Travel, Travel Tips

16 Things To Do Before Your Upcoming International Flight

The moment you finally buy that cheap plane ticket to a country you’ve always wanted to visit is the one of the most satisfying feeling a person with a traveler’s soul can experience. Knowing that in just a few weeks or months away, you’ll be roaming around the beautiful night streets of Paris or kayaking through the rivers of the islands of Fiji is enough to make you burn all your time researching on various activities that you can do in your country of destination. There’s nothing wrong with that, after all, it’ll make you anticipate your much-awaited trip even more! But before you head to the airport for your flight, there are some important points that you need to remember to ensure a safe and hassle-free trip, including looking for the best hotel deals through online booking sites such as Traveloka. It’s very easy to use, has no hidden fees, and they even have an app you can download on your Android or iOS phones. These tips that I will be sharing with you are things that I have witnessed or personally experienced during my own travels.

1. Check your passport’s expiration date

It is very important that you do not forget to check the expiry date of your passport. I already know two people who have booked a flight and only found out that their passport was about to expire when they applied for their visas. You also have to make sure that the expiry date has the correct validity for the country you are traveling to. For example, your passport must be valid for six months when traveling to China or Indonesia, three months for France or Germany, and one month for Hong Kong.

2. Apply for a visa

If you are going abroad, check whether you need to acquire a visa to enter the country. If you do, then submit your application early because there are some embassies that may take weeks before they return to you your passport, hopefully with the approved visa attached. If the idea of applying for visa terrifies you, then it’s good to know that a Philippine passport can get you to around 60 countries visa-free.

3. Check the weather

Now that your passport is renewed and your visa application has been approved, you may now start packing your luggage. To ensure that you’ll be bringing the right things, don’t forget to check the weather conditions in your country of destination. It may be hot here in the Philippines during January, but in Seoul and Tokyo, it is their coldest month. Don’t let the weather ruin your wonderful trip!

4. Check the weight of your luggage

When booking for your plane ticket, you would be informed of the maximum weight that is allowed for your luggage. They would normally give you 15-20 kilos, depending on the airline. If you think that you’ll exceed the weight limit, then it is better to purchase the extra weight baggage before your flight. Overweight luggage will cost you a lot of money in the airport.

5. Pay your credit card bills in advance

If you’re traveling for two weeks or more, don’t foget to pay your credit card bills in advance. I personally almost forgot that the due date of my credit card bill was during my trip to Singapore. Good thing I remembered to pay a few days before my flight, otherwise I would’ve been charged a late fee.

6. Inform the credit card company of your travel plans

I know a lot of people don’t call their credit card company before their flight, but I always make sure to call and inform them of my travel plans. If you don’t notify them in advance, there’s a chance they might cut off your access to your credit card if an international transaction on your card gets flagged as a suspicious activity.

7. Be at the airport two hours before your flight

I cannot stress this further enough. With the heavy traffic we experience here in the Philippines on a daily basis, it is always safer to leave the house a few hours early. It is recommended that you be at the airport two hours before your flight. There are a lot of security and check-in counters that you must go through before you reach the boarding gate, not to mention the long lines at each counter. Don’t let your long-awaited vacation slip away just because you missed your flight.

8. Know the terminal number of your flight

There are currently four terminals in Manila that are located in different places. Don’t forget to remember the terminal of your flight and where it is located. Not knowing your terminal can make you waste a lot of time trying to find your way around the area in heavy traffic, especially when you end up in the wrong terminal.

9. Apply for roaming services for your cellular phone

Getting roaming services is very useful for emergency situations and for solo travelers. It’s not always certain that you’ll be able to buy a local sim card in the country you’re traveling to or easily get WiFi access for online communication services like Viber and Wechat. It will also give you a peace of mind knowing that you’ll be able to call someone if you get into trouble.

10. Compile a list of emergency numbers

Before I go to any country, I always make sure to write down their emergency numbers in a notepad or input them in my smartphone’s notes. The numbers I usually take note of are the hospitals, ambulance, emergency hotlines, police, Philippine Embassy, and my family’s contact information. Always travel safe!

11. Prepare snacks and drinks

I have already experienced a lot of delays during my travels, and with delays that last for two hours or more, it is very likely that you’ll get hungry. Instead of buying over-priced food in the airport, pack some light snacks and drinks in your hand-carry, like sandwiches or chips. Just be sure to finish your drink because you are not allowed to pass through the security screening point with a container of liquid or gel over 3.4 ounces or 100ml.

12. Download entertainment and helpful applications

Riding in long hours of flight can bore anyone to death. Get yourself entertained by downloading music and movies that you can watch on your smartphone or tablet. You can also install helpful travel guides of the country you’re going to in advance so you can read and check out other attractions and activities during your flight.

13. Confirm everything you’ve booked in advance

The day before your flight, make sure to confirm all your advanced bookings to prevent unpleasant surprises, such as flights that are canceled without you being informed about it. Here are some things that you might want to confirm: flight, hotel reservation, rental car, train ticket, and airport shuttle service. You wouldn’t want to happily arrive at the airport of your destination late at night only to find out that the hotel shuttle service won’t be arriving to pick you up.

14. Pay the travel tax

Some airline companies, like Philippine Airlines, will give you the option to pay the travel tax online when you purchase a ticket on their website. If not, you would have to go pay your travel tax at the airport before you check-in your luggage. The full travel tax is Php1,620.00 for business class and economy class, and Php300.00 for dependents of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

[EDITED: FEBRUARY 2017]

For Filipino citizens, you may now pay your travel taxes online directly through the official website of TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority). Click here and follow the simple steps: register, pay, and print. I find this system very useful for passengers who’s always on the run to catch their flights. If you’re like me who arrives at the airport hours before the flight, then this is a good way to skip the long queues and relax early.

15. Double-check the lock of your luggage

I would always double-check the lock of my luggage properly at the check-in counter. There were already some instances where I opened my luggage to get an item and then forget to properly mix the numbers of the lock. I was lucky nothing got stolen or that my luggage didn’t accidentally open when getting transferred to different areas. For laptops, be sure to put them inside your hand-carry because they are not allowed to be stored in the check in luggage.

16. Be updated on the country’s current events

There are a lot of things that can happen in a country within a day or even within a few hours! Safety is important especially when you are not in your own country, and it is better to keep yourself up-to-date regarding the country’s daily news via Huffington Post a week before your flight. Better safe than sorry!

Now that you’re done with all the preparations, you are now ready to take that flight to your dream destination! All you have to worry about from here on out is how to fully enjoy your trip and make the best travel memories of your life!

enjoy-your-trip

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19 Comments

  • Reply Rach

    Great tips and some here that I often forget about! Although checking the weather is something I do obsessively for at least a week pre-trip!

    November 30, 2016 at 8:16 pm
  • Reply Imaobong

    I totally agree with checking the weather, it’s so important for me especially because I will not want to be caught unprepared in a foreign country!

    November 30, 2016 at 9:04 pm
  • Reply Joanna

    This is a very complete list on how to prepare before a flight. I fly so often that I don’t even think about all these anymore, for me the most important thing I have to check is that I have my passport with me. Like during my last long haul trip I even forgot to buy insurance. Oups. :)

    November 30, 2016 at 9:47 pm
  • Reply JeevaNayagi

    Wonderful tips there, especially the useful apps and travel tax thing. Didn’t know about the travel tax thing. Other things like credit card and roaming devices, although we know we tend to forget. Thanks for putting together this checklist.

    November 30, 2016 at 10:23 pm
  • Reply Sauumye Chauhan

    I recently travelled Internationally and I must say all these points are just perfect!!!

    December 1, 2016 at 7:39 am
  • Reply blair villanueva

    Thank you for your reminders. Most of the overlooked things are passport expiration and visa needed. I think it is good idea to add the expiration date in our phone calendar, so it would ping us whenever we need to renew it before the trip

    December 1, 2016 at 2:04 pm
  • Reply Erin

    Great list! I once had to call my bank from Africa and explain it really was me using my credit card and could they please unblock it so I could keep having fun, so no. 6 resonated with me!

    December 1, 2016 at 3:18 pm
  • Reply Carola

    Great list! I love to travel internationally. And I’m chaos! I am not structured at all. So lists like these, definitely help me! I’m just always trying to remember things and hope for the best haha. I do always check the weight of my luggage! I’d definitely forget to confirm the things I booked in advance. Or do it last minute.

    December 2, 2016 at 3:15 am
  • Reply Ree love30

    Such useful tips! And its easy to forget to do some of these things. Im actually going to Prague on Saturday so I’m going to use your list to be organised tomorrow! Ree love30

    December 2, 2016 at 7:26 am
  • Reply Eugenia

    These are such useful tips every traveler should pay attention before the flight! As for me I always check the weight of my baggage to avoid airline fees! Thanks for sharing your list, pinned it :-)

    December 2, 2016 at 10:56 pm
  • Reply Laveena Sengar

    These are some amazing travel tips. I think it’s very important to follow these steps. Something that I always keep in mind is keeping a track of entertainment. I always make sure that there is something that keeps me going in the most boring hours.

    December 3, 2016 at 8:31 pm
  • Reply thepretendchef

    very good tips, every traveller should keep a note of these

    December 4, 2016 at 12:35 am
  • Reply Bhushavali

    Perfect tips. Yeah, I do know someone who had his credit card blocked coz the issuer thought it was a suspicious activity when it was swiped abroad!!! I got an email, asking me to confirm if it was me, the moment I swiped my card abroad!!! Local travel apps are something I always download and Google Translate as well!

    January 12, 2017 at 2:15 am
  • Reply Andre

    Every year I fly around 20 – 30 times and I totally agree with your list. For long haul flights I also try not to eat and heavy food in advance. This makes it easier for me to fall a sleep onboard a plane. Also baggage restrictions are very important to check, since many airlines have different policies. Although, I am flying a lot, I actually enjoy it! :) Great article.

    January 13, 2017 at 1:23 am
  • Reply berlin domingo

    These are nice and helpful reminders. Makes me memorize everything so when the time comes we will have our trip, I have everything inside my bag and luggage. Reading this as well is refreshing. We often tell ourselves we already know this and yet we end up forgetting a thing or two. It is always good to have a good list and a reminder just like your post. So thanks!

    January 13, 2017 at 11:35 pm
  • Reply cieri

    These are helpful tips and hold very true when travelling. Been travelling and spearheading most travel plans for about a decade now since I started working and keeping these in mind will help lessen the cramming and unnecesssary stress that goes with travelling. Nice blog by the way :) Looking forward to connecting with you more :)

    January 22, 2017 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply Pia Dysangco

    This post is helpful because every time I travel overseas, I go through a moment of panic before heading to the airport because I always feel that I’m forgetting to do something. Will keep this list for reference just in case. :) I especially love tip 10 and 16, because these two things don’t even cross my mind. But you’re right – it never hurts to be safe, compiling your emergency numbers and knowing the state of affairs in the country you’re visiting are definitely musts. I also learned #6 the hard way. My credit card was denied in Bali just when we were paying for the hotel because the credit card company flagged it as unusual activity. Super embarrassing! Anyway thanks again for the tips! Will definitely keep this in mind!

    January 23, 2017 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Claire Algarme

    These are important and helpful tips. I have experienced some of them and not doing them were lessons learned for me. I try to keep note of important things to do before I embark on an international trip. But even when I do know these, it is still good to be reminded of this sometimes. Reading through your post made me remember of things that often escape my mind.
    Claire Algarme recently posted…First-time in Rapha Valley

    January 30, 2017 at 11:20 pm
  • Reply Kylie

    I travel quite often but I’m so glad you included this list of things to do. I have never even considered writing a list of emergency contact numbers!

    I always take a sleeping eye mask, I noticed not all airlines provide these. :) Keep up the amazing work!

    February 1, 2017 at 7:56 am
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