10 Mistakes All First Time Fliers Make

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Whether your first flight is international or domestic, traveling by air for the first time can be a little daunting. Between booking airfare, arranging accommodations, building itineraries, and everything else that goes into planning that perfect vacation, it’s enough to make even a seasoned traveler’s head spin.

Rest easy knowing that our list of rookie mistakes will at least help you not fall into some of the most common airport travel missteps.

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1. Using Oversize Luggage

If you think that you’ve found the perfect bag to carry everything that you will need to keep at your side during the flight, you’d better check twice. Most planes have very limited overhead space, so there are restrictions for the size of your carry-on and personal item.

Always check TSA guidelines, as well as the policies for your chosen airline. If your bag exceeds carry-on size you may have to check your bag.


2. Paying for Overweight Luggage

Be careful not to overpack. If you are not checking a bag, then you will be limited to the carry-on rules discussed above. However, if you are checking a bag, you will have to factor in weight restrictions, as well.

  • Bag check fees can add up quickly, so be sure to check your airlines policies and weigh your suitcase as you go. You probably don’t need as much as you think you do. Remember to pack only what you need for where you are headed and for how long.
  • If you’re heading to Phoenix, AZ in the summer, you probably don’t need that wool sweater.

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3. Packing Too Many or Oversize Liquids

If you want to get through airport security quickly, pay special attention to this one. The best rule to follow when packing liquids is TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.

  • You are allowed up to 3.4 oz containers in one clear, quart-size, plastic zip bag. You get one per passenger. Do not try to get your favorite full-size can of hairspray through security in your carry-on. You will have to throw it away.
  • People can often be seen at checkpoints trying to chug bottles of water before they get on the plane because they can’t take an opened bottle through the checkpoint. This rule is serious.

Common Traveling Mistakes That’ll Make You Say, “I’m Never Doing THAT Again”

4. Carrying Improper Identification

Remember to keep your identification close. If you are traveling internationally, you will need you passport. For domestic flights, your driver’s license is probably the easiest thing. Always check guidelines to make sure that your form of ID is accepted.

Make sure that your ID is valid (meaning that it belongs to you, is not expired, and all information thereon is correct). Also, keep that ID at the ready! You will have to show it repeatedly, so don’t put it away.


5. Losing Your Boarding Pass

Along with your ID, you will have to show your boarding pass. There are stations at the airport where you can print your boarding pass, but why wait? If you’ve booked your flight in advance, you can likely print your boarding pass at home.

  • This gives you more time to relax and find your way around at the airport because you don’t have to wait in yet another line.


6. Not Knowing Where You’re Going

Once you have your boarding pass, it will show you where you need to be and when to be there. You will see all the information about your flight that you will ever need: flight number, seat location, departure date and time, arrival times, and more.

  • Keep this important item very close to you at all times. When you get to the airport, find the board of arrivals and departures to make sure that your flight is on time.
  • Also, check to make sure that the gate and/or terminal hasn’t changed.


7. Not Picking a Seat Location

              Seat location can be very important for some travelers. If you want the best view, you will want a window seat. For those of use who would rather not look down, you may want the aisle.

  • When you book your flight, you should be able to pick your seat for a slight fee.
  • If you’re the more adventurous type: You might wait and just see where you get seated. Just be aware that you could wind up with a middle seat, and who knows what passengers you’ll have on either side.


8. Underestimating the Importance of Timing

How long it takes to get through security will depend on several factors, so it’s best to arrive at the airport at least two hours early.

  • There will be a lot of people at the airport, and some are more difficult than others. Some people show up well prepared and breeze through security in 30 minutes or fewer.
  • Other people are vastly unprepared, won’t comply with directions, and barely make it through security before missing their flights.
  • You could be in line behind either of those people. For longer flights, you may even have to factor time for layovers, connecting flights, or an airport transfer.

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9. Not Calling the Bank

Any kind of travel definitely warrants a heads-up to your financial institution.

  • Without knowing that you’re out of town, your bank could deny your charges or even cancel your cards.
  • Be sure to carry cash on your person, too. There is a good possibility that some of the establishments you visit will be cash-only.
  • If you take a cab or public transportation, you will likely need bills and possibly even coins.
  • If you’ve arranged limo service, you’ll want cash to tip your driver.
  • For international travel, be sure to exchange some foreign currency before you go. Just make sure that you don’t exchange more than you’ll actually use.


10. Not Arranging Transportation

Odds are that you’ve spent weeks planning the perfect vacation. Don’t neglect to arrange for what comes between the journey and the destination.

  • Nothing can ruin a luxury travel experience like sitting and waiting for a ride indefinitely. Rather than wait hours for a shuttle or cab, you can make a reservation. Be sure to schedule an airport transfer service, so that your ride, whether a limousine or luxury car, will be ready when you are.

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The most important part of traveling is to have fun. The more you plan ahead, the more time you have to sit back and relax in the lap of luxury.

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Written By: Amber M. Smith 

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