It’s your first overseas trip and you’re brimming with excitement, but also secretly a little apprehensive about flying far from home crossing international borders and exploring a strange country. Although most first-time travellers don’t admit to any trepidation, it’s perfectly normal to feel some anxiety, especially if you haven’t travelled overseas before.
Kevin Leung, British Airway s’ Commercial Manager for Ghana, who has taken hundreds of international flights still remembers the first one vividly and the pre-journey jitters which accompanied it. He says there are some ways to overcome these so you really enjoy every moment of the experience.
Leung’s top tips are:
Take control – Nothing causes more anxiety than a lack of confidence in your travel arrangements. Check the flights carefully before you make the booking and if you’re changing flights, be aware of transfer times. As a first-time traveller it’s often sensible to leave yourself a little more leeway between flights.
Pay attention to the paperwork – Make sure you’ve got the correct visas and other travel documentation for every country on your itinerary. Don’t assume and if you’re unsure, double check. Most countries list the requirements online. Be aware that some countries also require medical documentation such as yellow fever certificates. Find out what is required first-hand, not from a friend or acquaintance who’s visited the country some time ago. Visa regulations and documentation requirements can change.
Skip the hassle – Experienced travellers know how to avoid queues at the airport. Check in online and print your boarding pass before you leave home. If you’re more tech savvy then download the British Airways app and get your boarding pass sent directly to your cellphone. If you do need a little help, but still want to avoid the check-in queues, then use one of the self-service check-in machines at the airport, where there’s always a staff member on hand if you get stuck. Then you simply drop your bag at the fast-bag drop and proceed through security.
Look like you’ve done it before – Nothing screams first-time-traveller like the person who’s holding up the security queue because they haven’t taken a laptop out of their bag, are trying to get through the metal detector with a pocket full of change or a bottle of water. Prepare for the security before you get to the checkpoint. http://www.britishairways.com/en-za/information/baggage-essentials/liquids-and-restrictions has a list of things you cannot take through security.
Enjoy your flight – The flight is part of your travel experience, so enjoy it. If you’re anxious or unsure about anything, ask the cabin crew, they’re happy to help. You can use laptops, tablets and other devices onboard as long as they’re in flight mode, but there’s also a plenty of in-flight entertainment, so feel free to indulge. If you want to know what’s showing visit http://www.britishairways.com/en-za/information/entertainment/in-flight-entertainment
Get your game face on – You can usually tell the frequent travellers at the airport, as they look, sharper, fresher and more rested than everyone else. There are some secrets to avoiding the long-haul hangover, such as getting some exercise before you leave, wearing comfortable clothes, avoiding alcohol, stretching and keeping hydrated. Pack something comfortable, preferably cotton to sleep in. Not only will this ensure your travelling outfit isn’t rumpled in the morning, but getting changed before bed helps signal to the body that it’s time to sleep. For some insider hints visit: http://www.britishairways.com/en-za/information/health-and-wellbeing?source=MNVINF3health_wellbeing&link=main_nav
Win the baggage battle – If your suitcase isn’t distinctive, mark it with a tag or ribbon so it can be easily identified. It’s amazing how much luggage looks the same. Make sure it’s clearly marked with your name and address. It’s worth paying a bit extra and getting luggage with a good set of wheels, this can speed your departure through the airport and ensure you get a head start on your first overseas adventure.
Source: British Airways