You finally got your suitcase zipped-up, made it to the airport with minutes to spare before check-in closed, managed to get through security without being strip-searched, and had just enough time to buy water, a magazine, and some chocolate (I never fly without chocolate), before it was time to board.
Exhausted, you half-slept through the three movies you watched on your 9 1/2 hour flight, and you're feeling a bit disoriented — but you made it!
Well, if you do these eight things, you will have a seamless arrival and be ready to get your adventure started!
Arrive In Daylight
Try and time your flight so that you arrive during the day when business are open and there are lots of people around. It's safer if you are traveling along, and will also make exchanging money, getting to where you're staying, and finding something to eat A LOT easier.
Make Sure You Can Handle All Your Luggage
The best way to become a target when leaving the airport is looking like you are struggling with your bags. You don't want to be so focused on trying to lug your huge suitcase around that you forget a piece of luggage or, even worse, get something stolen. This is especially important if you are traveling solo.
Keep Your Valuables Close
Make sure your passport, cash, electronics, and any other valuables are well secured. The best time to be targeted by a pickpocket is when your guard is down because you are tired and disoriented from arriving in a new place after a long flight.
Pack A Paper Map
I know, we all have phones that will allow us to quickly look up our destination, but what happens if you don't have an international phone plan and there's no wifi? Or your phone dies? You should be able to purchase a paper map at your local bookstore or print one off before you leave.
Have A Place To Crash
I am definitely a fan of spontaneous travel (if I am going to multiple cities or countries during a trip, I often won't book ahead). But, as a rule, I always make sure I've booked a bed on my first night in a new place so that I have somewhere to crash as soon as I get off the plane.
Know How To Get To Where You Are Staying
Have the address of where you are going written down somewhere that is easily accessible so that you can show it to your cab driver, bus driver, or someone who you are asking for directions. This is especially important if you are visiting a country that has a language you are unfamiliar with. You don't want to mispronounce a street name and end up on the wrong side of the city!
Exchange Money Or Take Out Cash
If you didn't exchange money before you left home, make sure to hit the currency exchange or ATM before you leave. It's good to have some cash on-hand to pay a taxi, grab some street food, or whatever else comes up that you might need cash for. It can sometimes be hard to track down somewhere to get money when you leave the airport if you aren't familiar with the area.
Stop By The Info Booth Before You Leave The Airport
If you have any questions about your destination, find the info booth at the airport. Actually, even if you don't have any questions stop by the info booth at the airport! The people manning them are used to speaking to foreigners so will likely speak English, you'll be able to get a map if you don't have one yet, and there will probably be some other great publications that you can pick up with tips on spots to check out in the city.