Traveling the globe is one of the most coveted pleasures that anyone can have. Many agree to the saying that the best gift that you can ever give yourself is the memories that you get from traveling around the world, experiencing what this beautiful planet has to offer.
The food, culture, fun and views you’ll sample give you more satisfaction than any material object that you can buy.
Are you planning to visit several locations around the world? Well, there are some things you need to know before embarking on globetrotting.
I teamed up with my good friend Fatma McCraig, a Kenyan air hostess working with a leading airline with HQ in the Middle East. Her Instagram life is basically an inspirational gallery through which she shares her day to day experiences on flights, at airports, shopping malls, coffee houses, walking parks and much more.
She is not only beautiful but hardworking, smart and visionary. By the time we were working on this piece, her next stop was to be Helsinki, Finland.
Fatma had loads to say about what you need to know about global travel. Here’s what you need to know:
For one, people overlook vaccine cards (Yellow Fever mainly) and some countries even in Africa as an African you can’t get in without. Also take note of the the expiry dates of documents. I just had a friend sent back because she did not realize that she had less than 3 months before her passport expires — yet she was just visiting the particular country for a weekend.
There’s “Visa shopping”, which some countries regard as a crime. Others are OK with it. For instance if you get a Schengen Visa it’s thought you can go to any EU country but for some countries like Switzerland, you are expected to to stay for at least 10 days before leaving especially if you got the Visa from them. Other countries are OK for you to use any port of entry.
So basically check all documents needed for each country because they vary. Research on each country’s immigration rules before travel.
Many people assume that their bags are safe in the cabin. I’ve had to get handbags for two ladies on two different flights from some guys that had stolen them when they were asleep.
It’s not known to many people that there are gangs that travel purposely to steal onboard. People reach their destinations and cannot find their bags and other important stuff. So never get onboard, have your drinks and sleep soundly. Beware of this.
I always feel that it is best to check the weather before hand, but I also get that wrong all the time. It could change any minute in some countries. However, because of the distinct seasons most locations have, it is easier to decide what to buy.
Always leave room for an impromptu purchase in case you need change — you can’t bring an entire closet to cover every ‘what if’.
Most times people check in all their warm stuff especially during the transit but fail to realize in case of any weather changes at a transit port they’ll be are stuck at the airport for an indefinite period. Most airports the air conditioning is pretty intense.
The gulf is notorious with that. It’s freezing in there and if one wasn’t ready, they’ll have to make an unforeseen purchase of a jacket.
For this, make sure that you’ve got extra cash for food. Y,es some airlines provide food with the ticket purchase but in case of long delays one needs to be able to buy a meal especially for kids. I’ve seen people come on board starving.
Have you ever taken a long flight for an awesome, much anticipated trip only to arrive nauseated, disoriented, forgetful, joint swelling and stiffness, exhausted, unable to sleep at night, can’t muster hunger at socially appropriate times or generally awful? Certainly not the vibe of a glamorous jet setter you had in mind while planning your trip.
Jet lag, which is basically a range of symptoms experienced while adapting to a different light-dark schedule after a flight to a new time zone, can be a serious downer the first few days of your international trip, and what makes it so jarring is that it happens all at once. Jet lag is common even among seasoned jet setters.
You can minimize the effects by sleeping well, get adequate hydration, avoid alcohol, do slight exercises like walking during flight, spend some time outdoors, among other things.
6. Choosing the best route
It’s cheaper to do connections. Multiple legs with the same airline or even with partner airlines are way cheaper especially for long trips. Anything under 6 hours — a direct flight makes sense — but I know people that do Nairobi, Addis Ababa, then Dubai just to get a little discount on the prize.
If the cost is not an issue then a direct flight is perfect.
That’s where the price of tickets and services offered vary. The higher rates the airline the better services and comfort compared to others. There are companies like Skytrax that rate airlines. If you consider their ratings when choosing an airline, you’ll know what kind of service to expect.
7. Airport transfer services
You need to ensure that you get to your destination safely and that your luggage is intact. There’s a website I love; Skyscanner. It deals with airport pickup and hotel transfers. Airlines handle baggage lost mostly unless it’s out of the airport.
Those backpacking for example or those that didn’t plan in advance… check out the metros or bus systems for thieves. The airport should have information desks about that.
With culture, I tell people, the minute you walk out of your house, it’s best to have an open mind when dealing with people. So being in a foreign country, it’s polite to try and understand that cultures are different; your way of expressing or seeing things is totally different and maybe learning a few things about the place you travel to isn’t so bad.
Lot’s of patience is required. It’s also good to keep opinions in check especially with food people eat or how they eat it. It’s easier to politely decline an offer than say how something that you have seen is unacceptable back home.
Like they say, when in Rome…do what the Romans do. Embrace new cultures, enjoy being there, try the food, learn a few words and about their beliefs.That’s the whole point of travelling I believe. People have stopped me in some cities to take photos with me. One place North of Italy in the mountains we were the only black people anyone there had ever seen when I went visiting a friend. That was super interesting!
Check out Fatma’s Instagram account and follow her for future snapshots of where she’ll be visiting. You never know, she might just be in your city next!
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