Continued from Part 2
Chapter 4: Review
A day before your actual start date, you should review your entire plan one more time. Make sure dates are matching on all your bookings(flight tickets/bus tickets/ hotel vouchers) as per your plan. Also read about custom rules of the specific country and make sure you are not carrying something in your luggage which is not permitted. Custom rules define what items can be brought into country, in what quantity, currency allowed to be brought in and list of banned items. This is very important and may get you in trouble at customs even you accidentally carrying an item not allowed as per rules. e.g. In Singapore you are not allowed to carry Chewing Gum unless it’s for medical reason and have a prescription. Each country may have a different list of banned objects so better to review rules ones. Also read about the power sockets used in that country and check if you need to carry an adapter. Different countries operate at different volts of powers so you might need a plug adapter to make your devices work.
Chapter 5 : The Actual Journey
All your preparation has finally paid off and you are ready to start. Its time to embark on your journey and your starting point is your home. In India, airlines advice to reach the airport 3 hours before departure time. Though it sounds a bit too early but I would do that to have some buffer time and avoid taking any risk. After all you have spent so much time, money and energy in planning the trip so you don’t want to risk your trip for the sake of saving an hour. Start early from your home so that you reach the airport in time. Make sure you know where is the international terminal is located in the city and you book your cab/bus for the correct terminal.
After reaching airport the first step is similar to domestic travel which is to get boarding passes from the counter and check in the luggage. You will be provided with an immigration-form on the counter and if not then ask from where you can get it. This is a small form where you need to fill up details of your travel like flight number along with your passport detail to be submitted at immigration counter. After collecting boarding passes and filling up the immigration form, move towards immigration counters. You should have your passport, print out of e-visa (if applicable), your return flight ticket copy and any other supporting document with you. Immigration officer will ask for your passport and check purpose of your visit. Answer his questions confidently but politely. Remember even if traveling in group, its good if all passengers know the basic things like purpose of travel, destination city and return date. Officer would stamp your passport with departure date and return it. If you are carrying an expensive item like a camera(specially SLR)/laptop with you then either carry the bill of purchase with you or you can declare it at the custom counter nearby and get a receipt which is a proof that you have purchased it in India. This is a necessary step so that when you return if asked at custom, you can show the receipt that you had it while leaving and didn’t purchase outside, else you may be asked to pay custom duty for import.
Next step is to go through the security check similar to domestic travel and then you can proceed towards boarding gates. In between you will see a duty-free section where you can purchase certain items like liquor/cigarettes/chocolates. If you want to purchase just for yourself then skip shopping while departing and buy it while you return back. You will get duty-free section on your arrival as well. After reaching correct boarding gate relax, sit back and wait for boarding to start.
Once you are at destination you will have to go through immigration again where your passport will be stamped with arrival date. In your flight you should get an arrival card else it will be available near immigration counter. Fill in the form and have it ready along with your passport. At immigration you again might be asked for return flight ticket, purpose of your visit and duration of stay. If they provide you an arrival card, store it carefully as you will have to return it when leaving and may cause issues in case you lose it. After clearing immigration you can proceed towards baggage claim. Before exit you will see two gates of custom – red and green channels. If you have nothing to declare to custom then you can go via green channel. Before leaving via exit gate you can find various counters for currency exchange, local SIM card and tourist travel card (for public transport) as applicable in various countries. You will also find a tourist help counter at most of the places. You can ask your queries like cheapest way to reach your destination here and staff would assist you.
After exiting you are ready to explore your destination as per your plan. Once your trip is over you will need to follow the reverse process. After collecting boarding passes, proceed towards immigration with your passport, boarding pass and arrival card (if applicable). After returning back you will need to go through immigration again to have your return date stamped and whoa you are back to your country.
This bring us to the end of the guide. I hope this quick guide is useful for first time international travelers. If you have any specific questions then let me know and I would try to answer that.