Flying can be stressful, whether it’s having all the proper documents ready including an in date passport, keeping within the baggage allowance limit or making sure to make your flight on time – if you are a first-time flyer the experience can be daunting.
While not every first-time flyer will confuse the flight time with the boarding time, there are some common mistakes that first-time travellers frequently make – and even some frequent flyers!
Confuse Flight Time With the Boarding Time
If your flight departs at 11am, arriving at the gate 10 or 20 minutes before will be too late and annoy your crew and fellow passengers – you might even find a closed boarding gate – international flights can board up to an hour before departure.
Check your boarding pass for your boarding time and check the live flight update boards within the terminal, they will tell you as soon as you can start boarding and which gate to head to.
When you are travelling internationally, some countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months into the future. Some first time flyers fail to research their destination requirements which can lead to devastating consequences.
Forgetting to Book a Specific Seat
As it’s your first flight you will probably want to sit with your family/friends, the majority of airlines allow you to choose your seat at the time of booking which will guarantee seats together. A lot of first time flyers fail to do this until check-in which can mean you are less likely to get seated together.
Packing Too Much
One of the most common mistakes a first timer flyer will make is going over the baggage allowance, packing is a fine art and takes a while to master. Always check the baggage allowance you have booked or add more to your booking as required. Paying in advance for baggage is often cheaper than charges you will face at the airport if your bag is over the allowance.
Packing Large Liquids in hand luggage
You don’t want to be THAT person at security, remember if you do decide to take liquids in your hand luggage: containers must hold no more than 100ml.
The containers should be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag – generally, it is one small bag per person.
Forgetting your Visa/Esta
Forgetting to apply for a Visa is an easy mistake for a first time traveller to make. Some destinations require you to apply for a visa in advance, most will allow you to do this online at a cost – so remember to research your destination before booking to make sure you fit the criteria.
Stuff happens, even when you travel (but hopefully not!). Travel insurance can easily be forgotten or left until the last minute, check your insurance coverage with your bank as more often than not this includes travel insurance, if not purchase a one-off travel insurance policy.
Many policies come with protection against cancelled flights, lost bags, or major delays.
Exchanging too much money before you travel
It’s always a good idea to have some local currency on hand when you land, but don’t draw too much. If you have too much cash with you and it gets lost or stolen, it will be very difficult to replace. Figure out your budget and grab some cash at your bank, online or an airport cash machine.
Not preparing for jet lag
Having never travelled before (particularly long haul) you will have never have experienced jet lag, and probably didn’t know much about it either. Depending on the length of your flight and time zone you are travelling to, jet leg can hit you as soon as you come off the plane. You can minimise it by sleeping on the plane, relaxing as much as possible or taking a natural sleeping pill or herbal supplement.