TRAVEL TO SCOTLAND -The Journey
This is part 2 of the 3-part travel guide to remove the stress of traveling by knowing what to expect on your journey
I’ve written this for the reader who has never flown on an international flight. Knowing what to expect takes the stress out of the situation. For those of you who have traveled before you can just skip over those bits but you may still pick up some handy tips.
LAST MINUTE CHECKS BEFORE YOU HEAD TO THE AIRPORT
- Check you have your tickets and paperwork
- Check you have your chargers
- Check you have your contact details and itinerary
- Weigh your bags and make sure they are underweight.
- Make sure there is nothing in your carry-on luggage that will be confiscated.
- Make sure any liquids in your carry-on are under 100 ml and bagged in a ziplock bag.
AT THE AIRPORT
- I always opt to have my bag wrapped. It’s better for security but mainly to protect my bag. Last time I traveled it was $15. Most airports offer this service now.
- Ask for an upgrade, you never know
- If you have multiple stops confirm your luggage is checked to go right through to your final destination.
- Put your passport, ticket, and boarding pass away before you head away from the counter.
- They will tell you which gate you are leaving from
- Don't at any point leave your bags unattended
- You will need to remove anything that is going to make the metal detectors go off (best not to wear anything that will but if you do be prepared to remove them)
- If you are prepared you will get through quicker.
- Empty your pockets, phone, money, etc, and place contents in a tray or in your handbag. your shoes, belt, metal bracelets, etc in a tray
- Laptops, iPads, and kindles have to be taken out of their covers and placed in a tray.
- Make sure any liquids, aerosols, and gels are in containers of 100 ml or less and place them in a single transparent resealable plastic bag that has a capacity of no more than 1 liter (approximately 20 cm x 20 cm )
- Any layers of clothes ie jackets etc need to be removed.
- Boots and hard shoes or joggers need to be removed if you are asked. I always wear soft slip-on shoes which they usually let me leave on.
- If you have liquid medication that is larger than 100ml, have your prescription or Drs letter ready with the bottle.
- Water bottles need to be empty
- Most airports have security scanners now. Just follow the instructions you are given, but basically, you just walk in, and stand in the marked area with your arms out and legs apart.
- Randomly you may be asked to have a private search or an extra check, just follow the instructions they give you.
- Once you are through security you can fill your water bottle and just relax until your flight leaves.
- Check where your gate is on the departure board
- If you booked the airport lounge, head up there and enjoy the facilities until your flight leaves. There is a flight board in the lounge
- Remember if your luggage allowance is only 2 carry-on bags and you have a handbag, slip it into your carry-on, and you can remove it if you need to once you are onboard. If you don't some airlines will charge you at the gate or make you check the bag.
HOW TO MAKE THE TRIP MORE ENJOYABLE
- If the plane isn't full you can often change seats once the seatbelt sign goes off but usually, there is a rush and sometimes a fight over seats. I tend to stay put unless I have a couple of empty seats next to me.
- You can use a golf ball on the plane to roll under your feet for a foot massage
- Compression socks are recommended but I personally can't wear them
- Avoid the Bar- Alcohol dehydrates you and makes you more susceptible to illness. Try herbal tea instead—it helps you stay hydrated and soothes nerves.
- Have anything you will need in your backpack or handbag under the seat so it's easy to access. I take a book, some tissues, mints, a pen, earplugs, or noise-canceling headphones, a phone and charger, a power bank, mask, sanitizer & hand wipes, a jacket & a small refresh pack with a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, moisturizer, nail file, Panadol, lip balm, dry shampoo & perfume to freshen up at the end of the flight. It sounds like a lot but it all fits into a small cosmetics bag. Remember any liquids & gels need to go into the plastic bag at security.
- Take a travel pillow, one that clips to your bag is best so you don't lose it.
- If you can't get out of your seat easily make sure to do the feet and leg movements recommended to prevent possible DVT.
- Keep moving when waiting for the loo or just stay up for longer when finished.
- Drink lots of water. Aircraft air conditioning can mess up your skin and fluid levels, and knock your body out of its natural equilibrium.
- If you're planning to bring your own refillable water bottle make sure it's empty when you board! There are sure to be water coolers and taps to refill from.
- Always try to get straight into the time zone you're traveling to. So if you board at like 11 pm, but that will be daytime where you're headed, try to stay awake as long as possible watching movies or reading, etc, and sleep when it's nighttime in Scotland or wherever you are headed.
GETTING READY TO LAND
- When it's getting close to landing time, I head to the toilet and freshen up but don't leave it to the last minute as there is often a lineup.
- You can check the flight journey on the TV program which gives the journey flight time and expected arrival time. If you wait for the announcement there will be a lineup.
- Make sure you get the immigration forms if required and fill them out ready, they are moving to electronic soon, and in that case fill them out on your phone - Put your first hotel or accommodation as your contact address or your travel agent in that country if you have one.
- Make sure you have put everything back in your bag and nothing has dropped out.
- Make sure you have your passport, paperwork, and luggage tickets handy (you don’t usually need the luggage tickets but just to be sure.
- Make sure you have your landing card and fill it out while you are waiting.
- Once the seatbelt sign is off you can turn your phone back on if needed.
AT THE AIRPORT ON STOP OVERS
- Even if it is a stopover you have to take everything with you as you will be boarding a different plane for the next leg, your checked luggage will be transferred by the baggage handlers, you don't need to do anything about it.
- Lift your bag etc down from the overhead locker - be careful as things move during the flight and people just jam things in so open the door carefully and be prepared to catch falling items.
- Grab your bag etc from under the seat don't forget anything you may have put in the seat pocket.
- I usually sit and wait until most people have moved out as it does take a while to empty the plane but if you have limited time on a stopover I would try to get out when you can.
- If it's your destination stop then head to immigration, just follow the signs and the rest of the passengers.
- If you are waiting for a connecting flight sit near the lounges and you can often use their free wi-fi
- Have some snacks in your handbag for long stopovers
- If you have a really long stopover some airports have sleeping pods but I try to keep them as short as possible. Dubai and Singapore Airports have them, not sure about others. Make sure you set an alarm.
- Take tea bags, coffee sachets, and/or cup-a-soup packets as most lounges or shops will give you hot water for no cost. (If you like black tea or coffee)
- Apparently, if you roll the clock back on your laptop before your free hour is up you get extra time if you are on the 1-hour free airport wifi but I haven't tried this yet.
- Check the cost, but if you have a long stopover it's often worth paying for lounge access, you get free food and drink, can charge your phone, etc and it's a lot more comfortable. There is access to showers etc too. I usually do this when I depart as it's a couple of hours wait.
- The first bathroom in the airport is always the busiest, head to the next one
- If it’s a stopover then there should be arrival boards that tell you which gate to go to for your next flight. Some airports like Singapore are huge so you need to allow enough time to get from one terminal to another. They have an airport link train.
- If you have mobility issues you can ask to hop on an airport transfer which is basically a golf buggy and they will take you to your gate. Probably best to organize this before you leave though to be sure, some airlines request 48 hours' notice, you can ask when you check in to make sure it's been arranged.
- Basically head to your next gate and wait for boarding, you will need to show your passport and boarding passes again. Some countries do another security check some don’t so you may need to have your carry-on bags checked again.
- If you have an overnight stopover you will need to collect your baggage and go through customs and immigration. The next day you go through the same process again.
- If you have reached your final destination see part 3.