Traveling has now become a necessity more than a luxury to many. While some people are traveling for business, there are those who are traveling to explore different destinations in their own country or abroad. Though one thing is for sure, these people have experienced the anxiety of flying for the first time.
If you are one of the people who are to fly for the first time, there are some things you should know. We have prepared a couple of great pointers that you can read on. These will lessen your anxiety and guide you throughout your first-time flying venture.
Pointers for First-Time Fliers
Despite your feeling of anxiety and excitement, you can be assured that flying is not much of a hassle. In fact, it’s a fun and comfortable experience. Though here are some things to remember before taking off.
- Pack Smart
It can be tempting to bring things that you think are nice to have but not essential for your travel. Keep in mind that doing this can be more of a hassle than a convenience. The number one rule would be to have a list of your essentials. This will include your clothes, toiletries, gadgets, passport and other personal belongings. Prioritize each one and invest on a bag that can keep your items organized and packed well. Pack light to make sure you do not get too overwhelmed with luggage. Mind the space and use packing techniques to make sure you save and maximize space.
- Take Accessories with You
Most flights are already comfortable. However, flights that take more than 5 hours can be daunting and tiring. To add more comfort to your experience, you can opt to bring a sleeping mask, travel pillow, earplugs, blanket or scarf. Since long flights can be a bit boring, you can bring a book or devices that will allow you to listen or watch movies while you wait. However, there are some airlines that offer reliable Wi-Fi that lets you play music and movies during the flight.
- Be Wary of the Weather
Since it is your first time to leave your comfort zone, you are bound to experience a different setting. This means you will be experiencing a different climate and weather. Read ahead and learn about the current temperature and climate of your destination so you can pack appropriate clothes for it. Nobody wants to wear thick coats in the blazing heat of summer and vice versa.
- Have Some Packed Food Available
People have their own preferences when it comes to food. As a first time flier, you may find airline food okay or not okay. So if you are a bit picky or if you have diet restrictions, you can always bring your own food just in case airline food is not your thing. If you want to have your food personalized, you can do it by pre-ordering your meal, however, specialized meals are only available for selected airlines.
- Get to Know the Different Types of Luggage
Yes, you read it right. There are different types of luggage and these include checked, carry-on and personal. Knowing the difference of each will give you an idea on how to pack.
- Checked Baggage
Every airline has a weight limit for checked baggage. This is the range you have to maintain as this is the type you store in the aircraft’s hold. These are the items that you “check-in” before boarding the plane, hence, you will not be able to access this until you arrive at your destination. Some airlines provide complimentary baggage allowance but most of them have restrictions and rules too so make sure you give them a call and learn about this before packing.
- Carry-on Baggage
This is the type of luggage you carry with you during the flight but this is usually stored in the plane’s cabin. Similar to checked baggage, airlines have a weight allowance and restriction for this too. Do note that aircrafts have restrictions in carrying liquids so make sure to check with the airline to avoid disposing or leaving your items before boarding.
- Personal Baggage
This is the type of luggage that you can carry with you inside the plane. These are generally smaller than carry-on baggage as these are usually rucksacks, laptop bags, and handbags. Most of this carries essentials such as purses, passports and makeup. There are certain restrictions in carrying personal baggage too so you have to ask the airline you are traveling with if they allow it or not.
Along with the limitations and restrictions set by airlines come some fines and additional costs for going beyond the limits. If you have to bring more than the recommended weight allowance, you are then subject to pay to add more.
- Prepare All Necessary Documents
This is a very vital step when you are packing because nobody wants to end up in the airport without a passport or any required document before flying. Secure your identification card, required visa, passport and other documents before leaving for the airport. It is important to have your printed itinerary and boarding pass with you. Leaving any of these items may cause delays and missed flights.
Also, make sure to check your passport’s validity. Some countries will not allow you to travel if your passport is not valid for a minimum of six months. This varies per country; however, the main reason for this would be that they want to be sure that in case you decide to have a longer vacation or stay, your passport will still be valid and usable.
- Invest on Easily Recognizable Baggage
Some people have a hard time recognizing their baggage in the conveyor belt when it’s time to get it. This is because a lot of people opt to buy their suitcases from the same brands. To spare you of unnecessary waiting, make your baggage recognizable with the use of straps, tags or any other element that you can attach to your bag.
- Utilize Online Check-in Options
A lot of airlines offer the option to check-in their baggage online. The process allows you to check-in for your flight and print the boarding pass at the comfort of your own home or office. The reason why a lot of travelers do this is because they can easily proceed to security without having to go through the check-in queues. Though not an option available for many, you can choose to do this only if you do not need special assistance for doing so.
- Double Check Your Flight Details and Itinerary
As a first time flier, you should create habits that will benefit you in the long run. One of the things to practice would be checking your flight and itinerary details from time to time. There are instances where flights go through status changes so take the time to check on the airline’s website to confirm that there are no changes made to yours.
Though a bit impossible to believe, some people miss their flights because of misreading their flight details. Be precise in confirming all the information related to your flight including your name, airport address, flight number and time of departure. Since a lot of countries have numerous airports, it is important to verify that you are going to the right one.
- Be in Comfortable Clothes
Some people make the mistake of dressing in uncomfortable clothes. While some may opt to do this when meeting important people when landing, you do have the option to choose comfort without compromising anything. Most flights take long grueling hours before landing, so it is best to wear clothes that are unrestrictive and are comfortable. If you need to meet someone upon landing, you can always change before alighting the plane or when you get to the airport.
- Consult a Doctor as Necessary
If you have an existing health condition, it would be wise to visit your doctor before flying for the first time. In this way, you can get medications that may be necessary in case you experience symptoms or discomfort anytime during the flight. This is very important especially if you are currently taking medications that are not recommended to be taken when flying. If you are feeling anxious, it is also good to talk to your doctor as they can help prescribe medication that will help you relax while traveling.
- Pre-selecting a Seat Is an Option
There are some cases where you may want to have your seat pre-selected. You may want to sit next to a window especially to see the sights as it is your first time to fly. You may also feel comfortable being seated in a corner or in a location that is close to the toilet if you often have the need to use the toilet. Some people tend to choose the seat next to the window because it gives them more uninterrupted time for sleeping or reading books.
- Purchase a Travel Insurance
If you are to travel on long hours or if you plan to start traveling frequently, purchasing travel insurance is a good action to take. This is because it lessens the hassle you would have to go through in case you lose a baggage, pay for unexpected medical expenses or other travel interruptions. There are different types of insurance that you can choose from so take time to consider one that is best for you.
- Prepare Your Money Ahead
A lot of people have their money exchanged to different currencies in reputable companies over those that are available in the airport. This is because most companies offer better rates than those in the airport. Having your destination’s currency at hand will spare you of problematic situations and will offer convenience throughout your trip. Some airlines make pre-ordering currencies available for those who want the money picked up upon arrival. So do not forget to ask your airline about this ahead of time.
- Be in Good Shape before the Trip
For a first timer, cabin humidity may be too much to take as it sometimes causes dizziness, headaches and fainting spells. So before your flight, make sure that you take in enough water to be hydrated the entire trip. Try to stay away from alcohol and other substances that may alter your wellness and consciousness.
- Have Good Time Management
Make it a habit to arrive at the airport two to four hours before the time of your departure. You will have to go through a lot of procedures before you can settle for the flight. In some cases, people miss their flights because of the unexpected traffic or delays. So make sure to allot enough time for those. In case you finish ahead of time you can always spend your time eating or shopping around the area.
- Be Familiar with Security Protocols
For first-timers, airport security procedures can be daunting. Though those exist to have security and order in the airport, it can be a bit intimidating for some. A heads up would be that you will be going through a full body scan and it will entail removing your shoes. Pointed objects, lighters and huge water bottles are not allowed. All types of luggage will be screened and x-rayed before entry. With these in mind, you can calm yourself down during the process.
The thought of riding a plane and reaching a new destination is thrilling and exciting. For some, it can be daunting and nerve-wracking. All these can be tapered down and can be turned into a good experience as long as you know the basics. The reason why some people dread flying is because of the preparation and process they have to go through before boarding. This is why it is very important to make sure that you read through the guidelines we have created. Being prepared mentally, financially, and physically will give you the peace of mind you need for first-time air travel.