Published in Essentials
Top Tips for First Time Flyers
So you’ve booked your first flight, your wondering what know? whats my next step? If you’re like most people, exploring something new—like the cabin of an airplane, it can be daunting. While not every first-time flier will mistake the emergency exit for the bathroom, there are some tips that will help not only new travellers but frequent travellers alike.
Check in for your flight online and print/mobile your boarding pass
In this day and age where everything is done digitally, you can check in for your flight up to two weeks before your flight depending on your airline. Checking in online not only saves hassle at the desk but if you’re only carrying hand luggage you don’t even have to go and wait at the airline desk. Also on many airlines they will let you pick your own seat free of charge when your checking in online or one will be allocated for you.
Don’t pack too much
Our general rule when you pack for a trip is that you don’t need as much as you think you need, Realistically if you think ‘you may wear or need this’ you probably don’t. Off course, everybody wants to look their best for those holidays photos but you don’t need 14 outfits for a 5-day trip, just be realistic and think about space. (check out our how to pack like a pro guide here)
Check Your Carry-on Is the Right Size
Each Domestic and international Airline each have a different set of rules when it comes to carry-on bag sizes. Before you head to the airport with your luggage, make sure your tote qualifies as a carry-on handbag and check your airline’s size restrictions before you leave home as some airlines won’t allow items such as a handbag as well as a hand luggage suitcase. (check out our best-rated suitcases under £50 here)
Don’t pack any liquids or forbidden items
If you’re not checking a bag, remember that carry-on liquids, gels, and aerosols have to be 100ml/3.4 fl. oz or less and fit in a clear, quart-size bag. We normally use kitchen Ziploc Bags when travelling and have our liquid bag already packed before arriving at the airport.
Check your passport Validation
There is nothing quite like the panic that comes from booking a spontaneous vacation and realising your passport is expired—or expiring. Adding to the challenge is that some countries won’t allow you to visit within six months of your passport’s expiration date in case you take an extra-long vacation and they want to make sure you have a valid passport to travel back. In short, it never hurts to check your passport’s expiration date and, if necessary, renew it before your next big trip. (Find out how long your passport needs to be valid for here)
Double-check Your Itinerary
Traveling between time zones or around the world can be confusing. That’s why it always pays to make a list and check it twice. Go through your itinerary, confirm your airport (Did you book Heathrow or Gatwick? JFK or Newark?), your connection times (How long does it take to get to the train station? Which time zone is that?), and your plane tickets, including whether or not your name is spelled correctly on your documents.
While you’re working your way through the list, confirm your reservations for everything from hotels, flights, trains, buses, and activities.
Download that M-app
Getting lost when travelling is part of the fun and not taking that wrong turn may have never lead you to that beach, restaurant or neighbourhood, but when it comes to travel sometimes you can’t rely on that french you learned in school to ask for directions. We always carry a piece of card with the hotel/hostel/apartment’s address on it, so no matter what you have the address to at least make it back to base. We also use offline maps through either Google maps or a free third-party app from the App Store just in case we don’t have Wifi or Data. Speaking of phones…
Check Your Phone Plan
Before you head out of the country, hop online or call your service provider to get a data roaming or international calling plan. If you do not want to use your phone while traveling abroad, shut off the data roaming on your phone or risk a hefty phone bill.
Plan your currency options
It’s a good idea to have some of the local currency on hand when you land, but don’t overdo it. We recommend carrying some local currency and using a non-sterling transaction fee card when abroad to not only save money but save the disaster of having your cash lost or stolen. (explore the best travel money options here)
Alert your bank before you travel
There are few things more frustrating than having your credit card frozen when you’re on vacation because your bank thinks your card has been cloned or stolen. Before you go, notify your card company’s fraud department that you’re leaving the country. This can normally be done through the online app or a quick call to the number on the back of your card.
Pack comfortable shoes
We understand you're not climbing Mount Everest but the best way to really see a city is by foot and there is nothing more unrelaxing than sore feet. So pack your favourite trainers or shoes that go with most outfits and leave the heels at home.
Have a rough restaurant list
With sites such as TripAdvisor getting bigger and bigger its quite easy to find out where is hot and where is not. There is nothing more disappointing than spending your hard earned money on a terrible expensive meal. Make a small list either on your phone or a piece of paper with good cheap-eats, dessert bars, cafes, and nightclubs on it, We like to do this a couple of days before going to get excited about your adventure.
Don’t over schedule
Yes there are hundreds of amazing things to do in most cities but the sad truth is your not going to have time to see every nook and cranny in your short vacation. Plan what your must-sees are and don’t build yourself up for disappointment.
Don’t stress and enjoy your trip
Sit back, relax and enjoy it. More than likely something will go wrong its just the way things are, just laugh it off and take it as a memory, some of our greatest vacation memories are from things going wrong and looking back and laughing at them.