37 free Travel Hacks for international fliers

For many international visitors, not just to Namibia but globally, we would love to share our insider Tips to get the most out of your money to the value of each flight. Below are 37 of our personal best hacks needed to make your Airfare as comfortable as possible. Make sure to view the very last Video at the bottom of this Blog Post, some of the best Tips and Tricks are explained accordingly. Furthermore, this Blog Post is trying to cover the general Hacks available globally. Certain Airlines or countries might not carry value for our advice presented here. One of the biggest Problems which should be taken into account is Point No.21. Ignoring Point No.21 is the most frequent and also the most expensive one hence one will have to buy new Flight tickets in order to be allowed travelling on the next day, should you travel back home to collect the required documents(!). Plus, if you have a strict Safari itinerary your entire booking plan is subject to failure. So your Travel Agents will have to shift each accommodation by a day (or more) without any return for your funds which have been paid in advance. Almost no Lodge or Hotel will give you a refund on a “one-day” in advance notice.

     + So without further due, here we go:

  1. Check all flights properly. In our experience, many get to save a lot of money by booking two one-way flights instead of a flight round-trip.
  2. In case of an emergency, always be aware of the fact that you have a 24-hour period for a refund.
  3. Almost all airlines offer a Booking-App making your check-in a lot easier. Some famous airlines always causing turmoil are AirNamibia and Ukranian Airways. The counters of these specific airlines always have a long line in front of the check-in counter. Nevertheless, being top Airlines the counters need some upgrade with the management of their check-in counters. By checking in via the App one can simply drop off the luggage at the Business Class counter where the line is mostly not present.
  4. Avoid Jet-Lag by adjusting your meals and sleep hours accordingly before embarking. Especially on flights which include long hours of transit periods.
  5. Products like Red Bull, Coffee, heavily processed foods, greasy foods, sugary Soft Drinks or similar will dehydrate you, so with making your Jet-Lag even worse. Have some water or a real fruit smoothie which will make things a lot easier to cope with.
  6. Ordering meals at the Airport which are less favoured will most of the time get you served a lot faster (eg. Vegetarian, Halaal etc.). This comes in handy when in a rush and want to grab a quick snack/meal.
  7. Most forgotten items include Cellphone charger, prescription glasses or sunglasses and the famous Laptop mouse. Keep these in the back of your mind!
  8. Never lose your luggage check-in number. Bags get misplaced or forgotten more often than you think, especially when travelling through transits.
  9. Make sure your bag is tagged with your Name and contact details. Should you wrap your bag, ensure that your tag is visible and easily accessible and readable. If you have a messy handwriting we guarantee that in the unfortunate event of the misplaced/late luggage will take a lot longer or not show up at all. Especially in countries which aren’t managing things on the European alphabet (eg. China).
  10. Whoever takes you to the Airport, ensure that they arrive early in order to avoid the line in front of the check-in counter. In our experience, we had situations of power outages at diverse Airports where every flight ticket had to be written by hand.
  11. If possible, wrap your luggage. Getting access to your gear is easily accessible by thieves working inside the loading area.
  12. Keep the most expensive belongings inside your hand baggage. Remember, no liquids allowed inside hand baggage, valid for all airlines.
  13. If you bring souvenirs of liquid nature (eg. Wine) while returning home, pack them in the middle of your bag to avoid breakage.
  14. Behave when on the flight. Should you cause problems on a flight because you are in a bad mood or drunk expect to be collected from the Airport Police once on arrival. So if you think you are someone special and try to change seats from the economy class to the business class, guaranteed you will be held accountable for it. Officers will enter the Airplane before anyone embarks, even in Namibia… with hand-cuffs. If you are supposed or sitting in the back of the Airplane you will take the walk of shame down the Airplane lane with the Airport Security while all eyes are on you. (please view the last Video at the end of this Blog Post)
  15. If you need specific medication, ensure to pack enough supply. Nothing creates a bigger headache when in search for specific medicine needed inside a foreign country. The Pharmaceutical Industries often vary from country to country. Also remember to pack them accordingly, especially when in liquid form. Big reminder for individuals with thrombosis. Watch this very clear and short video below!
  16. To get a chance for a Seat upgrade, try to Book an economy seat with a Standard or Budget listing (some Airlines listed as Y or B) in the case of an overbooking option. (view last Video below for more Information)
  17. Save money on international calls when calling your loved ones by sending Whatsapp voicemails. Especially if you don’t have a SIM Card yet, once upon arrival.
  18. Many airlines or travel agents offer stop-overs to avoid transit hangouts. If you have time this is a nice one to broaden your horizon by spending a couple of days at the specific locations. Take some photos! Also, very important is to speak to your Travel Agent just to ensure everything is in order in regards to VISA’s, Passports etc.
  19. Always remember that your Passport has a valid VISA and has a decent expiry date exceeding a minimum of three Months. Also, make sure that your Passport is in proper condition. If the Passport Control gets a worn-out Passport which gives the impression that it has been “fumbled” with, entry into your country of destination could be declined.
  20. Some Airports give you the offer to buy a ticket for a “hang-out Lounge”. This is recommended for long transit periods or early arrivals at Airports. A good insider for long flights!
  21. The biggest Problem these days is travelling with children. Due to the increasing global human-trafficking issue many Airline Company’s requests a birth certificate once checking-in. Qatar and Emirates are some Airlines who are stone cold and very harsh on these rules. We met many people who where declined their check-in without the proof of these documents. So if travelling with children below 12 – sometimes16 years of age it is a very high matter which to pay attention to. (see Video below)
  22. Try to exchange some of your currency at your local Bank with a currency exchange. Although many Airports have diverse currency exchange Banks on site, the chance that they might be closed (especially when arriving late at night), sold out or have a huge line in front of the counter. Worth mentioning is that you could get a much better exchange rate at your local Bank so with giving you more “bang for your buck” and one could save a lot of time and stress. Research ahead of time on the exchange! A good one is http://www.xe.com …
  23. Prepare your Documents! Always pack a print-out of your Hotel/Guesthouse bookings should you book via an Online-Portal. Many Hotel Bookings get cancelled when a guest doesn’t arrive at Hotel check-in times. You need to show the proof on arriving, especially should you arrive late in the evening. Remember, if you disembark at eg. 23:40 it could still take you another 45min. with a Taxi to reach your Hotel. Many Hotels do not take this in to account making things somewhat difficult for travellers not using a Travel Agent. A cancellation received from diverse Online Booking Platforms will hence often get cancelled without prior notice. So a print-out of your Online Booking Platform could save your stay over.
  24. If you travel by yourself, share your Booking Print-Outs with a family member or a loved one. In a worst case scenario, it could happen that your luggage gets lost or stuck in transit. In such a scenario you can at least contact a family member who has the information which you need (eg. Street Name, Hotel Name, Suburb, Booking Number). Should you visit a country where you are not a master of the countries official language you could have a serious problem (eg. China, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi, Punjabi, Japanese etc.). So coming prepared is recommended! How else will you tell your Taxi Driver where to go?
  25. In regards to catching a Tube or the Rail, personally avoid booking Train tickets ahead of time. We are very serious about this one! It came to our attention that many Rail-Road tickets have been rejected because they do not conform to Rail-Ticket numbers provided. On getting Rail-Tickets we personally recommend getting them on site. Many Travel Agents have big problems with rejections on pre-booked Rail-Tickets taking one from the Airport to the City of destination. This, however, is not true for visitors embarking on a multiple days Rail-Road vacation (which are not available at the Airport but only at Rail Company offering the experience).
  26. If you get offered the choice, try to get a flight on a 767. They offer more space inside the economy class. Good if you want to stretch your legs in an unoccupied middle row.
  27. Pack your bag with thought behind it. Leave some free packaging space for souvenirs which you love to bring back home. Use space wisely by eg. stuffing your socks inside your shoes. If you pack your Koffer to the brim, guaranteed you will leave some things behind just to get your material memories (eg. Souvenirs or Curios) back home. Pack lightly! (see video below)
  28. Don’t take the first Taxi driver! The best example is Dubai, UAE. Take your time and speak with Taxi drivers. Often the first Taxi Driver approaching you will lead you directly to the VIP-Taxi’s costing you double. Also in our experience, should you travel to Germany, if your Hotel is close by with a short distance from the Airport many Drivers will curse you because of the short ride. This is because the German Taxies follow a “waiting-in-line” customer acceptance system. Many wait for hours in line to be allowed to take the next visitors to their destination. If the ride has a fare of only 10 Euro’s the driver might harbour resentment. So take note!
  29. If travelling with Sports Gear, many Airlines sell a surplus weight licence sometimes up to 85kg(!). Just ensure that your licence is valid for all Airlines should you change Airline Company’s while in Transit. If this is not cleared with proper Documents expect to pay extra at the Check-In counter (which is not cheap). Recommended is to check-in your Snowboard, camping equipment or Surfing Gear directly within the transit luggage handling.
  30. Always pack your own Bag, unless you seriously trust the person packing your Bag(s).
  31. If you have booked a rental Vehicle, please be aware of these facts stated in one of our past Blog Post’s regarding AA-International Driving Permits (click for Info).
  32. Pack your own headphones. The headphones provided by most Airlines often have a poor sound quality or are sometimes literally rubbish. You don’t want to spoil your entertainment when on a 14-hour flight. (please view the last Video at end of this Blog Post, – some of you will be up for a surprise)
  33. Always pack your own Pen! Many Airports require you to fill in diverse forms. Don’t rely on available pens at every Airport. You will just extend your time wasted throughout the Passport Control procedure.
  34. If possible, avoid packing natural products like meats, seeds, animal products (furs, taxidermy etc.), botanical products or similar. Most liqueurs or tobaccos are fine but unprocessed natural products are always an issue subjected to a fine. Some of the most hardcore Airports adhering to this rule are Australia and New Zealand.
  35. Know how much Cash you are carrying on you. Many Airports require you to state the exact amount brought in by international visitors. If you are being caught with a stack of bills which haven’t been declared, expect consequences.
  36. Arrive fresh! Nothing worse when sitting next to someone who is sweaty and who just came out of a Pub. The Airline reserves the right to remove you accordingly should a complain be listed regarding your personal hygiene.
  37. Always be kind and humble towards the Airplane Staff! Chance is that they will be at your service notably faster on request. Your good behaviour will be noted, especially if you are a frequent flier making use of specific Airline Companys.

The image on top of Blog Post by Airport Terminal Operations Ltd – Mauritius

Videos linked via youtube.com

• Read our past Blog Post on European Driving Licence’s within Namibia

• Read our past Blog Post on Namibian Border crossing via a rental Vehicle