November 27, 2014

Checklist for travelling to the USA & UK

Your flights and accommodation have been booked, visas organised and you've just got to pack and get on the plane. Travelling to the USA and UK in particular requires some extra planning, especially with their strict airport security protocols. Abigail Pires, Sure Travel Group Solutions Manager, a seasoned US & UK traveller, shares her top 10 checklist and travel tips…

1. Hand luggage allowances
Remember to pack anything liquid or gel over 100mls in your checked in luggage. These 100mls or less products then have to be placed in a transparent zip lock bag - you will be required to place the bag on the tray when going through security (especially in the USA). Also don’t forget, nothing sharp and no aerosols in your hand luggage.

2. Slip-on shoes
I would suggest wearing slip-on shoes if possible. You will have to take off all shoes and belts at the security points so easy to slip on and off shoes, and no belts, will make the process easier.

3. Charge those phones
NB!! When travelling to the US, your cell phone must be charged. Even if your phone is off you will be asked to switch it on, and you must have enough battery life to do so. You will not be let through if the phone won’t switch on.

4. Random checks
If you get stopped at customs and pulled out of the line, do not be alarmed. People selected at random are often pulled out of line by officials - they will take you to a room, ask a few questions, check your bags and that's all. Don't panic. It's a fairly common procedure.

5. Stay hydrated
You can buy water once you’ve gone through passport security; you will not be able to take any more than 100mls through security. Stay hydrated on the flight especially to the US - it's long!

6. Using your phone
If you want to make calls or use data, I would recommend you buy a £10 SIM card on arrival at London Heathrow. It will give you some data and let you make a few calls and its must cheaper than SA data roaming costs. You can buy SIMs for all types of phones at little self-service kiosks in the airport. I find Lyca Mobile the best.

7. Turn off your data
Remember to turn off data on your phone and use WiFi wherever you can; the exchange data costs are horrendous. Switch off cell and 3g data before you leave and call your cell phone provider to enable roaming.

8. Activate your credit card
Call your bank and activate your cards for international use before you leave. They will ask you when you are leaving and returning, and which countries you are visiting. If you don’t your card could be blocked for unauthorised/suspicious transactions when you try to use it. Not ideal when you’re standing in line needing to pay for something!

9. Check in online
Check in online for all your flights – this usually opens 24 hours before. Doing so ensures that you won’t be bumped off over-booked flights and will save you time at the airport.

10. Allow more time at the airport
Going through airports always takes much longer when you’re in a foreign country, especially in the USA and UK. Get there as early as you can to check in your bags, get through security, etc. Most airlines also have their own apps where you can check your flight times, if the plane’s delayed, etc. which is also very helpful.

What are your no-fail travel tips? Comment below and let us know.

Abigail absolutely loves to travel and is extremely passionate about the travel industry as well as technology. She loves all things digital and is a definite gadget girl! There is only one continent that she hasn’t been to yet, but her travel list is still very long! Her favourite destinations so far are Croatia, Italy, Portugal, the Azores and the USA (nothing beats the rides at Universal!).


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