5 things even frequent travellers have to double-check before travelling

Frequent travellers are sometimes your go-to person if you have any questions related to making your travel life easier. But while we'll often know things off by heart, every now again we have to just verify things before we give our advice.

Here's my list of 5 things which often leave me double checking my plans before I go about my ways.

Visa requirements

Unless you have constitutional rights to live and work in a country, e.g. an EU citizen in other EU countries, sudden changes in visa policies, whether officially one or not, do occur. Remember when Trump signed the executive order revoking ESTA rights at short notice to anyone who had visited certain countries?

The most annoying thing is many countries have variable application times, and sometimes they don't even have an embassy or consulate in your country which makes visa applications that much more difficult.

And if you get your timings wrong you might end up having to get a second passport to still allow you to travel while your other one is held at the consulate.

Not knowing what items to take out at security

Granted this one isn't so consequential. But frequent travellers often rely on muscle memory or the feeling of familiarity to go about their ways.

We should all know that liquids must be in containers of under 100ml and be in a clear plastic bag, but should you be taking that out of your bag and placing it in the tray separately? How about your laptop and its sleeve if you have one?

For instance at London Heathrow the laptop must come out, but here in Porto the laptop can stay in your back pack. Last time I flew through Amsterdam liquids could stay in your bag too.

Carry-on allowances for airlines

Most airlines offer a variation of 20-32kg of checked in luggage depending on whether you are an elite status holder in their airline or alliance equivalent, but the rules vary drastically for carry-on luggage, in all of size, quantity and weight. How strictly they monitor this also varies by airline and if you are travelling in a low-cost carrier then be warned they will probably eyeing everyone's baggage up for the next penalty charge.

For instance one of the most generous airlines for carry-on luggage, even in its cheapest fares, is British Airways (who even provide a bit of leeway) which allows up to 46kgs, while other national carriers such as KLM and Cathay Pacific give 12kg and 7kg respectively.

Daylight Savings Time

This weekend clocks changed in nearly all European countries, and could even spur a whole host of other permanent changes in two years' time.

But while EU countries adjust their times in the last Sunday of March and last Sunday of October, most of North America changes on the 2nd Sunday of March and first Sunday of November instead, creating a combined 3 week window of confusion if you are not careful. This is before you factor in a few US states and territories which do not follow daylight savings either.

In Australia there is a third schedule, the first in April and the first Sunday of October, with the exception of Queensland. Even its close neighbours New Zealand adjusts its hours on the last Sunday of September instead of October.

You would be forgiven if you get things right or wrong during these highly confusing months!

Non-stop vs direct flight

British Airways just announced a new route to to Dammam, and their press release mentioned this sentence:

The route will be the only direct flight from London and launch as a daily service via Bahrain.

While this may seem contradictory to most laypersons, as many people would have assumed this would be a non-stop flight instead, it is actually not. A direct flight can indeed have intermediate stops, usually a technical re-fuelling stop but many airlines will sell standalone so-called ‘5th freedom' tickets where a flight goes between two countries neither of which are the country of registration of the aircraft.

EVA Air's flight between London and Taipei is also marketed as ‘Direct', but makes a stop at Bangkok

Even within domestic USA many airlines take further liberties to link two flights with the same flight numbers even though you have to transfer onto a completely different aircraft in between. I personally think this should be banned.

Bottom Line

While frequent travellers will often know salient laws of the land and the rules of the sky, these above points will no-doubt trip up more people than usual

Do you have travel tips that even you, a frequent traveller, regularly get confused? Comment below!

About Tim

Tim is an engineer and a nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

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