead set on adding to his 12 England caps.
"I'm definitely looking to push on. Andrew Sheridan's obviously the top one but he knows there's people biting his ankles all the time. Fair play - he's a good player - but I'm going to push as hard as I can."