This is my first post so wish me luck! 🙂
International travels can be ridiculously painful especially when you choose or can only afford to travel in coach (also known as economy). So hopefully my tips can help you feel more prepared for your long journey.
Prepping for your first international flight:
1. Make sure you have all the correct travel documents, whether it is a passport for short term travel or a the correct visa for long time travel or work. If you are looking into get a visa, please check with the country’s embassy prior to booking your flight and leaving the country.
2. If you haven’t booked your flight, you should probably do that. Book your flights at least 6 months in advance. When booking international flights try to make sure you have an aisle or window seat. The best seats in economy would be near the emergency exits or the front row. If you can request the seat, attempt to do this and you will have the best leg room and easy access to getting up and walking around the plane. During this time also check the airlines regulations to make sure you are following all of the rules prior to getting to the airport.
3. Make sure you have all your itineraries and identification: flights, hotel reservations, passports, etc. Don’t forget your cash and credit cards (most places no longer take traveler’s checks due to counterfeit and most credit cards have no foreign transactions fees which makes spending overseas easier, double check with your bank for verification, don’t forget to notify them of your travel).
4. Be sure to take photos of all of your important documents, but don’t rely on just your phone in case you lose it or it gets damaged. Make sure you back up your digital copies, in a personal email or even on the cloud, such as google drive. Include information of your passport and visa so that you have something to present to the embassy if your passport or visa gets lost or stolen. Place these items in a secure location in your carry on items (i.e. purse, passport necklace wallet, etc.).
5. The best way to pack your bags is through packing cubes. My favorite are made by eagle creek. These are great to make sure things fit compact and easy to find your clothes through your luggage. The packing folder will be the best travel item you will purchase guaranteed! It keeps your shirts flat and holds a lot. Be sure to roll your clothes if you want ultimate space or if you do not have packing cubes. This will be an excellent way to compact your large clothes.
6. I use this packing list (http://i.slimg.com/sc/sl/graphic/c/ch/christine_pack_list6_final.pdf) for all of my trips. I used this as a template to create one that matches to my needs.
7. Next make sure your carry on only has TSA approved liquids or items. Click this link to get more detailed information of what you can and cannot take. Please check out my carry on essentials to see how I pack all my favorites.
8. Make sure you arrive at the international airport at least 3 hours prior to your flight. If you don’t want to do a park and ride, see if a family member or friend can drop you off at the airport. Don’t forget to have them pick you up when you return! Make sure you leave early especially if your airport happens to be a distance away from your home. All your plans could be ruined if your flight has left without you and you are stuck in the airport waiting on standby for the next international flight. Not only is this bad, if you have connecting flights that have a small amount of wiggle room to transfer, you could miss that flight as well causing delays in your actual vacation or business time.
9. Check with your airlines to see if your flight has been delayed or on time. Try not to spend too much time in the shops or restaurants, unless you know for sure you have some time to kill. Make sure you know what gate your flight is at and be sure to find a map to know which direction to go.
10. Try to board the plane early, that way you can make sure your luggage is stored close to you in the overhead bins. If you happen to be late, they may move your luggage to a bin that is not full or worse have to check them in, which if you are carrying items that are expensive, would be unpleasant.
If this is your first international travel, then you will have to make sure you have all the carry on necessities to survive this flight. Please check out my next blog for carry on essentials.