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How-to-prepare for -international-travel

Updated on October 29, 2012

Travel Tips.....avoiding the stress

If you planning to take a trip out of the country, it is not as easy as it used to be….,first thing being that you can no longer travel internationally without a passport. …those good old days are now history.

Apply for a passport before you book your trip and if you do have one, be sure to check that it is still valid for travel.

Check the internet, or embassy where you are traveling to, so you can know if a visa is needed for travel and any other travel requirements that may apply to that country.

Check the weather at that time of year, so that you have appropriate clothing . I had friends who went to Florida on vacation late last year and also last month, and in every instance, they were not prepared for the weather. Global warming is having a significant impact on weather and temperature changes all over the world.

Use a lightweight suitcase and travel lightly using clothing that can be paired easily for a casual or more formal look. The right accessories will do the trick every time.

Baggage weight is now 50 lbs per checked bag, and many airlines are now charging for the second bag. Save yourself any embarrassment at the airport by weighing your bags before you get there, so that you do not have to be trying to repack at the counter or having to pay additional charges for overweight bags.

Hand luggage is also coming under greater scrutiny. Be sure that your carry-on is the recommended size and can fit into the sizer. Expandable carry-ons can become a great frustration, when the TSA Agent will not allow you through Security if it does not fit the sizer. I have seen it happen at JFK Airport, and at that time , returning to the check-in counter is not an option….not usually.

Check-in time is 2 hours before the flight….not 45 minutes.. No, that is the time they start the boarding process. Give yourself extra time to get there.

Security is usually the place where so much is happening so quickly, that you need to be prepared. To help expedite the process, remove your jacket, belt, and an keys or coins you may have in your pocket before you get to the top of the line. Many people have forgotten to pick up their keys which they have to drop into some basket. That would obviously present a new set of issues on your return home, especially if TSA and Airline personnel say they don't have your keys. I know someone who had that experience recently. Wear shoes that can be easily removed.

It is also necessary to pay attention to what you wear when you travel. I recently travelled to Atlanta and the body scanner went off because as the Agent explained to me my blouse had tiny decorative accessories on it like sequins. As a result, I had to go through another checkpoint where my hands or fingers were tested?...for lack of a better word.

Have passport opened at photo and boarding pass easily available.

Be aware that the liquids in your carry-on luggage should not be more than 3 oz. each. That includes perfumes and other duty-free items. (I am speaking from the experience of having such a situation when I was departing from Canada. I was finally able to convince an Immigration Officer to let me return the items to the store for refund…...not easy when you have already gone through all the checkpoints.)

Keep a close eye on your valuables like laptop, camera, ipod when going through security. I once got distracted and never realized that my camera had not been replaced in my pocket-book until I got to my destination. When I called the Departure Airport it was hard to find someone to talk to, and when I did, they could not locate it. I lost valuable family memories that day. So be certain that you have put away all coins, keys etc. before going through security.

Boarding Gate – Be aware that boarding starts at 45 minutes before any flight….be at the gate at that time, and if for some reason, you are not, then put away those headphones, so that you can hear when your flight is being called, and moreso if your name is being called. I once saw a teenager almost miss the flight because he had gone to the bathroom I think, and had his headphones on listening to his music and never heard his flight or name being called. He appeared just at the time it was announced that we would be delayed in order to offload the baggage of a missing passenger….DON’T LET THAT BE YOU!!

The only other thing, I think I may have omitted to say, is that if you have a very early morning flight, especially in winter, please bring along something light to eat, or your coffee, as at some airports, the flights are ready to board by the time the coffee shops open and if there is one open, the line for service tends to be pretty long, as there is minimum staff at that time. Remember, if you are traveling in coach class, you will not get fed….tea, coffee and maybe a cereal or granola bar. How long can you wait for that?

Now, you can go on and plan your trip with confidence.

Happy trails to you!!

PS: Please let me know, if I missed anything based on your experience.


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    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      These are useful things to know when traveling even within the country. I've seen so many articles in the bus pan beneath the security station, bottles of expensive wine, perfume, lighters, knives, sodas etc. that were not allowed through. And BTW, try to dress in metal free clothes rather than your Bedazzler outfit. Good one here.

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

      All wise advice thank you. It is essential to be prepared. Sometimes the airport check in is longer than the flight but hey it's better than walking. Thank you.