So, you’ve booked your airline tickets to your ultimate bucket-list destination and you’re counting down the days until you leave. But while preparing your Instagram feed to share your travels with the world, Desmond O’Connor, head of kulula holidays suggests a few steps to ensure hassle-free travels.
Get your name right on the booking: it seems almost too obvious to mention, but airlines have to abide by civil aviation authority regulations, so the name on the booking must conform closely to the name on the identity of the passenger. There’s a little leeway: spelling can differ, but not names. So if your name is spelled Kerry on the booking and Kerri on your ID, you’ll probably be allowed to board. But if your ID lists your first name as Richard but you’ve booked your ticket as Rick – because everyone calls you that – you’re likely to be prevented from boarding.
Check entry requirements: imagine that you’re flying to Paris via London. You check all the criteria and the evening that your flight leaves you arrive at the airport and aren’t allowed to board because you don’t have a transit visa. But I’m not visiting Britain, you exclaim. I’m just passing through. Those are the rules: even if you only spend a couple of hours at Heathrow Airport, you need a transit visa.
Check on your booking conditions: let’s say you’ve booked to fly to Mauritius in a fortnight and return home one sun-kissed week later. Fortune smiles on you and you find you’re able to leave four days earlier and spend a little more time in the island paradise. You cancel your original outward booking and pack extra sunscreen. A blissful week of seafood and watersports passes, and you head to the airport to fly home. To your dismay you find that your return flight was cancelled when you cancelled the original outbound flight. Moral of the story: check on whether changing one leg of your journey affects the other legs.
Get in the cloud before you fly: keep a list – and copies – of vital documents. Frequent travelers often have several copies of their passports, accommodation bookings and other important material. One hard-copy and another saved to the cloud so that even if they lose all their luggage, including the that which they’re carrying, they still can still access a copy. O’Connor’s tip: if you don’t have access to a printer when you check in online, take a picture of the booking code. You’ll need that and your surname to print your boarding-pass at a self-service kiosk at the airport.
Notify your bank about your international travels: credit-card fraud is a sad reality and banks will look for unusual activity on your accounts. If they don’t know you were planning to travel internationally they may freeze your account. The easiest solution? Go to the branch of your bank at the airport before you leave, says O’Connor. They may ask for your boarding-pass and ID and will clear your bank-card for international use.