Who doesn’t love the thrill of jetting off to a far-flung location for the first time? The enticing blend of anticipation and curiosity, mixed with a little trepidation — it’s all part of the international travel experience. But fear not, brave explorers!
We’re here to make sure you’re well-equipped for the journey ahead. Read on for seven essential tips that will have you ready to soar through your first international flight.
Tip 1: Planning Is Key
When it comes to international travel, preparation is your best friend. That means doing your homework — researching your destination, understanding its time zone (yes, jet lag is real), getting a handle on the local currency, and perhaps even picking up a few basic phrases in the local language. The more you know before you go, the smoother your journey will be.
Tip 2: Get Comfortable With Sleeping On The Plane
Sleeping on the plane is an art. It’s a skill that can truly make or break your flight experience. With long-haul flights often spanning multiple time zones, good sleep will help you adjust to your new schedule faster.
How do you conquer the skill of snoozing at 35,000 feet? Start with selecting the right seat — if possible, opt for a window seat for something to lean against. Bring a travel pillow, an eye mask, and some earplugs to create your personal sleep-friendly zone. Some people also find sleep aids such as the sleeping patch helpful, but always remember to consult with a healthcare professional before using them.
Tip 3: Stay Hydrated And Eat Smart
Ever notice how parched you feel after a flight? That’s because the air at high altitudes is incredibly dry. Staying hydrated is crucial during your flight — water is your best friend here. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they tend to dehydrate you.
Food on flights can be a wild card, so it’s wise to eat light. Overeating or indulging in rich, spicy foods can upset your stomach, making your flight experience less than enjoyable. Opt for a balanced mix of proteins, carbs, and fresh fruits or vegetables when available. Your body will thank you.
Tip 4: Pack Like A Pro
The contents of your carry-on can make a world of difference on a long flight. Sure, the in-flight movies are great, but in the event that the entertainment system goes down, or even if you just can’t find anything you like, having a good book or downloaded podcasts can be a lifesaver.
Keep a travel-sized moisturizer, lip balm, and a small bottle of saline nasal spray handy to help combat the dry plane air. Don’t forget your chargers and an international adapter. Be aware of airline restrictions on liquids and gels, and pack accordingly.
Choose your outfit wisely — think soft, stretchy fabrics and layers to adjust to fluctuating cabin temperatures. A pair of fuzzy socks can add a touch of coziness when you’re trying to sleep.
Tip 5: Be Ready For Security Checks
Few things are as daunting as international airport security. The long queues and the many regulations can be overwhelming for a first-time flier. With some forethought, you can make sure that you breeze through security like a pro, which will make your whole travel experience more relaxing.
Read up on the security procedures of the airports you’ll be using. Pack liquids in clear plastic bags. Keep your electronics easily accessible, as you may need to remove them for screening. Slip-on shoes are a pro-level move because you’re almost definitely going to have to take them off.
Tip 6: Dealing With Jet Lag
Jet lag can be a bit of a party pooper on your international journey. It’s a temporary sleep disorder caused by travel across time zones — and it can turn you into a night owl or an early bird, depending on where you’re headed.
One way to combat jet lag is to adjust your internal body clock before you travel. Slowly shift your sleeping and eating schedule to match the time zone of your destination a few days before your flight. On the plane, set your watch to the new time zone to get into the right mindset.
Tip 7: Enjoy The Journey
You’re flying high above the clouds on your way to an exciting new destination. While there are stressful aspects to flying, don’t forget that it’s all part of the journey.
Use your flight time to unwind, watch that movie you’ve been meaning to catch, or delve into a good book. Take a stroll around the cabin every now and then, strike up a conversation with your neighbor, or simply gaze out of the window and marvel at the view.
Sky’s The Limit!
There you have it — seven tips that will turn you from an international travel newbie into a confident globetrotter. All great adventurers had a “first flight” once upon a time. With a little preparation and the right attitude, you’re ready to take on the world, one flight at a time.