You’ve booked the perfect honeymoon, and now you’re counting the days until you jet away to paradise! Then the nerves set in, this is your first time out of the country and you’re worried about what you should do, and what you shouldn’t do. How do I find my gate? Will I miss my flight? What can I carry on the plane? Who do I look for once I reach my destination? No worries, we’ve got some great tips for those “first-timers” on exactly what to expect and how to breeze through the trip with ease!
Tip #1 – If at all possible, leave yourself one day in between your wedding and departing for your honeymoon. Your wedding day will be filled with a range of emotions, which often leaves couples exhausted after a full day of festivities. Giving yourself that one day to just rest, sleep in and recoup will help your honeymoon trip get off to a more relaxed start!
Tip #2 – Book a hotel night at your departure airport for the evening prior to flying out. Many airport hotels have special “park and fly” packages that allow you to spend the night before you leave in a nearby hotel, shuttle you back and forth to the airport terminal, and include parking for your vehicle during the entire length of your trip. It’s a great way to minimize the stress of trying to make it to the airport on time! (Hint, we have special “park and fly” rates at many airport hotels across the country for our honeymoon couples!)
Tip # 3 – Sign up on your airline’s website for flight status notifications to be texted/emailed to you, that way you’ll be contacted regarding any flight delays, cancellation, gate changes, etc.
Tip #4 – Check in online 24 hours prior to your flight time. This confirms to the airline that you will indeed be showing up for your flight, and particularly with Southwest this is something you really need to do as you get assigned a boarding group and position at check in. Sometimes better seats will open up at 24 hours for other flights, so it’s always a good idea to check and see whats available.
Tip #5 – Arrive early to the airport, 2-3 hours prior to your flight time. Especially on high demand travel days (such as Friday-Sunday) and peak travel timeframes (such as holidays), there are typically long lines to check bags and get through security. You’ll save a lot of anxiety by arriving well in advance of your flight time and giving yourself a cushion in case of crowds. Also take note that your bags MUST be checked in to the airline no later than 1 hour prior to your flight time, or the airline can deny you boarding.
Tip #6 – Once you’ve checked your bags at the counter with an agent and received your boarding pass, head towards security. Make sure your liquids and gels are either 1) in containers that are 3.4 oz or less and stored in a clear 1 quart plastic bag (1 per person) or if they are larger you can just put them in your checked bag. You will need to take out your liquids and gels into a bin when going through security, as well as remove your shoes and taking out your laptop or tablet for separate screening in it’s own bin.
Tip #7 – Note your gate number (which is on your boarding pass) and check the airport monitors for any last minute gate changes.
Tip #8 – The plane will typically start to board 30-40 minutes in advance of departure. Make sure to have anything you need easy access to (travel documents, tablet, phone, charger, medicine, pen, etc) in your smaller carry on that goes under the seat in front of you, as certain points during your flight (especially takeoff and landing) you will not be allowed to get up from your seat.
Tip #9 – If you have a connecting flight, make sure you allow enough time (when booking your flight) to find your connecting gate without having to make a made dash thru the terminal. Some airports are so big that they have skytrains between points, so it’s also very helpful to take a look at the airport map in advance of your travel day to familiarize yourself with the terminal layout. Once at your connecting airport check the airport monitors to determine the gate number of your next flight.
Tip #10 – Fill out the immigration and customs forms given to you on the plane before you land (if you’re traveling to Mexico these can be completed and printed online before you leave home, ask me about it!). This will make a smoother process once you land.
Tip #11 – Once through immigration, retrieve any checked bags and proceed through customs. You’ll then find your transportation service that will whisk you away to your honeymoon hotel!
YOU’VE MADE IT……ENJOY YOUR HONEYMOON!