Going abroad can be daunting, and to many, the flight is the scariest part. There are a lot of things that can go wrong before, during, and after an international flight. Many students are flying alone or internationally for the first time for semesters and years abroad. Here is what to expect on your first flight.
The paperwork starts months before the flight is even booked. First, most countries require everyone to show their passport upon entry. Anyone arriving without a passport will be turned away at immigration. That’s right, you can be denied entry after arriving in another country. Getting a new passport can take months, and often a visa is also necessary. Check the requirements for any country you plan to visit, as each will have a different procedure.
Anyone embarking in the United States will have to go through a longer security process. Remember not to bring any liquids, aerosols, or gels. Speed up your security check by wearing slip on shoes, and keeping the number of laptops, tablets, and smartphones to a minimum.
Long Flight Time
Most international flights are very long. Some last up to 16 hours. Many people get nauseous or anxious on planes, and would rather just sleep through the whole ordeal. Plan to sleep on the airplane as much as possible. Don’t eat anything that might upset the stomach, and stay away from coffee and other caffeinated drinks. On long flights, the flight crew will dim the cabin lights to encourage passengers to sleep. For those who can’t sleep, don’t be shy about getting up and walking around. It is healthy, and alleviates restlessness.
When the flight is nearly over, attendants will hand out customs forms. These should be filled out with the passenger information and any declarations of goods being brought into the country. At the final airport all passengers will proceed through immigration. A customs officer will check the form, as well as your passport and visa if necessary. There may be some questions about the length and purpose of your trip. This is normal, and you should be prepared with all your answers.
Leaving The Airport
Don’t assume that international airports will resemble local airports. Things like taxi regulation, Toronto airport limos, and bus schedules are different all around the world. Don’t count on simply finding transportation after arrival, especially late at night, or early in the morning. Be prepared and book transit beforehand. In many cities a car service is the best way to get to and from the airport. Many Airflight Services can be booked and prepaid online in English.
Though there are many hazards to going abroad, thousands of students do it each year. The majority have no problems, and return happy and healthy. Being prepared for your first time abroad will lessen the stress of that flight. Plan ahead as much as possible and lift off with peace of mind.