Recently my cousins embarked upon their first flights and International travel too. When I talked to them they were quite nervous about the whole trip.
“I’m scared I’ll forget to do something!! I’m unsure of what time we should show up, when we should check in after our overnight layovers, what things to pack and what not to, what I can pack in my carry-on for the overnight layover, if we booked online do I just get my boarding passes when I check in at the main desk? So many things! I realize that this will be so insignificant after we’ve done it. I thought I’d ask you, as you’ve been flying and cruising all over the world!”
I’m glad that they asked for help. I basically sent them the 101 to flying and some basics for traveling. I think there’s information here to help any beginner traveler.
First thing to remember, “You are going to be fine”. There are lots of signs along the way. There are also people willing to help you.
Always check the airline website for guidelines on baggage.
General rules though are things like:
- You can carry on one overnight/small suitcase each plus a small purse/laptop/back pack.
- Any other baggage that you check they will charge you, some airlines it’s $25 for the first & $35 for the second checked bag.
- Not sure though what AA’s fees are.
In your carry on:
- You can pack a zip log bag size package with as many 3 oz bottles of liquids (i.e. soap, shampoo, conditioner, gel, etc) that will fit and still seal.
- I recommend your make up, toothbrush and hairbrush.
In addition to those necessities, you’ll also want:
- Extra comfortable clothes, something to sleep in, swimsuit and summer attire for arrival at your destination…. as it will be hot in St. Lucia for sure.
- Some people also recommend a spare pair of shoes and a couple outfits in case your other bag doesn’t reach it’s destination at the same time you do.
RE the Airport:
They recommend 2 hours arrival and check in before your flight in order to ensure you are not in a panic if the line at security check point is super long. (Which I’ve seen go both ways at many airports.) They also recommend 3 hours for International flights.
Upon arrival, if you have not already checked in online from home, you can check yourself in and check your bag at the specific airlines counter. Go to the kiosk & enter either your credit card or type in your name to print your boarding passes. Then you will hand any luggage you intend to check to the agent. Some airports just weigh and then you take them to a separate TSA screening area.
The TSA sometimes goes through your bags after they are checked. Any size liquid is generally fine. I put mine in ziplock bags cause sometimes it squishes out…. once they start throwing your bags on planes, all your pretty packing goes down the tubes.
When you check in for your flight/drop off your bags, ask the attendant about how to handle the overnight layover. They may say you only have a few hours, so you’ll just hang in the airport. Most overnight flights I’ve had really just meant I was getting on a red eye plane between midnight and 6 am. If you decide to rent a room, be sure to be at the airport 2 hrs before your scheduled departure time.
Since your destination is International, you’ll want to do as much research online for details on your specific resort area. You’ll want to know if they provide a shuttle from the airport upon arrival. If not, you’ll need to hire a cab or public transportation to get there. What amenities are included at the resort and what’s the local color like. Traditions, historic sights, celebrations, ceremonies, I always try to pack as much local into my trips as I can.
You will probably be a bit tired once you get there because of all the flying. Don’t be surprised if either one of you gets a little grumpy along the way. Just remember, have fun!