For the first time in my life, I had an opportunity for travelling abroad by myself through my job training at General Motors. It was unnerving at first, but as I secured my travel arrangements without a hitch there were a few takeaways that I learned for travelling in the future.
Six things I learned to do when travelling abroad
Double check your boarding pass
At the airport, security won’t validate your boarding pass if the name on your ID doesn’t completely match the information listed on your pass. Proofread your boarding pass and make sure that everything is spelled correctly. It’s a simple mistake that can make the difference between traveling abroad or spending hundreds of dollars to get stuck at the airport.
Arrive at the airport two hours early
This isn’t a suggestion, but a requirement. I showed up at the airport an hour early and assumed that because it was a Sunday, there wouldn’t be a lot of people leaving on flights. After checking my excess baggage in, getting my boarding ticket and clearing security, I had 15 minutes to board my plane about a mile away from the terminal. Don’t push it to the last minute. It’s better to sit and twiddle your thumbs rather than miss your fly time.
Don’t live in your carry on
While it might save $25 to cram all of your possessions into a carry on suitcase if you’re only travelling for a few days, it’s always easier to pay extra for the additional suitcase real-estate. Your clothes will appreciate the space and you won’t have to painstakingly remove the creases and crinkles of crammed pants and shirts.
Inspect the rental car for damages
It’s solely up to you to report any damages, dents and scratches on a rental car before you drive off the lot. The representative that I had marked that there were no damages on my rental sheet even though there were scratches on every part of the car. I quickly corrected the sheet with him before I left, but you’re responsible for anything wrong with the car upon turning it in. This includes damages that went unnoticed before you rented the car, even if you weren’t responsible for them.
Don’t forget the amenities
One mistake travelers make is assuming that hotels will provide basic amenities like shampoo and soap; make sure to bring your own when travelling abroad. Water should also be included on this list on the chance that your hotel uses well water.
Make brand new experiences
Because my trip is work-related this piece of advice carries more weight, but don’t sit in your hotel room the entire trip or go to places that you can visit at home. Go out, have some fun, visit awesome restaurants and make memories at great places that you can’t find elsewhere.
While this list was pretty simple, I hope that it helps anyone travelling abroad for the first time. Maybe I’ll have a more comprehensive one when I travel more often for work, but these are a few things that I learned on my flight to Minnesota on the weekend.