7 first-time travel mistakes to avoid when flying out of Nigeria (2023)

Winner Ajibola


Traveling for the first time can be both exciting and overwhelming. However, it’s important to be prepared and avoid common mistakes that can ruin your trip, especially if you’re leaving from Nigeria. So, if you’re traveling to a foreign country soon, here are some mistakes you should avoid during your trip;

1. Not checking travel and entry requirements

Every country has its entry requirements. The most important one is a valid visa. If you’re going to a visa-free country, you’d still need to meet certain requirements, which include specific vaccinations.

For example, you’ll have to present a Yellow Fever vaccination card to visit Tanzania, Senegal, or even the Seychelles. Without this, you’d be denied entry into the country. In the best-case scenario, you’d be required to take the vaccination at the border if available.

Some countries also make travel insurance mandatory. So, visit the country’s official government website to ensure you have these travel requirements. If you’re using an agent, be sure to verify before your trip.

2. Booking everything one week in advance

Waiting until the last minute to book your flights and accommodation can leave you stranded in a foreign country. This is because, during peak travel seasons, you either pay ridiculously higher prices if you’re lucky or find out there’s no availability in extreme cases.

For example, September flights from Nigeria to the United Kingdom are always super expensive because of the back-to-school season. So, to save money and ensure you have a place to stay, we recommend finalizing your travel itinerary at least one month in advance.

3. Refusing to buy travel insurance

While it might seem like a scam, travel insurance is very important, especially if you’re traveling as a visitor or tourist. Without travel insurance, during emergencies, you’d pay a lot of money to access healthcare or recover a stolen item.

If you purchase travel insurance, you don’t have to pay any unexpected costs when you’re out of the country. With a good policy, you’d be covered in scenarios like illness, injury, and theft. So you won’t need to pay for medical expenses when you’re abroad.

Now, since there are tons of available travel insurance, be sure to review the policy to understand what it covers before purchasing it.

4. Arriving late to the airport

International travel is very different from domestic travel because you’d go through more hoops at the airport. You’d have to deal with customs and immigration, plus there’s a different check-in duration.

For international flights, you’re required to check in at least one hour before the boarding time, and since the queues are usually longer, arriving late to the airport can be a very costly mistake.

So, to make sure you get on your flight, we recommend arriving at the airport three hours before your flight. This way, you have enough time to check in your luggage and go through security screening or immigration checks.

5. Overpacking

On the subject of your luggage, many first-time travelers forget that there’s a baggage allowance for each passenger on your flight ticket. You’d have to deal with excess baggage fees and spend more time at the airport when you exceed this limit.

Overpacking can make travel more difficult, so we recommend leaving unnecessary items at home. Pack the items you can wear multiple times and the most important stuff. If you really need to pack a ton of stuff, especially when relocating, we recommend using a service to ship the heavier bags ahead.

Secure your valuables, too. Use a money belt or a secure bag to carry your passport, cash, and other important documents. If you have a  layover, keep your toiletries in your carry-on. Just be sure they are all under 50ml.

6. Not informing your bank

Money is perhaps one of the most important things during international travel. So, if you have your funds in a traditional bank and you plan to use your credit card, it’s important to inform them.

This is because banks often flag transactions that happen outside your home country as potential fraud. Usually, they’ll block that card, and you’d have to prove it’s all you. Trust us, it’s not a straightforward process.

A better way to have zero money problems during your trip is to use a Grey foreign account and virtual debit card. With our accounts, you can make local transactions anywhere in Kenya, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the EU.

You can also spend globally without any restrictions through your Grey virtual card. If you’d like to set restrictions, you can always temporarily freeze your card.

7. Not making ample research about the country you’re visiting

When finally touch down, you’d need to find your way around the new country. Research on what transportation systems are easier and cheaper. This way, you can avoid unexpected costs.

You also need to respect the local customs and traditions to avoid offending the locals. In some cases, ignoring these customs can be illegal.

Finally, check the weather of your destination so you know what to pack and how to plan your itinerary. For example, peak rainy season might not be the best time to book a parasailing activity.

Wrapping Up

Traveling for the first time can be exciting, but by following these tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip when flying out of Nigeria for the first time. Don’t forget to create a Grey virtual card so you can seamlessly pay for your bookings online and spend freely when you’re abroad.

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