A goodbye photo before leaving for New Zealand
Part 1, the LAYOVER…
1 Layovers – No one likes a long layover, but too short is more detrimental to your travel than long.
a. Remember, when you change from a domestic flight to an international flight, even though you are still in the US, you will have to change from domestic to international terminal. This takes longer than your usual flight change. Also, you will possibly be changing airlines; this could add time needed to find your correct terminal and gate. I always go for a minimum of two hours for a layover if I am changing between terminals, especially if I do not know the airport.
b. Next, when you enter your destination country, you might have to make a connecting flight to another part of the country. You will go through customs at your first airport of call. Customs always takes time, especially when you are the foreigner. Make sure your layover in this airport takes that into account. Once again, allow at least two hours. This also applies when returning home. You will have to go through customs. If your port of entry is a large airport, such as LAX, there could be three or four additional planes landing at the same time. This means a VERY long line to go through customs. Then the terminal change. Possibly re-checking baggage. Make sure you know what you will need to do. Once again, I suggest a minimum of two hours, more if you are in LAX or re-checking luggage.
c. One time when too long is really too long. With a layover over 12 hours your luggage will not be checked through to your final destination. You must retrieve your luggage, and then re-check it. Many times you cannot check-in until two to three hours before your flight. This means you are stuck with your luggage, limiting your site-seeing ability during this long flight. You also cannot proceed through security to your gate; you are stuck in the check-in area with very few amenities.
d. When it comes to layovers on a hunting trip, the last thing, and possibly the most important, your guns. If you are bringing guns into the destination country this will make your layover longer. Some countries require police to review your guns in person in order to approve your importation paperwork. Many times these officials have specific office hours. If your flight arrives at 6 am and the customs officials or police are not there to examine your guns until 8 am and you only have a two hour layover, you will miss your connecting flight. This is no way to start your hunting trip. Make sure this does not happen to you. Ask your outfitter about this or research the airport of entry.
Flying does not have to be stressful. You do not have to arrive for your dream hunting experience frazzled and on edge. Plan ahead, check the little things, ask questions, and most of all, just relax, you will get there, even with a few bumps in the road. Even if there are hiccups, one day, you will laugh about the whole experience.