The big day has arrived: a vacation in a faraway distant land. You've got everything packed and ready to depart. You've got your passport, an airline ticket, and a method to pay for the next several weeks. You're excited, nervous, and ready to go. Here are a few ideas to make your long flight more enjoyable.
Before you go.
Pack as light as you can. You should only bring two luggage and one carry-on. If you're traveling to a tropical location, packing shorts and T-shirts will be much easier. You can always buy new clothes when you arrive at your destination.
Make sure you have all of your meds and prescription copies. Check the most recent regulations for bringing liquids in your carry-on. The laws and restrictions fluctuate with the weather, so stay up to date.
Confirm your flight once more. My previous vacation was nearly a day delayed since a typhoon hit Taiwan and my aircraft from Hawaii was passing via Taipei. I raced to alter my ticket to one that flew through Tokyo, Japan and arrived in Thailand on time. I didn't check ahead of time and was fortunate to be able to change flights. My lesson was learned. Get your seat assignment while reconfirming. For extra legroom, I prefer exit rows.
Check to make sure you have everything. I use a checklist and go through it twice or three times before leaving. Make certain that you have your passport, tickets, and a method of payment - cash, ATM card, credit card, or traveler's checks. A combination is an excellent technique to ensure that you have alternate payment options. If you're visiting a country with its own currency, plan to convert a day's worth of money at the destination airport. Don't exchange money in your native nation since you'll get a bad rate.
In your hometown airport
Arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before your flight. Check-in and security queues can be lengthy and time-consuming. Bring your travel documentation with you everywhere you go. Check the restrictions again for what you can bring on the aircraft, especially in your carry-on.
Before I fly, I always eat at the airport. Airport food has grown better and cheaper, and I prefer to bring my own lunch than rely on airline cuisine. I also pack some trail mix to snack on throughout the flight.
Make use of duty-free shopping. Get your beer, cigarettes, and other necessities tax-free. Check the restrictions in your destination country before buying six bottles of whiskey just to find out you can only bring in one. Check to see whether you may bring liquids on flights with a stopover or two. You might have to make your purchase during your stopover before your last leg.
You can pass the time by playing with whatever electronic gadgets you have. Airports typically include wireless connections, allowing you to check email and surf the web. You may also listen to music if you have an iPod or comparable device. Wireless internet is available in most airports, directly outside the airline lounges. It is not necessary to be a member to sit outdoors and connect to their unsecured network.
During the flight
Try to sleep and relax as much as possible. Time zone shifts and jet lag will be reduced. Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol, especially on prolonged trips. Dehydration is common on lengthy flights with dry cabin air. When you arrive, you may consume alcoholic beverages.
To pass the time, I read and watch movies. Solve some of the crossword problems in the on-board publications. Maintain as much activity as possible. Bring some mints and gum with you to help with the air pressure during takeoff and landing.
I normally avoid the airline's main course. I consume salad, bread, and dessert. The main course is almost never edible. This is why I eat before I go and bring my own snacks with me.
On the plane, you must complete a customs declaration form, which you must submit in to the Customs officer. Make this while on the aircraft and keep it with your passport.
Get off of the plane as soon as possible. Everyone, including you, will have to get through Immigration/Customs, therefore the race is on. Hopefully, you were given instructions before boarding your flight. Otherwise, simply follow the signs. Do not pause to smoke or use the restroom. Get in the shortest line possible and bring your passport. Make a duplicate of your boarding pass just in case.
Be cordial and kind to the Customs officer, get your passport stamped, put in your customs declaration, and go to the luggage carousels. Make sure you have your own luggage and that you can find a money exchange.
Change enough money for a day or two. Because ATMs are widely available across the world, a debit card is the most convenient way to obtain local cash. Using a credit card might be a little riskier. Gather your belongings and proceed to the exit.
Locate the cab or bus stop and proceed to your accommodation. You did it! Now, relax and enjoy your holiday.