I’ve just completed my first official circumnavigation of the planet, and after this marathon, I thought it was high time that I share my most important tips for successful travel. You might print this one out to keep in your wallet for important tips on-the-go!
1. Double-check the dates before you book your tickets. It’s highly irritating when you show up to the airport to fly to Hawaii to meet an oceanographic vessel on which you have plans to ensnare your future husband, only to be told that your ticket is one month outdated.
2. Double-check the routing before you book your tickets. It sure sucks to present yourself for check-in at the Aer Lingus counter in London to be informed that, since you are already in London, it appears you won’t need to used the Dublin à London ticket you had mistakenly purchased for that afternoon. Note also that most airlines charge a premium for booking same-day flights.
3. While you’re at it, double-check that you’ve spelled your name correctly, and that you’ve used the same name as on your passport.
|If you eventually get where you are going, it'll probably be worth it. [Wat Chalong, Phuket, Thailand.]|
4. Look into details on baggage restrictions. Some airlines put embargoes on excess or oversized baggage during certain times of year to certain destinations. Being told you are not allowed to bring your surfboards on your honeymoon surf trip may cause last-minute cancellation of your honeymoon, which is mildly frustrating.
5. Peruse the baggage allowances and charges for excess. There’s a vast difference between paying $25 for an extra bag vs. $100 for a single overweight bag. Similarly, if you see that your chosen airline is one that charges $200 for an extra suitcase, you may pack differently before leaving the house.
6. Make sure you go to the correct airport.
7. Bring a credit card, and ask the issuing company not to block weird charges (like last-minute tickets to Dublin) while you are away.
8. Consider travel insurance. I hear it’s pretty handy.
9. Bring enough change to call your mom.
10. Taking advantage of a 14-hour layover by exploring the city is an awesome idea unless you have food poisoning and simply feel like dying. Instead, paying a little extra to fly directly is probably worth it.
|(a) Are we there yet? Or possibly (b) I wonder if I could fit onto that chair for a nap?|
11. Check the entry requirements for each country you plan to visit. Americans can get pretty lax on this, assuming we need only to show up. Some countries (gasp!) actually do require visas, and some require that your passport expire over 6 months in the future. (Note, however, that you can get a new passport in just a few days in a last-minute, didn’t-realize-this-rule, impending-travel type situation).
Now, go forth and travel, preferably without acting like a bumbling Jessica.