Going out into the “real world” can twirl your stomach in a knot when entering as just a young college kid. Your parents can no longer fulfill your pocket Google. Who can answer all your life questions now? When it comes to traveling, many responsibilities arise. Some of you might have traveled with your parents or never even left the borders of your own home. When you take that first step alone, a new world reveals itself. Suddenly, everything changes when you carry your own responsibility. But don’t worry, we all take out first flight eventually. As soon as the pandemic comes to a halt and the travel ban is lifted, we want you to be more than prepared to take your first flight.
Keep reading for some key tips you need to know about traveling.
Never bought a ticket before? Honestly, this part requires the most thinking so let’s get it over with. First, enter the route and exact traveling dates on the website’s home page. Being flexible when selecting your days helps you in the future. Prices of flights change in relation to the time of day and the day of the week. As a result, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars.
You will want to take time to research different flights from various sites. Play with the website a little by selecting a few different airport locations, days and times. Spend the first day researching this information to get the best deal. Throughout the week, keep checking on the flight and record how the flight’s prices change. Within the month, the flight’s prices can upcharge or sell for less than they sold in the previous week.
This flight game can get a little tricky, so you must make sure to stay on your feet and read thoroughly. Flight attendants tempt you with luxury seats and fluffy pillows. Don’t let them win! Also, make sure to read the fine print before purchasing. Does the airline allow refundable tickets? Do you get a complimentary snack? Can you bring a carry-on? If so, what size? Each plane company hold their own rules, so make sure you know what you buy.
Stay smart about where you sit. Sometimes, airlines let you select your seat before the flight. If flying alone, I suggest getting a two-seater so you’re not surrounded by strangers. “I like to get an aisle seat to make leaving the plain easier once I’ve landed.” Ringling College of Art and Design Sophomore Fabian Gorka said. As soon as you purchase your ticket, search up the airline’s website and create an awards account. Using your reservation code, sign up and start collecting those miles. This gives you a rewarding feeling for spending all your hard-earned money.
Checking a bag costs a little extra you could spend somewhere else, like a new t-shit. Try a carry-on suitcase to save a few bucks. Recently, when flying to New York, I lost sixty dollars. Each passenger can typically bring a personal item and one carry-on. The size of the carry-on depends on the airline. I know, it looks extremely small. You can roll your clothes like a jelly roll to prevent wrinkles and fill less space. I promise if you stuff everything in there and sit on it, the bag will close.
Airlines have extremely important rules about what you can and can’t bring. But you really shouldn’t worry unless your profession consists of criminal activity or designing hair. If I left questions unanswered about specific objects to bring, look on the TSA website for more details. For my girls reading, sadly all liquids must remain in a quart-sized bag and weigh under 3 oz. You might struggle to get through the week. Hopefully, you find a CVS nearby.
Never forget your ID or passport for international traveling since you need it for security.
- Gum comes in handy on the plane; it helps your ears pop.
- Wear heavy clothes so you stay warm and take up less space in your bag.
- Hand sanitizer.
- A little book to read. Not all planes provide TVs, so entertain yourself in the old fashion way.
- Bring your earphones because they do not include them with the flight purchase.
- “SNACK ARE ESSENTIAL! I always bring snacks that are filling so I don’t have to spend money on food at the airport.” Florida Gulf Coast University Freshman, Ava Vilardi said.
- ID for security.
- Wet Wipes! Let’s stay clean.
- Extra set of clothes in case of lost checked bags. Even when you pay money, the airline staff might lose your bag. Just another reason to carry on.
Ready to Take off in 3, 2, 1…
Arrive there early. Plan to arrive at the airport two hours early for domestic flights and three when flying internationally. You might get distracted looking at all the pretty shops and buying food to feed your boredom. However, lines for security can get insanely longer than the lines at Disney World. If you do not arrive at the boarding gate on time, they will not wait for you. “No man left behind” does not apply here.
At first, the airport can feel very intimidating. Don’t worry, you watched Dora or Diego as a child, right? Time to put those skills to use. If you look up, there should hang big signs covering the ceiling. You just follow the arrows. Literally, the arrows point in the direction you need to go. If you look around, I bet you notice an old woman carrying a Florida bag with her reading glasses, squinting at one of these signs. If she can do it, you can do it.
Hopefully, you find yourself walking away from the checked baggage lines and walking toward your boarding gate. Eventually, you accidentally bump into security as quickly as you bump into your parents when you come home after curfew. You place all of your bags on the belt while your liquids, shoes and electronics go in their own separate bins. I suggest wearing shoes that you can easily slip on and off. The pressure to quickly repack everything feels like a scrambling task as security stares you down and the Jeopardy theme chimes in your head.
After these complicated processes, time to take a chill pill. You have all the time in the world for exploration until your plane leaves. However, use it wisely. “In airports, I play games with my family and start to download movies for the plane,” George Washington University freshman Ariana Aristimuño said.
Now you can find your gate, grab some food and chill out until your flight takes off!