Tips for when in a foreign airport, put your iPad to be scanned separately from your backpack, as this will prevent you from wasting time getting it scanned afterwards. If you are uncertain, feel free to ask any security personnel for clarification.
When you are about to step into a security scanner, wait for signals from all the security personnel involved. In Frankfurt International Airport(where I took my connecting flight to Seattle, USA, this year) I remember feeling quite agitated when one male security staff member told me to step into the security scanner, and the woman regulating it yelled at me to step out and wait a bit. But that is the way security regulations work, so I wouldn’t let it bother me too much.
Check seat pockets and the seat where you were sitting to ensure that you aren’t forgetting anything. This grievous mistake my mom made resulted in her having to pay a very steep price- her previous travel pillow. She forgot it in her seat pocket, and this led to a song and a dance with Lufthansa Airlines and a few emails later, there was still no sign of our beloved travel pillow. When you lose or forget something, especially in a foreign land you aren’t very likely to get it back. So beware…
Always have your unabridged birth certificate and affidavit from absent parent/s who aren’t traveling with you in or out of South Africa in your hand luggage. This applies only if you are still a minor. My mom forgot these documents in our checked luggage at Dulles International in DC, and it almost cost us our return back to South Africa. The SAA crew members at the boarding gate told us we wouldn’t be allowed to board without those documents. A race to luggage check-in ensued, and each of our three suitcases were ripped open in turn, when the elusive documents were finally found. Crisis was averted this time, but you might not be so lucky.
Stockpile water from your flight,as you will be forced to throw it out when you arrive at your destination. My mom was so concerned with collecting sufficient water for our layover in Frankfurt that she forgot her travel pillow(as previously mentioned), which was all in vain because we had to throw it out the instant we stepped into Frankfurt International Airport.
Meet a celebrity and not take pictures! In San Francisco, we saw Hrithik Roshan, a famous Bollywood film star. My mom spotted him first, and she tried to nudge my brother and I into action, but being absorbed in our devices, we shrugged her off. Just when I came to my senses, and put on my camera, Hrithik Roshan stepped through the boarding gates. I was distraught. I had missed out on my brush with fame. Lesson learnt: don’t be too absorbed in your electronic devices that you don’t pay attention to your immediate surrounding… Or prepare to be deeply disappointed…