It is not easy to travel abroad, especially if you are travelling for the first time. Well, I went through the process of international travel for my post-graduation and faced a ton of challenges. But, what looked like a set of challenges back then, has now evolved into an experience of learning.
You might be travelling abroad for recreation or for your higher studies. The chances are, if you haven’t travelled internationally before this, you will face a few hiccups here or there. The only real challenge is that you will be in a foreign land and that, psychologically, is an added layer of complexity for people. But don’t worry, by the time you’re done reading this, you would’ve significantly reduced your chances of getting stuck in a situation on your global outing as a student or a leisure traveler:
Generally, most people who are travelling abroad for their studies don’t have a definitive point of contact when they land. They are either dependent on their university, some distant relative or even their visa consultant, to help them out. The reality is that you would want some definitive assurance when you land.
With this exact same thought, I landed at my destination. I hadn’t expected, but my pick up service couldn’t make it in time due to heavy snowfall in the region. Thanks to the airport assistance I had availed, I was able to plan my local commute and reach my new home in time. When you avail assistance, what you’re buying is this sense of security.
I asked a lot of frequent international travellers for their advice and everyone invariably told me to take airport assistance, especially if I am having a connecting flight. The student discount card is great for buying things at most international airports. That said, you might have to check beforehand if the airport and the stores on the airport accept it in their transactions. It is equally important to check whether your student discount card is accepted at the connecting airport or not. The student discount will do wonders on most of the airports, but the connecting airport is not a part of your planned journey. A flight may get cancelled, you may lose luggage in the transit zone or something else may go wrong. With proper assistance in place, you can ensure your safety even in the airport where you are not supposed to stay for long.
Thus, look for airport assistance, not only at the airport where you will ultimately land but also at every single airport where you will catch connecting flights.
I once got to know about the story of my friend, who was physically challenged for the time being and needed special assistance throughout her travel. Initially, we were all worried, thinking how will she make this long-distance journey? The airport assistance services she had availed took care of her special needs on every single airport she went through, across all processes she had to go through – including immigration and security checks.
If she can make her life simpler with this easily available service, so can you. I would personally suggest that although airport services on all major international airports are very helping, it does help us to be well aware of what airport can entertain what kind of special requests.
I was flying outside India for the first time and had a ton of luggage with me. No one, including the airport authorities and the airlines, gave me a written assurance that my luggage will be safe. Sure, the implied idea was that nothing will go wrong; but you want assurance at this point.
Any number of things can go wrong and there will be something, irrespective of their magnitude, that will actually go wrong. Delayed connecting flight, loss of documents, missing luggage – or something you have totally not planned. For all these situations, if you have availed airport assistance via your travel agent or airline, you will be secured to a very large extent.
There are a lot of moving parts in the maiden journey of a student travelling internationally for the first time. I learnt it the hard way, that having airport assistance can make things a lot easier for you. Hence, opt for it as early as possible or be aware of the options you have beforehand.9