Opinion

Tips for First-Time Travelers

Jennifer Zuniga   Advertising Manager

With 2018 coming to an end, Christmas and New Year’s Day are quickly approaching. This means that people are going to be traveling for the holidays. It can be very intimidating when it’s your first time traveling, especially around this time. As a person who first traveled on her own to another state last year, I wish someone could have helped me better prepare for traveling on a plane. If you are a first-time flier, I have a few tips that I know will be beneficial for you.

A first suggestion would be to check the airline’s luggage requirements. It’s easy to over-pack, but if you do, it could cost you. Why over-pack when you might not even use everything inside your bag? I know it is hard because I do it myself. Before your flight, visit your airline’s website to review luggage size and weight restrictions, as well as baggage fees. If you pack light enough, you could avoid baggage fees altogether.

Secondly, I would advise planning accordingly. Avoid packing at the last minute, make time to find all of your necessary travel documents, such as your passport, license or state ID (depending on where you are traveling), and print your boarding pass. If you give yourself time to pack, you are able to check to see if you have everything you need. You don’t want to leave anything that you might need behind. Without your documents, you won’t be able to pass through the security checkpoint, so don’t forget them. Printing out your boarding pass beforehand will be less stressful for you. However, if you don’t have a printer, you can also print it at the airline desk. They even have it electronically.

A third tip would be to arrive at the airport early, because every one is set up differently. It is important to check what airport you are going to, what terminal your airline is located in, and how busy it gets. Each airline has a specific check-in, which is usually two hours before your flight. Catching a plane isn’t like catching a bus, it’s a much longer process. Ultimately, what this means is that you need to give yourself enough time to get your boarding pass, check your bags and go through security before your plane starts boarding. Sometimes, that takes ten minutes. Other times, especially during peak travel times, it can take much longer. It’s worth keeping in mind that boarding the plane isn’t a free-for-all, either. Airlines typically start boarding passengers 30 minutes before takeoff in groups.

A fourth tip would be to prepare to go through the security checkpoint, which is probably the most stressful part of flying. Typically, unless you have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you have to remove your shoes, empty the contents of your pockets and remove your hat, belt, jacket, wallet and bulky jewelry, remove your laptop, send your carry-on bag through an X-ray machine, and walk through a metal detector or a body scanner (or opt for a pat-down). To prepare for a body scanner it is best to wear shoes you can easily slip on and off. This can make the process faster. Please take your time to make sure you don’t leave anything at the security checkpoint.

My final tip is to bring a neck pillow in case you are planning to sleep on your trip. It can be uncomfortable to sleep sitting up, so a neck pillow will help bring you comfort. Secondly, bring your headphones to listen to music or a book to read. You don’t want to get bored on the airplane. Thirdly, bring gum, yawn, or swallow during your descent. These activities relax the Eustachian tube and allow for air pressure to equalize inside and outside the ear.

In conclusion, remember that traveling can be stressful and overwhelming. Knowing what to do before you travel can help you mentally prepare yourself. By following my tips, you can save money, time, and stress. Take a deep breath. You got this. Don’t forget to enjoy the experience.

Campus Lantern
The Campus Lantern is the school newspaper at Eastern Connecticut State University. The Lantern is run by students, for students and reports on everything hppening around campus. We publish every other week. The Lantern has been in publication since 1945.
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