International Travel for First Timers

International Travel for First Timers

Traveling abroad for the first time can be quite overwhelming. There is more to traveling than just booking the airfare and accommodations. The way to have the most successful worldwide travel experience is to be prepared for anything!

Essential Tips for First Time International Travelers

  • Choose the flight best suited to you.

  • Try to get the best deal on your tickets. Find out the rates offered by other airlines.

  • Booking tickets through a travel agent is always better. Agents may give you a discount.

  • Get the currency of the destination country. You can exchange currency from the authorized banks e.g. State Bank Of India, etc., or from organizations like Thomas cook, etc. Normally they have counters at the airport too and remember to make an entry on your passport.

  • International flights recommend that you check-in at least 4 hours ahead of the flight, so it is advisable to keep a one-hour buffer and arrive at the airport at least 5 hours ahead of your flight time, specifically if this is your first international journey.

  • Make sure the date and time of travel on your ticket are correct. Call up the local airline’s office to confirm. Flight timings may confuse you (e.g. Boarding on 5/1/2000 at 00:45 means 4th night 12:45 PM and not 5th night, as many airlines start with 00:00 after midnight.)

  • Carry your destination address and a pen you will need while filling the form for check-in and custom form.

  • Keep all your documents, passport, visa copy, tickets, and all other important docs in good order and ready at the airport and in safe custody.

  • Understand the baggage rules, the maximum number of bags allowed the weight and size restrictions. These vary from country to country and may also be different for different airlines. It is best to check on the website of the airline on which you have booked your ticket.

  • Each piece of luggage should have your name and address tag so your luggage can be identified at the destination airport, esp. if it gets lost.

  • Hand or cabin luggage: This is what you can carry with you on the plane. Keep it small and handy, so that you can keep it in the overhead luggage space in the cabin. Trolley bags are always advisable. Many airlines allow one cabin bag, but ladies can carry their purses or handbag along with their cabin bags.

    Since the allowed luggage size and weight is restricted, it is recommended to keep only important and handy items in hand baggage, like important documents, one pair of clothes, a woolen sweater, medicines, etc.

  • Check-in luggage: These are the big luggage items that you will have to hand over at the airline check-in counter. Most of the airlines allow 2 big pieces of baggage as the check-in luggage.

  • At the time of check-in, you will get the boarding pass(es) for your flight/ connecting flights. Read them carefully and keep them secure and available.

  • You need to scan your luggage in the X-ray machine close to your airline check-in counter. Here the person in charge will put a safety-checked sticker on the luggage. (No need to X-ray the hand luggage here.)

  • Immigration check. Here the immigration officer will ask for your passport, ticket, boarding pass, and the Embarkation form. He might ask a few questions about your journey, visa, the purpose of travel, etc. Answer clearly. He will take the Embarkation form, and will return everything else after stamping your passport. Now proceed to the customs counter.

  • Check for the departure gate number written on your boarding pass, and go to that gate. Now, wait till the boarding is announced.

  • When you book your ticket, mention your food preference whether you want vegetarian or non-vegetarian food.

  • On the flight, drink enough water. Take good rest/ sleep. This will help you tackle the jet lag later.

  • If you have connecting flights, make sure you know the flight number of the next flight and by looking at the displays at the airport you can find out the gate number from which the connecting flight will depart.

  • Before your flight lands, you will be given an arrival form/ customs form. Fill that form carefully with all the right information from your passport, ticket, and visa. It will also ask you about the value of articles that you are carrying/the amount of cash that you need to declare. If you don’t get this form on the flight then you will get it at the airport.

  • When you land, make sure you carry all your belongings with you. Don’t forget anything on the flight, specifically things like mobile/ mobile charger.

  • On arrival, you will face a short interview, where the customs officer will verify your visa and the purpose of your visit. They may also take your picture and fingerprints. Don’t worry this is just a basic check.

  • Next, collect your check-in bags from the baggage area. Proceed to exit. You may or may not need to go through the baggage screening process. In case you are asked to go through the screening make sure you provide all the details accurately.

  • That’s it. You have finally arrived. Meet your loved ones waiting for you outside the gate or follow the signs of taxi/ ground transportation/ shared ride as required.

Suggested read: Top 25 Highlights of India for travel

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.