Saturday, August 1, 2015

Returning Home After Your Overseas Holiday – What to Expect

Packing to return home may be more of a problem if you purchased some souvenirs.  You may have to buy another bag to fit everything in.  This may also cost you a few dollars if you exceed your airline’s weight limit.  Check and double-check to make sure you packed everything.

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Re-confirm your flight and plan to arrive at the airport 3 hours before your flight is scheduled to take off.  Allow for traffic and make sure you know which terminal you are departing from.  Remember, some airports have more than one terminal.

Have your travel documents handy and make sure that you follow the current travel restrictions for luggage and carry-on.  These rules change regularly, so keep current.

You will have to clear Immigration/Customs after you check in.  This is a simple procedure but the lines can be quite long.  Have your passport, boarding pass, and departure card ready.  See if you have to pay a departure tax.

Now, you have time to kill.  I usually get a bite to eat and go shopping at the duty free shops.  Make sure you follow the rules for what you can bring back to your home country.

Depending on what country I am in, I will exchange the local currency into my home money.  If I know that I will be going back to the country in the near future, I don’t bother changing the currency.

I usually hang out near my gate and look for the smoking room. Most airports have a small, glass enclosed booth, for us social outcasts.

After being on vacation for a couple of weeks, you will most likely be tired and sleep for most of your flight.  This is a good start to the time zone changes and the jet lag you will suffer over the next day or so.  Drink plenty of water on the flight and avoid the alcohol.  Fill out your customs declaration and stick it in your passport.

When you land, follow the instructions to the Customs/immigration officers.  Wait your turn in line and get your passport stamped and a welcome back home.

Head for the luggage area and locate your suitcases.  Be careful – many bags look alike.  Tying an identifying colored ribbon before you depart will help you locate your bags.  Don’t open your bags – go straight to the Custom’s area.

If you are lucky, you will be told to follow the green line and move out.  If you are one of the chosen few, you will have to have your bags inspected.  Be polite, answer the questions, and, if you have nothing illegal or haven’t exceeded your legal limits, it will only take a few minutes to be checked.

That’s it.  You are now home and ready to start planning for your next overseas adventure.

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