There’s a first time for everything. I remember my very first flight outside the country, I was so happy to get a window seat. I didn’t know that you could request for it (if available), let alone get upgraded to Business Class (if you’re lucky). For first time travelers abroad, I’m happy to share with you some practical tips.
Research is Key
In my past articles for travelers abroad, I have always reiterated the need for advanced research. Know beforehand the do’s and don’ts of the country you will be traveling to. Aside from that, look into the weather and adjust the type of clothing you’ll be packing. Look at the map of the place online, especially if you are traveling abroad for leisure. You might be planning to go to Santorini from Athens, only to find out that you would need a connecting flight for that.
Know Your Flight Details
One thing I need to remind myself often is to know the Terminal number of the airport my flight will be flying from. Just because your airport location says Dubai International Airport does not mean that there is just one take-off point, so to speak. Memorize your flight number so that you don’t need to take out your ticket every time you need it. Take a close look at your ticket to see your baggage allowance. Some would allow 2 bags of 30 kilos each while some will have a limit of 25 kilos for all checked in bags.
If you are traveling abroad for work, check if you have reimbursement. You might need to pay for your country’s travel tax. Check your ticket price if it is included as well as any airport fees. If not, you would need to pay at the airport itself. Make sure to have with you some US dollars as well as the local currency of your destination.
Connecting Flights and the Boarding Process
Once you’ve checked in, you will be queueing for immigration. An immigration card would be filled up and presented to the Immigration Officer. This is where most offloading happens. Have your papers with you and not checked in with your bags. Relax and answer truthfully. As for connecting flights, allow for at least two hours in between. You would still need to queue for x-ray scanners, transfer gates, and that takes time.
Call a Friend
If by chance you have a friend working in your destination city, touch base with them. Ask them for tips on the cheapest places to eat and shop. Don’t be shy about asking for help should you need it. Most important of all, always have in your person your emergency contact numbers.