4 Must-Have Travel Tips for Beginners
by Michelle Chan
As a “self-proclaimed traveler,” I’ve come to realize the importance of actually traveling. Seeing as I’ve only really been out of the 'States twice in my life, I guess I wouldn’t call myself an active traveler—maybe an aspiring one but definitely not an active one. That being said, I’ve come across some tips and tricks to make a beginner’s trip a whole lot easier:
Pack an empty water bottle and snacks from home.
Regardless of what you’ve heard people say, bring some homemade snacks or even a sandwich on board with you. You don’t want to be spending a five hour flight famished with nothing but peanuts (sorry, if you’re allergic) and pretzels. Seriously. And if you’re worried about being forced to throw out your perfectly packed lunch at security, you don’t need to. You’re allowed to bring food with you past security and onboard, but no water bottles or liquids (besides the accepted amount). Although airports do have restaurants and what not, the take out from those places are pretty pricey. I once bought a sandwich for a whopping $17 (and it wasn’t really a good sandwich in the first place).
Arrive at the airport 2 or more hours early.
You’d think that security and checking in would be a breeze. It really isn’t. From waiting in long lines to having unexpected complications with your ticket, anything can happen that could delay you from reaching your boarding gate on time. Arriving two or more hours early will allow you time to sail through security and have enough time to buy a magazine or two for your flight. Plus, it saves you the panic and and anxiety that comes with missing your flight.
Be prepared for the security checkpoint.
No matter your destination, you will always have to go through security. And if you’ve ever traveled during travel season, you’ll know that it can be extremely hectic––especially during the summer months. Yet, security lines go by fast; they just want to check to make sure you aren’t harmful and aren’t carrying weapons of some sort and don’t really care if you forgot to get something out of your luggage. So, here’s what to do to avoid an embarrassing situation with holding up the line of tired travelers and annoying the security officer:
- Have your ticket and passport in hand. Even if you aren’t flying international, it’s good to have it just in case.
- Make sure you have any metal objects in hand, including belts, keys, your smart phone, watches, etc. You don’t want to set off that blaring alarm––it’s not fun.
- Pack items that abide by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). This means that liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces must be in a checked luggage and cannot be taken in your carry-on at all costs.
This will be your lifesaver if you get plane sick during take-off. When you ascend to higher altitudes, the pressure changes cause your inner ear to become blocked, causing your ears to feel plugged. Gum helps relieve the discomfort by equalizing the pressure, allowing you to feel a “popping” sensation.
I hope these tips will make your adventures much easier and give you a more relaxing start to your journey. Despite my lack of travel experience, I wholeheartedly believe that anyone can be a traveler—even if you haven't traveled out of state. You can be a traveler within a local city as well as a traveler of the world. No matter where you go or where you end up, I can guarantee you’ll find something new to explore. Happy traveling!