If you are Flying for the first time, you might have gazillions of questions. Because traveling by flight is a lot different than traveling using a bus (or) a train. There are certain documents you must carry especially while traveling by flight. There are certain do’s and dont’s that you should know. One small mistake can ruin your first flight trip, If you are flying for the first time whether domestic or International this guide will help you with all your questions about first time flying.
Here is the complete checklist of things you might need before traveling.
If you are flying outside the country the first and foremost thing you need is a passport issued by your country. If you don’t have a passport, you can apply for it and the government will issue the passport and it will be delivered from one week to 30 days. The passport should have at least 6 months expiry date.
2. VISA (International)
If your destination is within your country you don’t need a VISA. If you are traveling outside the country, VISA is a must. There are several types of visas such as Travel / Tourist VISA, Marriage VISA , Business VISA, Study VISA and different kinds of visa. I have listed out some of the most common visa’s.
Travel / Tourist VISA : If you are traveling outside the country then you must posses a visa for that specific country otherwise your Immigration will not be cleared by the Immigration officer and you will be sent back. It is advised to check if you need a VISA for that country, most tourist countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia issues visa upon arrival.
Types of VISA’s : There are two kind of VISA’s, Sometimes you must need a VISA before boarding the flight, Sometimes you can obtain a VISA after you arrive in the country. They are basically called VOA ( Visa on Arrival ).
To check if your Passport is eligible for VISA on arrival option to your destination country, Simply type the following term in Google [VISA Requirement for [your country] Citizens] and check all the conditions and documentation you need before visiting that country. Some countries ask you to provide your Bank Statement, Health Statement and if you are visiting from African countries you need to be tested for Yellow fever and the certificate should be carried with you during your journey.
eg : VISA Requirement for Sweden Citizen – If you have a Swedish Passport.
Business VISA : If you are a business man or business woman and speaking at a conference or going for investment in a specific country then you must obtain a Business VISA at any cost. If you try to avoid the VISA fee and travel on a business trip on a tourist visa, the immigration will put a life ban and send you back immediately if caught. It is always advised to apply for a Business VISA when traveling on business purpose.
To know what kind of VISA you need for a specific country, follow the below steps
- Go to VisaList (http://Visalist.io)
- Enter your country
- Check all VISA types
You will see all kind of VISA types in that websites such as Visa on Arrival, Visa Free you can also sort using schengen visa
3. Flight Tickets
Flight tickets are the third important thing you must have in order to travel to another country, it is advised to plan your itinerary properly and book the return tickets as well. Because most of the tourist countries only let you in, if you have a return ticket. Plus, when you book the tickets two way it cost you a little cheaper.
Tip : Use sites like SkyScanner.com to compare the prices of flight tickets of various airlines, If you book your tickets a month or 15 days before your travel you might get them for a lot cheaper than buying it at the last moment.
Important Note : Your First Name and Last Name on the ticket must match with your First Name and Last Name in the Passport.
4. Additional Documents
If you are traveling from African countries you must carry additional documents such as Health Certificate to show you have no signs of Yellow fever or any diseases.
Some countries will ask you to carry your Bank Statement of last 3 months – 6 months. Make sure to check all the requirements on the Wikipedia page (or) you can find these details on the Immigration website of that specific country.
From Airport to Boarding the Flight
Terminal : In most of the airports there are separate terminals for International and Domestic Departure, While in some airports International and Domestic Departures are situated in same terminal but in different gates
Security : Once you enter the gate, Show the Security your Passport and Tickets. This is to verify you are a passenger.
Check-in and Boarding Pass : Now find the counter of the airline you are flying with, If you are traveling by Singapore Airlines then go to the Singapore Airlines Check-in counter. Provide the documents on the counter such as Air Tickets, Passport, VISA and load your luggage on the belt.
The customer care at Check-in Counter will paste the baggage labels on your Luggage. The tags have your flight information and your name. This is to identify your luggage while picking it up in the destination country. Once you checked in your luggage you will be handed over Boarding pass if all your documents are correct.
Self Check-in : These days you can check-in by yourself with self check-in machines, I’m not sure if they are present all over the world. But, most of the airports have it. Enter your Ticket Details in the Self Check-in machine and print your boarding pass and paste the baggage labels to your baggage that came with your boarding pass.
If you have Luggage upto 7 KG, you can carry it with you in hand luggage. If it exceeds more than 7 KGs then you must check-in the luggage at check-in counter.
Immigration : The next step is Immigration, Immigration applies to people traveling to a foreign country, Domestic Travelers don’t need immigration. Head over to the Immigration Counter and show all the documents.
The Immigration officer will ask you questions such as the purpose of your visit. They will try to scare you sometimes, don’t be scared and answer the questions asked and get your passport stamped.
Checking : After your immigration is cleared, The next part is Security Checking. You will find the Security Check point right after the Immigration. Put all your Hand luggage including anything you are wearing such as Phone, Wallet, Coins, Keys, Belt in the box provided . Once you are cleared and checked you will be sent to the boarding gate. If they find anything suspicious items such as Knives or sharp objects they will question you.
Boarding Gate : After clearing the security check the final step is finding your Boarding Gate. Find your boarding gate, this can be found on your boarding pass (or) the flight information board nearby. The boarding gate closes 30 minutes – 45 minutes prior to departure time (take off). It is advised to be present there before 45 minutes so that you don’t lose your flight.
Seats : Once you go inside the airline, the next thing you should be doing is finding your seat. If you have problem finding it, ask the cabin crew they will help you.
Seat Belt : Before take-off and landing you should wear the seat belt, if you have problem wearing it ask the cabin crew how to use it.
In Flight Meals : Once the flight is in air, the cabin crew would come with meals. If you have booked the meals already show them your boarding pass otherwise you can also buy on the flight. You will find the menu in the front seat along with the magazines.
Pre-Landing : You will be handed Immigration form in the flight, Fill up all the details like your purpose, Hotel Name, Number of days, Return Date, Cash* (Amount of cash you are carrying).
If the flight doesn’t provide the Immigration form, you can find it in the airport in the Luggage Pickup Section.
Landing : Once your flight is landed on the destination airport, wait until the people empty the flight and walk out from the flight.
Immigration : After arriving at your destination airport, you should go to the immigration counter. Show your passport and VISA, the Immigration officer would ask you few questions regarding your purpose like why are you visiting the country, whether business or travel show them all the documents asked.
Luggage Pickup Point : After clearing the Immigration you can pickup your luggage if you have checked in any luggage. There are many luggage belts, to find the right Luggage belt look on the board or ask one of the porters and tell them about your flight information.
Security : You must show the Immigration form that was provided to you in the flight, the security at the destination country would check you luggage once again in the screening monitor. Put all the stuff such as Laptop, Belt, Wallet in a box and walk out of the airport after clearing the security.
Money Exchange : Make sure to search about the currency at your destination country. The point here is, there is a difference in currency in different countries. In countries such as Indonesia, Zimbabwe the value of 100$ is equal to millions in their local currency.
Eg : 100USD = 1.3 Million Indonesian Rupiahs
100 USD = 36,000+ ZWD
Exchange rate is generally not good at the airport. The best way to get good conversion is visit different Money Exchangers in the airport and get exchanged at the place you feel the price is best.
Western Union also gives you good exchange on the foreign currency especially USD, EUR and GBP.
Hotel Booking : Booking.com and Agoda.com are two of the biggest hotel sites around the world. They operate in all countries, If you haven’t booked your hotels search for the hotels on the website and find the one that suits your budget and is near your preferred area.
Taxi : Most taxi drivers and private taxi companies in the airport try to scam foreigners and they give a 3x – 5x higher price than what they quote to the locals. UBER is operated in 100+ Countries, You might choose UBER if you have been using it in your home country.
Images taken from Pixabay.com