The day of departure
Wear sensible, comfortable clothing.
Call your airline's toll-free number or visit www.flygrandrapids.org before leaving your home or office to find out if your flight is scheduled to depart on time.
Plan to arrive at the ticket counter no less than 90-120 minutes prior to your scheduled departure of a domestic flight and at least 120 minutes prior to your scheduled departure of an international flight. Airlines recommend being at the gate at least 45 minutes prior to departure. Additional time for parking and wayfinding should be considered as well. Passengers are advised to arrive at the airport 2 (two) hours prior to departure during peak travel periods (5:30 - 8:00 am and 4:30 - 6:00 pm) to allow time to wayfind, check-in, proceed through security, and arrive at the gate in advance of boarding.
Be sure to have your photo ID ready when you check in at the ticket counter and keep it handy until you have passed through security. You may be required to show it several times. Photo ID is not required for passengers under age 18. Consider purchasing an ID holder that you can wear around your neck. These convenient items can also hold your airline tickets, boarding passes, and a small amount of cash for purchases.
At the airport
Make a note on your parking stub as to where you parked your vehicle and take the stub with you. Upon your return, this
reminder will help you in locating your vehicle.
Passengers 18 years of age or older should be prepared to present a photo ID at the ticket counter. If you do not have a photo ID, two other forms of ID will suffice, one of which must be government issued (i.e. social security card or voter registration).
Do not leave luggage unattended at any time.
Take security seriously. Be prepared to place all items such as carry-on luggage, handbags, coats (including suit jackets and blazers), and shoes on the conveyor belt of the X-ray machine. Place miscellaneous pocket items in the separate basket provided. Also, be prepared to assist small children through the security checkpoint.
Be familiar with and abide by the TSA's 3-1-1 guidelines for all liquids and gels that you will take through security in your carry-on bags. Complete details are available at the TSA's website.
Travelers with items such as cameras and film, computers, cell phones, and other electrical equipment may usually pass through the security screening equipment without harm to their belongings, but it's wise to inquire with the screening personnel if you have a concern.
Travelers with medical conditions, assistive devices, assistance animals, or other concerns should inquire with the screening personnel about alternative screening procedures that may be more appropriate. For more information visit the TSA's website.
Remember that all carry-on luggage is subject to inspection at the security checkpoint. It could be required that items be opened or that packages
be unwrapped for inspection. The TSA recommends leaving all gifts unwrapped until you reach your destination.
When on board the aircraft, use overhead bins wisely (heavier items should be placed on the floor), listen to the safety briefing,
review the safety card, become familiar with all exits, and keep your seat belt fastened whenever you are in your seat.
Applying for a passport
The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has prepared an online
guide to assist you in applying for your U.S.
passport. This guide provides information on how, when, and where to apply for your passport.
After crossing several time zones, many travelers suffer from "jet lag." Although there is no way to completely avoid jet lag,
there are a number of ways to help your body adjust to a new time zone.
- Try to go to bed a little earlier a few days before you leave and get as much sleep as you can during your flight.
- Many side-effects of jet lag are the result of dehydration, so avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages and drink plenty of water during your flight.
- Eat lightly on your flight and forego rich or exotic foods on the first few days of your trip so that you
can use your energy to adjust to your new surroundings rather than to digest your food.
- Exercising on a long flight will help alleviate such common discomforts as backaches, swollen legs and feet, and general fatigue. Stretch at regular intervals and walk up and down the aisles of the plane from time to time to prevent potentially dangerous blood clots from forming.
take it easy on the day you arrive so that you can take advantage of your trip at a leisurely pace and establish
a routine in sync with the local time.
Jet lag travel tips provided by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the world's largest
association of travel professionals.