Excited for your first trip? You already packed your clothes, charged your gadgets and arranged your travel documents. But what else should you do before your scheduled flight? Here are some tips on how to have a smooth departure experience.
- Don’t forget to bring your passport (for international flights) or valid ID (local destinations)
Simple. A passport or valid ID is a must-bring for all travelers. You cannot board the plane without it! If you need to check it twice, do it. For those who are traveling abroad, please be informed that your passport should have at least 6 months of validity or else you will miss your long awaited trip.
- Go to the airport early
Be at the airport 3-4 hours prior to your flight schedule for international flights and 2-3 hours for local flights, depending on the traffic condition. There are times where there are already long lines before you even enter the airport, then more lines for paying your travel tax and checking in. Most importantly, it’s better to finish the immigration interview as early as you can. We got a friend who had problems with the immigration and have to queue for another set of interview. Luckily, the second officer stamped his passport and we were able to reach the gate before the boarding time ended.
- Be mindful of your bags and luggage
Check the rules on what you can and cannot bring inside the airport. Or you might end up leaving some precious stuff behind just because you are not allowed to bring it with you. Know your weight limits so you don’t have to pay for an extra fee! Your hand luggage (luggage that passengers are allowed to carry along in the passenger compartment of a vehicle instead of moving to the cargo compartment) should not exceed more than 7 kilos. While your check-in bags depends on your baggage allowance that you bought together with your flight ticket.
- Print your plane tickets, hotel voucher, and other important documents
If it’s your first time traveling outside the country, the immigration officer might ask you a lot of questions. Be prepared ahead of time, answer him/her politely and tell him the truth. He/she might ask you for supporting documents to prove that you are just a tourist and will come back in your country in time. Let him know that you already made a reservation for your accommodation and booked a return ticket within the allowed duration of stay in your destination.
- Prepare your supporting documents
The airport staff or an immigration officer might ask you for additional documents depending on your answers, travel condition, or their mood. You may need to bring an extra valid ID, your company ID, business registration (if you’re a business owner), marriage certificate (if you’re traveling with your spouse), and other supporting papers that you can provide just in case they are questioning your vacation. This doesn’t always apply to local flights though. I’ve been to several countries a lot of times but they still ask me about my job and when I am going back even after showing them my old passport.
Don’t get too nervous because it is not complicated as it looks like. If you are well-prepared and ready, you do not have to overthink about it. Be at your best condition and arrange all the necessary documents before your trip. Remember that every time you go into a vacation, you should have a wonderful and stress-free experience. Good luck and have fun!
Note: These tips are based on my personal experience in our local airports (NAIA Terminal 1 to 4)
For more information about international travel requirements, you may visit Bureau of Immigration’s Official Website.