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Labo Daniel: Travelling On Holiday? Check Out These Tips For Smooth & Easy Transit

Labo Daniel

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In the spirit of the holiday season, I have put together great tit bits I discovered and learnt across four continents that will come in handy whether your destination is Abuja or Abu Dhabi… going on a family trip or you’re a business traveller.

Comfort & Style
There’s always the argument of comfort over style when choosing the right outfit for travel, most especially for long haul flights. T-shirts and Jeans are comfortable but so are maxi dresses. Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds.

The Ease of the National Carrier
More often than not, you’re better off flying with your destination country’s national carrier. You get faster immigration service, fancier terminals and various other preferential treatments.  I arrived Johannesburg the day of the yellow card saga but had no issues because, you guessed right, I flew with the national carrier.

Bag Accidents Down the Aisle
When walking down the airplane aisle, please keep your bags in check. You’re the one moving while the other passengers are sitting still. My head has been knocked by a couple of wandering bags in the past and it could have been prevented.

Keep It Moving
When you see your best friend, smile, grin or even exclaim but please keep it moving. Stopping to chat is rude, there are several other passengers behind you. After take-off, you have all the time in the world to chit chat.

Spot the Window or Aisle Seat
To locate your aisle or window seat, please note that the alphabet with the diagram of a window right next to it is the window seat while the alphabet of the aisle seat has a human image next to it. I always thought this was apparent but there have been one too many fights on this issue that has left me wondering.

Long Legs, No Cramps
If you have long legs, request for “exit” seats. This seating area gives you ample room to stretch. Of course you know this choice of seat comes with its own responsibilities in the event of a plane crash. Do I hear an ‘I reject it?’ (Amen)

Keeping An Eye on Hand Luggage
Now, this one is  my dear little secret. I never put my bags in the overhead locker above my seat, never! I always put them in the locker opposite me because I need to monitor every activity that goes on where my bags are located and when it’s in the locker over my head, that’s impossible. Now that we have “air robbers” , I advise you follow suit.

My Arm Rest is Mine!
Your eligible arm rest by default, is the one with your adjustable seat button and control panel attached to it. PS to the passengers who have the window seats: Haba! Have mercy on the passenger beside you now.  How can you have window seat and also want to use two arm rests.

Frozen Butter
If you love soft butter spread on bread like I do, you’ll find the frozen butter given to you on flights annoying. To melt your butter, put it under your hot “main meal” and leave for 2 minutes. The result…. nice melted butter just the way I like it. This also works well for hard bread.

Toilet Breaks without Disturbing Your Neighbour
A sure way to exit your seat without disturbing the sleeping passenger next to you is to take a leap facing the passenger, not backing them. This way you can match your body movement while watching out for theirs. Warning: If you know you have a condition that causes you to visit the rest room frequently, an aisle seat is your best option (besides, you never look out the window anyway).

No Luggage Stowaways For Connecting Flights
If you have a connecting flight and need to disembark from the plane as soon as it lands, never let the air hostess store anything away for you else, you may be the last to leave, causing you to miss your connecting flight.

Be Aware of the Immigration Policies
Always ensure you read the immigration policies of your travel destination no matter how frequently you travel. Kenya for example just reviewed their visa policy to include an online visa application 10 days before travel and Uganda has reviewed their visa fees upwards to $100.

…And Custom Laws
The previous point also applies to custom laws (In this case you can even print it sef) The officers sometimes forget their own rules. Bans are made and lifted from time to time on several items but these items are still confiscated by the officers because they aren’t up to date on their own laws. I’ve been to a few countries and my bags have never been checked. It probably has something to do with the confidence I exude, having read (and even printed on some occasions…yes, I get time o) the custom laws and assured that I’m packed within my rights.

Something Extra to Wear
Make sure you have an extra outfit or two in your hand luggage in the event that your checked in bags don’t arrive your destination with you. I wore the same dress to a workshop in Moshi for two days because of this oversight. That town is centered around tourist Kilimanjaro mountain climbers so shopping for clothes was more challenging than climbing the mountain.

Be Familiar with Local Lingo
Learn a little bit of the local language, you’d be amazed at how a simple ni hao  will make the difference. Actually, you need to do better than that for bargain shopping in Shanghai though, but jambo in Nairobi will suffice at the Masai market.

Available Information
When you need information on tourist attractions, restaurants or the most economical transport services, avoid asking the concierge for recommendations. Hotels get commissions on bookings, making them less objective. Most major cities have travel websites with information on every tourist attraction available and of course you can get reviews from fellow travellers on Trip advisor. Alternatively, you can use Google blog search to find bloggers in whatever city you’re visiting who are experts on their resident cities and contact them for recommendations.

Back up Money
Always ensure you have a back-up credit card, cash or any other form of currency. I almost got stranded on my first solo trip to a city in the  middle-east due to issues with my card. For the first time in my life I was in a city where I had no family, friends or even work colleagues and this happened?  *insert bewildered face smiley*.  I would have been toast  if the issue was not resolved in 24 hrs.

Get Out of Your Food Comfort Zone
Stay away from your regular food as much as possible. This is a holiday, be adventurous. Don’t go looking for Nigerian restaurants on the first day. Eat with the locals, taste a bit of everything. You’ll find great intercontinental dishes when you travel to melting pot cities. The best Roti and lamb curry I ever tasted was in Toronto. The best chicken and corn soup was in Amsterdam and my best Belgian waffles was in London. I must admit, the best jollof rice I ever tasted was in London sha! So again, a little bit of everything…including Nigerian cuisine.

Sling Bag
It’s summer (In most countries at least) so a sling bag and sun glasses for your trip are non-negotiables. A hand bag is a no no for tourists. It gets in the way…a lot.

Experience the City
Relax! Don’t fill your calendar with too much activity. Go for an early morning run, sit in the park, make friends at the local pub, watch rush hour traffic, stroll through unique alleyways, get lost, watch the sun set. Essentially experience the city in it’s full glory.

Be Prepared
You never know who you’ll sit next to you on the plane. On an eight hour flight last November, I was sandwiched between a middle aged Trinidadian and Palestinian. We talked about everything… Ebola, Boko Haram, Fela’s music, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Obama’s score card, Christine Lagarde, ISIS, Arsene Wenger and on and on we went for over 5 hours. It’s my best flight till date and we have since remained friends. I’ve even  had a business referral from one of them. Broaden your horizon, learn  about everything from current affairs to tech, enough to enable you have an engaging view point worth listening to.   Oh! And by the way, did you know Donald trump jr flies commercial?  So don’t forget to prepare your 2 minute business  pitch; as you could bump into a billionaire or his son.

I hope the tips were helpful. Do you have any tips we can  also learn from? Have a great holiday and don’t forget to “bring something for me o!” You have my email up there so no excuses.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Stephen Coburn 

Labo Daniel’s quest for knowledge and adaptability to new and diverse environments has seen her transition from capitalism through everything in between to socialism and most recently, she acts as a gate keeper between both worlds. She has a penchant for discussing social issues as an avenue for finding inclusive lasting solutions. She can be reached at [email protected]

32 Comments

  1. Abena

    July 15, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Very practical article,i had smiles all the way thru..You make me wish to have lots of money and go traveling to all my favorite countries…..

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks Abena, you just put a smile on my face too. 🙂

  2. ugo

    July 15, 2015 at 11:57 am

    This article is everything . You literally covered every area. I totally agree on the extra clothing but more because i have two toddlers and a lot of vomiting incidents.

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks Ugo. You may want to pack an extra outfit for yourself too in the future, just in case.

  3. ada

    July 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Nice one!

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks Ada

  4. MissDodo

    July 15, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    the extra clothing, back up money and the sling bag … absolutely on point. Now all i want to do is travel *sigh*. lol

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      So go ahead and travel 🙂

  5. Menoword

    July 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I almost froze once on a flight because I was very poorly prepared. The air hostess very kindly gave me a bottle of hot water which I tucked under my various extremities until I had defrosted. Handy for if you forget socks/sweater/joggers etc.

    Also, getting friendly with the air staff has gotten me lots of treats and consideration on flights.

    I also do my very best to check in online, especially in unfamiliar cities. Reduces the anxiety of getting late to the airport.

    • TA

      July 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      @ Menoword, Oh yes to socks and scarves too! Scarves are everything baby. Also make sure you have hand cream and lip balm in your sling bag. Very useful for all that cabin pressure with zero humidity.

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Great tips Menowood.

  6. bee

    July 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Great write up Labo!

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks Bee

  7. Moyo

    July 15, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Nice article and very helpful, Any tips for when you are travelling with kids, i will be taking a trip with four kids ages 4 – 14.

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Moyo, I’ve never travelled with kids before so I’m the worst person to give you good pointers. I’m sure you’ll get some great advice through Google search. All the best.

  8. Just another girl

    July 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    ” I arrived Johannesburg” WRONG
    I arrived IN Johannesburg” CORRECT

    “bags don’t arrive your destination with you” WRONG
    bags don’t arrive AT your destination with you – CORRECT

    Sorry for being an “I too know” but this use of “arrive destination” instead of “arrive at or arrive in (insert destination) just irks me. So far I have only seen it said and written among Nigerians and the Nigerian blogsophere which tells me it is a totally Nigerian phrase.

    • Travoola

      July 15, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      haahhahha….you are not an ITK, madam writer needs to do proper grammar check before publishing. as usual Bella Naija editors are savvy enough to catch such errors. smh

      @Labo
      Ease of National Carrier – Aunty Labo I disagree with this point. National Carrier is a thing of the past, because most countries known for tourism don’t have national carriers. USA, UK, France, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, China, etc….its mostly thirdworld or south east Asian countries.

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      You think? Emirates, British airways etc fall comfortably under this category. You may want to do some more homeworkTravoola

    • Somebody

      July 15, 2015 at 10:15 pm

      Err, Canada has Air Canada, British Airways (like Labo pointed out), The US has a few carriers that are “theirs”, France has Air France…LOL.

    • WHAT?

      July 19, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      You’re rude and ignorant. There’s Air china, Japan airlines, swiss international airlines etc etc Now who is Haahhahhaing? Mscheeeeeeeeeeew. Well done Labo this is the best and most useful post on travel I’ve read yet.

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      Lol! Thanks …..We live and learn.

  9. o

    July 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Nice article!….i always, always have a sling bag when I travel for summer, I can’t be bothered with handbags. I also always seat in the aisle seats because I have DVT, and need to get up every hour and take a short walk.

    To avoid swollen feet, you can use flight stocking, it’s helps. And I always avoid jeans and shoes with straps and laces. I can’t be struggling to remove belt and shoes at security. If I must wear pants, it must be my perfect fit,, and slip on/ballet shoes to the rescue. As for extra clothes in hand luggage, I totally understand but I take the risk sometimes and travel without hand luggage. It can be stressful especially if you have a connecting flight/stopover. Maybe a top n undies in my handbag sha…lol.

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 15, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks O, Don’t even get me started on the belt and lace shoes tug of war at security….A top and undies in your bag should do just fine.

  10. zeebaby

    July 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    @Just another Girl, u r very stupid! So u read d entire article with ur Brighter Grammar? Dat what u cld pick out? Ode oshi. Fool!

    • Blessedheart

      July 16, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      I’m really struggling to understand the reason for all these insults. Just another Girl was quite polite with her corrections and the author obviously didn’t take it personal yet you’re here with insults. We really need to work on our cyber behaviour. It’s disheartening.

  11. Mz Socially Awkward....

    July 15, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    In these very modern times, it’s advisable (very advisable, actually) to make sure you stay connected to the Internet on your smart devices, particularly when you’re visiting new territory. Reasons include needing to get relevant information out of your inbox, needing to search for an unknown location on Googlemaps, needing to urgently get into your online bank accounts, etc.

    Roaming charges are annoying but sometimes, they mightn’t be as hefty as you imagine. Check that with your phone provider before you travel to decide if there’s any benefit to keeping your data roaming services off or on. If you’re keeping it off, be sure your hotel has wifi in the rooms (you’ll be surprised at how many hotels don’t actually offer this)

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      July 15, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      These bloody sensitive buttons. An attempt to backspace led to the premature posting of the above.

      What I meant to continue with was that you should try and book hotels with free wifi from the jump because it adds up to a lot if you pay the daily exorbitant fee for the service. You may as well just switch the data roaming button back on.

      When you’re out and about, if you need free wifi and happen to see a Starbucks, please buy a latte and just park very well. Starbucks’ free wifi has been a lifesaver for me in many distant locales. Don’t confine yourself to spending the day there, though as many public establishment now offer free wifi as well. I was pleasantly surprised during a recent holiday to Nice to find out that even random roadside restaurants will give you their wifi password if you ask and as long as you’re a paying customer. So don’t rely on mobile data services as there are many other ways to get connected while on holiday.

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Yes o Wifi. Never underestimate the importance of WIFI, ever.

  12. Me

    July 16, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Thouroughly enjoyed this. Many of these articles can be redundant but this had a whole new angle. Very practical,useful information with very cute anecdotes which were very entertaining. Thank you and do write more.
    Best xxx

  13. free

    July 16, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks so much Labo this is just for me.To think that we wld be making a trip in 2weeks it is just timely.great piece,weldone.

    • Labo Daniel

      Labo Daniel

      July 17, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Yaay! Mission accomplished. Thank you and have a safe trip

  14. Labo Daniel

    Labo Daniel

    July 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you so much Me. Xxx

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