16 mistakes every first-time flyer makes (2023)

Congratulations, you have booked your first flight! Give yourself a pat on the back, because there are only a few steps left to the seamless flight experience. If you're like most people, exploring something new—like the cabin of an airplane—can be daunting. While not every first-time flyer confuses the emergency exit with the bathroom, there are some common mistakes that newcomers often make. Luckily, these mistakes are easy to avoid once you know about them.

Forgot to book a specific seat

If you prefer aisles or windows to center seats with restricted reclining, be sure to choose your seat well in advance. If you forgot or did not have the opportunity to select a seat when purchasing your ticket, log on to the airline's website as soon as possible. Then use SeatGuru's seating maps to help you choose a seat that's right for you. Don't see a place you love? Log into the ExpertFlyer website, which can notify you when the seat of your choice becomes available and you can go online and book it.

Pack too much

The general rule when packing for a trip is that you don't need as much as you think you need. we have a handy dandypacking listto make sure you don't overthink it.

Provided your hand luggage is the right size

Different rules apply to domestic and international travelcarry-on baggagesizes. Before you head to the airport with your carefully packed bag, make sure your bag is approved as carry-on baggage and check your airline's size restrictions before you leave home.

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Pack large liquids in hand luggage

If you're not checking a bag, remember that carry-on liquids, gels, and aerosols are 3.4 fluid ounces or less and must fit in a quart-sized clear bag. Visit 3floz.com to find mini TSA approved versions from more than 60 brands.

Forgot to check your passport expiry date

There's nothing quite like the panic that ensues when you book an impromptu vacation and realize your passport has expired — or don't realize you and your child need a passport to visit Canada or Mexico. On top of that, some countries won't allow you to travel within six months of your passport's expiration date if you're taking an extra long vacation and want to make sure you have a valid passport for your return trip to the United States. In short, it never hurts to check your passport's expiry date and renew it if necessary before your next big trip. Also, don't forget that state IDs may not be valid for travel under TSA rules (check here).

Don't double check your itinerary

Traveling between time zones or around the world can be confusing. That's why it's always worth taking a tip from Santa and making a list and double-checking it. Go through your itinerary, confirm your airport (Have you booked Heathrow or Gatwick? JFK or Newark?), your connection times (How long does it take to get to the train station? What time zone is that?) and your plane tickets. including whether or not your name is spelled correctly on your documents.

As you work your way through the list, confirm your reservations for everything from hotels, flights, trains, buses and tour groups.

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Get lost when you're on a tight schedule

First of all, with the right attitude, getting lost while traveling can be fun. A wrong turn can lead you to a new beach, a new restaurant, or a neighborhood you would never have discovered otherwise. However, if getting lost or meeting an appointment is stressing you out, don't forget to pack cards, take your hotel's business card with you so you can have the taxi driver's address handy, and set a reminder that you can do this Use Google Maps offline. If you have access to Wi-Fi, record your route and either take a screenshot of a map or download it to Google Maps offline mode, which allows you to use the map but not the data. Speaking of phones...

Regardless of your phone plan

Before leaving the country, go online or call your service provider to purchase data roaming and an international calling plan. If you don't want to use your phone when traveling abroad, turn off data roaming on your phone or risk a hefty phone bill. Downloadtravel appsbefore your trip and use it when you are on the hotel wifi.

Exchanging too much money before the trip

It's a good idea to have some local currency on hand when you land, but don't overdo it. Too much cash leads to disaster if stolen or lost. Figure out your budget and get some cash from your bank or airport ATM. If you run out of cash, you can easily get cash from a local bank or ATM in most countries.

Forgot to tell your bank about holiday plans

There are few things more frustrating than having your credit card blocked while on vacation because your bank thinks your card has been stolen. Before you leave, inform your credit card company's fraud department that you are leaving the country.

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While on the phone with your credit card company, ask them to send you a credit card with a chip (if you don't already have one). While most places can still swipe your card's magnetic stripe, many countries rely on chip technology for things like ticket machines, gas stations, and grocery shopping. A chip card option can make your life easier when travelling.

Waiver of credit cards

Travel history used to be about sticking to cash (or traveller's checks) when traveling. Today, the best exchange rates are often found using your credit card. If the seller asks if you want the fee to be in dollars or local currency, always choose local currency as you will usually get a better rate.

However, look for a credit card that doesn't have high fees for foreign transactions. Opt for cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Platinum American Express, which don't incur this fee.

Wear uncomfortable shoes

Vacation is not the time to break in a new pair of kicks. trust us But if you have some time before your trip, we recommend you break in one of theseproven comfortable pairs.


skip research

Free-form vacations can be a lot of fun, but even if you're traveling spontaneously with no itinerary and just want to see where the day takes you, spend a few minutes Googling some basics. Researchhow to hail a taxistudy who you areshould tiltand the acceptable tipping percentage in the country you are visiting, and find at least one good restaurant and must-see historical site.


Many of us take ridiculously short vacations, which means we have to pack a lot of sightseeing, culture, dining, and relaxation into an incredibly short amount of time. To maximize vacation time, we study travel guides to create detailed itineraries. That can mean packed days that leave you wiped out. Leave some space in your schedule to sit back and relax, or you might end up needing a vacation from your vacation.

Play it safe

You're on vacation, so embrace your destination. Try new foods, talk to the locals, explore your surroundings, and immerse yourself in your new surroundings.


Follow Douglas Adams' adviceThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "The most important thing for a traveler to remember, whether traveling through time and space or just to Cleveland, is this: don't panic." Things happen incredible both at home and on the road and during missed connections, lost train tickets or disappearing hotel reservations can be frustrating, panic will not help. Keep your cool and by the end of the day you'll probably have a great story to tell.



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