So you have packed your bags and you are ready for your first trip abroad. But before you get going, remember to go through these tips that will save you a whole lot of hassle later on.
Tips for planning
• There is a difference between non-stop flights and direct flights and it is always a good option to select the latter. Direct flights do not necessarily fly directly to your ultimate destination but can touch down at other airports on the way. Knowing the difference between the two can save you a whole lot of time and headache. The potential delays that can take place during direct flights can sometimes cause a dent in your holiday schedule.
• Purchase your ticket under the exact name that appears on your valid identification card. It may be obvious to you that Mike is a nickname for Michael, but no security officer, desk agent or skycap will allow you to venture anywhere close to the lounge, leave alone the aircraft, if you travel with two different identities. Ensure that the ticket you have paid for has the same name as that on your ID.
• Choose your seats as soon as possible without idling. If you want to select a premium seat in the bulkhead, or you have a handicap, you will need to inform the agent when you are making your reservation, rather than haggling at the airport with the crew or the staff at the last minute. Most airline websites open up seat arrangements 24 hours before the flight, and it is possible that passengers nab premium seats in advance; hence you will need to keep your eyes and ears open for that premium seat.
• Triple check specific document requirements for foreign countries. Some countries such as Kenya, Chile and India call for a Visa during entry; whereas some other countries such as South Africa will not permit you to enter the country unless your passport has at least two unstamped, blank pages. You need to be well aware of such regulations and requirements before you make your holiday schedule to these countries.
Tips for packing
• Remember to set your baggage apart from the rest of the pack. Some holidaymakers employ creative bows and ribbons when packaging they are packing their luggage, however these get torn off during the scanning and transporting procedures. Your best bet: purchase luggage in exotic colours or in bright and bold hues.
• Get your own personal blanket and disinfecting wipes. It is always a good idea to get your own blanket, especially if you have a non-stop flight spanning more than six hours of air travel. Also, having a small pack of disinfectant wipes can come in handy especially when you order your meal, to wipe the tray or your hands before you start eating.
Tips at the airport
• Carefully scrutinise the items in duty-free shops. It is not necessary that everything in a duty-free retail outlet is a bargain. Find out what it really costs in your local store before you reach out for that bottle of perfume that you see on the duty-free shelf. Moreover, take into consideration the rules of carrying the specific amount of alcohol if you are planning to stock up on alcoholic beverages.
• Learn more about the code of your airport. In most cases, luggage destination tags tend to get jumbled up at the curb side check-in. Get to know the airport code of your destination and ensure that the labels are addressed properly on your baggage. This will come in handy especially if your ultimate destination has more than one airport. A number of passengers get into problems in cities that have multiple airports, especially if they are clueless which particular airport they will be flying into.