When you arrive

Every combination of airport, country, accommodation type and transfer desired cannot be addressed in a single set of advice. But, there is a universal experience that you should consider:  immigration, baggage claim and customs, transfers to your accommodations and what you do when you finally get there!  See below for tips.

  • Immigration and Customs

    Immigration is also known as passport control.  Customs is after you claim your baggage and they can inspect your bags if they want.  Generally, countries are more concerned upon entry to their country than when you are departing.   After disembarking the plane, don’t forget a stroller if you checked one,  you will first encounter Immigration.   You will likely approach the official window as a family.  If you are with 380 other tourists getting off a loaded jumbo jet, getting through Immigration can take a long time.  Be sure to look at the signs and get in the line that is not for citizens of that country or of the European Union. Have your documents handy.  Don’t make jokes or be unprepared.   If you book prearranged transfers, be sure to give yourself plenty of time between landing and your pick-up time.  Expect to have to have to produce your baggage claim checks although that’s not always required.  Get a cart if it eases the process for your family.

  • Transfers to your Accommodations

    I often think having a prearranged transfer is a good investment.  Upon exiting the baggage area you simply look for a driver holding your name up on a card.  This option is the most expensive option but is particularly good if you have rented an apartment at your destination. You can often book them as part of your rental package.  Taxis are also fairly expensive but the prices are typically regulated as governments control gouging tourists and giving their country a poor impression.  Try to pay be credit card. Insist if they can but simply prefer not to. Business customers will always pay by credit card when possible.  This may be where having local currency on hand comes in handy but you leave yourself more exposed to being over-charged if paying in cash.  Taxi drivers are not required to handle your bags.  Private transfers or taxis are recommended options to give your family a “soft landing” after a long journey.  There often will be subways or buses you can choose from as a more economical option.  These are often very modern and easy.  Look at these transfer options when you select accommodations to book one by a major station.  You decision may be based on the length of your trip, arrival time, budget and ages of your kids.

     

  • Arrival!!

    Finally you’ve made it!  You can flop on the bed and kick your shoes off!  Congratulations!   Many flights to Europe arrive early in the morning.  You could consider booking the room also for the night before so you are sure it’s available upon arrival or advise your booking agent that you have an early arrival so they can either let you in early or arrange to have to room cleaned as early as possible.  After taking a reasonable break, plan on going out to stretch your legs and to get some fresh air.  You’ll feel a lot better for it and may be surprised by how much energy you have.   Try not to take a nap so you can minimize the effects of jet lag.  Ask where you can find a small grocery to buy some water, cookies or snacks because it’s likely you’ll wake up in the middle of the night with jet lag and having some provisions is a good idea!  Keep one eye open for an ATM close to your accommodations for later.