Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Student's Guide for International Travel

Navigation Protocol for International Travel

Buying flight tickets: I suggest look for cheapest flights but not before seeing the review for the airline that you are choosing. Some airlines are known for missing baggage during connecting flights. Some flights may not provide food during travel. Also check for the check-in and cabin luggage weight requirements before booking the tickets.  

Applying for a Visa: VISA application for any international travel must be seen carefully before buying the flight tickets. Apply for VISA at least 2 months before you plan to travel. Beware of fraudulent websites and always check the requirements with the official embassy website of the country you are planning to travel to. 

Some countries have transit visa requirements if you happen to pass through them during layover/stopover flights. Check this website for information on documentation requirements during layovers  -

Time period
One week before
Check air ticket dates, name mentioned, passport + one photocopy, visa + one photocopy, all baggage items, trolley bags, backpacks, lock etc.
One day
Check your air ticket for the information on terminal number where you are supposed to report.
On the day of travel
Report at least 3 hours before flight departure to ensure timely entry and avoid last minute hassles.

Enter the airport – keep your passport ready for inspection by the security (happens in India only I guess)
At the Airline Desk
Go to the counter of the airlines with which you are travelling- get your boarding pass (or multiple passes if you are travelling via some airport/s on the way to final destination)

You may also ask for your preferred seat on the airline (choose aisle if you frequently go to loo :)

Check your boarding pass for correct info before moving ahead

Your checked-in luggage will be taken by the airline staff
Check the gate number mentioned on the boarding pass and proceed there
Security Check

Go through security check – remember that you can take only the hand baggage with you up till here (most airlines allow one laptop bag and one cabin/hand baggage where the total weight of the bags should not exceed 7 kg excluding the laptop weight).

Don’t carry any liquid items in your hand baggage (like perfume, deo, hair oil etc.), drink any water if you have and take the bottle. It’s better to keep your mobile phone, wallet etc. inside the hand baggage before security check. It happens sometime due to heavy rush that these items go missing. You will also be asked to remove your laptop and place it in a tray at the security check.
Immigration Desk
Proceed for immigration desk. Here your passport and visa details will be checked by officials. Remain calm and composed here and do not show any hurriedness to get through this desk. It’s like an international border so behave properly for smooth transition. The one question that you will invariably be asked in a foreign country is “What is the purpose of your visit?” Always state the truth (unless you are a criminal :-p)
Duty Free Area
You are now inside the duty-free area of the airport. Most of these places look exotic with all the international brands selling their products. It’s better to buy things (like wine, chocolates etc.) while on the way back to India.
Boarding Gate
Proceed to boarding gate number mentioned on your pass. Be there at least 45 minutes before the departure as some airlines close boarding half an hour earlier to prepare for departure.
Foreign Airport on transit
Do not waste time at transit airports and go straight to the next boarding gate. You should check for boarding gate for the next flight in the digital screens that display information on flights. If there is any confusion, ask any airport support employee for help. Do not bother other passengers for this information as they may also be as confused as you are. If you have not taken your boarding pass for this flight, then proceed to transit travel desk for getting that.
Destination Airport
Check whether you have taken your passport, boarding passes, laptop, camera, any important item with you + cabin baggage before leaving the airline. Proceed to the immigration desk for entry into the country (follow the guidelines stated above). Check the digital screens which display the information on the belt on which your check-in baggage will arrive. Get a trolley and move to the belt to collect your bag. Make sure that you are collecting your own baggage (better to tie some color ribbon for identification) as most of the baggage look similar.
Look for stalls or shelf which has Tourism related information of the country you are travelling. Pick booklets/maps which are mostly available free of cost.
Move to the transport that you are intending to take from airport to the place of stay.
Happy Travelling J

Checklists for International Travel (for light travellers)

Universal Travel Adapter
Warmer/Pullover/Fleece jacket
Light-weight backpack (for sightseeing purposes)
Pocket camera (mobiles suffice these days)
Water Bottle
Tiffin box for packing food whenever needed
Travel Currency card (available with most banks, can be used at most ATMs)

Multi-plug extension
Swimming trunk (for all waterbabies)

(suggestions are welcome in the comments box)

Chilling out in Venice :)

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