10 Top Travelling Tips for First Time Flyers to the UK

So you’ve booked your flights to the UK or Europe?  Awesome!  For many, a trip to the UK is a once in a lifetime holiday.  And for others, it’s their first ever flight oversees! Be a savvy traveler and make sure you don’t make any first timer mistakes by following these top 10 tips!

1. Don’t miss out on selecting the best seat on your flight

With total flight time just under 24 hours, no one wants to get stuck sitting in a middle seat.  Many airlines flying from Australia to the UK allow you to pay a fee to select your seat.

Qantas charges $30 to select your seat, or $180 to select an exit row seat (a good investment for such a long flight, meaning you can stretch out and there’s no one in front of you who will lean back their seat).

Emirates and British Airways charge a similar amount of money for you to choose your seat. Before selecting your seat, check out the informative seat maps at Seatguru which include hints and tips for the best seats.

2. Update your in-flight meal choice in advance

If you are vegan or simply don’t feel like eating meat while travelling, rest assured that most international airlines will allow you to choose the types of meals you’d like to be served during your long flight to the UK.

Whether you’re following a specific diet or simply feel like having a little control over what you eat on board you can choose or pre-order your meal in the booking management section of the airline’s website you’re flying with. Qatar Airways for example provides the option directly at the time of booking and can cater for literally any dietary requirements.

Note that you’ll be able to choose a specific diet like ‘raw vegetarian meal’ and not the actual dish such as ‘Ok, I’m having a cheese soufflé with a roasted beetroot side’.

3. Pack up all the necessary to enjoy in-flight entertainment

Pack up your USB phone chargers, books or your favourite headphones to enjoy the wide selection of inflight entertainment.

Depending on the aircraft and airline you are flying with, be aware that you might not be able to use your standard 3.5mm headphones to watch a movie or listen to music through the in-flight entertainment system.

Although this varies, some airplanes offer dual plug earphones or even 3 prong jacks over standard 1 pin headphones. This is mostly due to the technical standards of the aircraft but you can contour this limitation by investing in an adaptor which will allow you to use your own headphone during in-flight entertainment.

4. Know your baggage allowance

Different airlines have different baggage allowances for your checked in and carry-on baggage.  Make sure to check the airline’s website, not just to make sure you’re not carrying too much, but in case you’ve underestimated your allowance.

The FareCompare website provides details for all of the world’s airlines.

5. Liquids and gels in your carry-on luggage

All international flights from Australia have restrictions on the quantity of liquids, aerosols and gels you can carry onboard.

Liquid, aerosol or gel items must be in containers of no more than 100ml.  All of the containers must fit into one transparent and re-sealable plastic bag (eg a snap-lock sandwich bag).  Containers that are larger than 100ml but only part filled are not allowed (for example a 200ml bottle of perfume that has less than 100ml in it will not be allowed).  This Australian Government website provides further details.

6. Check your passport expiry date

Make sure you have plenty of validity left in your passport.  Many countries require your passport expiry date to be no sooner than 6 months away.

7. Check your bank’s foreign transaction fees

Check if your bank charges foreign transaction fees for purchases on your credit card, or to withdraw cash from an ATM.  Some banks might charge $5 each time you withdraw money from a foreign ATM. You might find it better value to purchase a prepaid foreign currency card before you go.

8. Tell your bank about your travel plans

You should tell your bank about your travel plans as they might block your credit card, thinking it’s a fraudulent transaction taking place.

Many banks allow you to provide your travel details through their online banking or via their App.

9. Register your travel on the Australian Government Smart Traveler website

The Australian Government Smart Traveller website allows you to register your travel plans in case of an emergency.  That way people will know where you’re located and you can be contacted in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

10. Know how much it will cost to use your phone overseas

Don’t be one of “those” people who come back from a relaxing holiday only to be find out they’ve run up thousands of dollars in international roaming costs.

Turn data roaming off, and rely just on Wi-Fi in cafes and hotels.  The best solution is to purchase a local SIM card with data, calls and texts.  The UK and Europe SIM card from us provides a huge 12GB of high speed data, calls and texts, and you can use it in the UK as well as 34 European countries including France, Italy, Ireland, Germany and Spain.

Still have a question? Get in touch!