Come fly with me.. Airports and planes come in many styles and sizes. Countries have varied rules and regulations.
Some basic things to remember will make all the difference when aiming to have a positive experience – where ever you are heading to.
Plan in advance, be prepared, check & double check. Here is our minimum to do -list.
Passport, visa, flight documents
Make sure your travel documentary is sufficient. The expiration date of your passport is an important one. Somewhere it’s ok to have a passport expiring next month, some require a passport that is valid months after you return home.
Check the visa requirements and apply well in advance if you need to have a visa. Some countries offer the possibility of applying an eVisa or getting one at the border as you arrive, but some require you to visit their Embassy for an interview. (Remember that you may need to leave your passport to the Embassy for the duration of the visa process – plan other travel accordingly).
If you plan to stay longer at a certain country, what is the maximum time for a stay? If you need to apply more time, how do you do it? It’s not recommended to let dates expire, ever.
We are Finnish citizens and are blessed with one of the best passports in the world. We are one of the most trusted travelers in the world and many countries don’t require a visa from us. However, to the U.S., where we do travel a lot, we still do need to apply for an ESTA regulary and make sure it hasn’t expired. You can apply it on-line and update it within the period. Also countries like Canada and Australia require us to apply for an eTA, Electronic Travel Authorization.
Take a copy of your passport and visa(s), pack them with you. Having a photo of them in your mobile isn’t a bad thing, either.
Make sure you’ll have your flights confirmed for the dates of your travel and have the confirmation with you. Some like to check-in upon arriving to the airport, but especially if you have long flights, connected flights and baggage and/or a big group, checking in at the counter may be the best thing to do.
There are some things to do in advance, though. We want to make all possible seat reservations and apply for an upgrade with points if possible. We think that is the best thing you can do with points!
Have you experienced the moments at the airport when someone standing at the check-in or at the security check starts looking for documents from different bags and pockets? We have.
Want to have all travel documents easily at the same place and avoid hassle? Invest in a travel wallet and have the travel documents, loyalty program cards, credit cards, some cash, hotel reservations, cruise documents, car rental docs etc. together in your carry-on bag.
We mostly travel with one piece of check-in luggage and one piece of hand luggage each. Investing in a durable, four wheel bag is our warm recommendation.
Still, every time after your trip, go through your bag’s interior, surface, locks, wheels.. It is not fun realizing your bag is a mess the night before you’re supposed to head to the airport. If you don’t own a decent piece, don’t want to purchase and need to borrow the luggage from a friend, don’t leave picking-up the bag to the last minute. Just a thought.
And yes, save your mental health and opt for as few bags as possible. Easier to go around airports, easier to check-in, less worries of loosing stuff on the way. The age of travel trunks is not over, but most of us can’t afford travel with such as luggage.
We are not going to discuss packing your checked-in bags at this time, but do find out the weight regulations for the airline you’re going to use.
Some airlines no longer include checked-in bags and you’ll have to pay for them anyways.
Put name tags inside and outside, maybe tie a colorful ribbon around a handle for identification. We also recommend you snap photos of your bags. Easier to explain their special features if they get lost.
Optimize your hand luggage
Simplicity and practicality. First, think of all the must carry on items. The travel documents. The money and cards. The mediacation and prescriptions.
Don’t forget pain relief and stomach aids. Your mobile phone, tablet or laptop, charchers, camera and all the valuables.
Then start with items that make flying more comfy. Like the earphones, earplugs, a sleeping mask, a scarf, lip balm, eye drops, hand moisturizer, tooth brush and tooth paste. A pocket mirror, a comb and some tissue paper. That paperback or mag, maybe a travel guide, notebook and a pen.
Remember to pack liquids into a separate plastic bag. It’s annoying having to dig items out of your bag at the security when something liquid is left inside.
Finally: choose your piece of hand luggage. We like bags that fit under the seat in front of us. Bags that are easy to carry around on your shoulder at the airports.
These are to do musts for us, what are yours?
Ps. Would you like to know how we ensure peace of mind with feline arrangements, work related stuff and house maintainance while abroad?