International travel can definitely be overwhelming. Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned traveler it always pays to be well prepared before takeoff. That way you can spend more time exploring and less time worrying. Here are some of my top tips for flying internationally.
Don’t book through a third party (without knowing the risks)
On the surface, third-party sites seem great. They typically offer tickets at a slight or sometimes even steep discount. I know the deals on deals may seem tempting but the cold truth is booking through a third party can sometimes end up screwing you big time. A lot of times these cheap tickets come with a lot of fine print and airlines can’t make the same guarantees in the event of changes to your travel plans. As a flight attendant, I’ve seen many passengers frustrated because their family is sitting on opposite ends of the plane and the third-party site does not give them the option to change seats. In many of these situations, the airline’s hands are tied so do your research before booking to make sure you’re okay with these types of restrictions or if you’d rather book directly through the airline.
Take a look at your cell phone plan before you take off
Landing in a foreign country is intimidating, especially if you’re newer to travel. The last thing you want is to step off the plane only to discover your cell phone plan doesn’t include international data. Make sure you know what your plan includes so you can adjust accordingly. Some companies provide pay by the day data options but these can be pricey (about $10 a day), especially if you’re planning on spending more than a few days in your destination. If you’re hoping to just use wifi while abroad double-check that your accommodation has a reliable connection (learned this one the hard way after booking an Airbnb for two nights in London with no wifi). And as always make sure you have a backup plan in case your wifi connection isn’t so great. International Sim cards are always a solid option.
Make sure you have a toothbrush (and other beauty essentials) handy on the plane
You definitely do not want to make your international debut with stanky airplane food breath. I usually pack a toothbrush and toothpaste somewhere I can easily pull it out to freshen up throughout the flight. My skin gets really dry on long-haul flights so I also like to pack beauty masks, lotion, face cream, and make-up remover wipes so I can take off my makeup before I go to sleep. Packing these essentials in an easy-to-reach spot will help you freshen up during the flight and feel less like a zombie when you arrive at your destination.
I cannot stress enough the importance of staying hydrated on long-haul flights. Not only does it help combat dry skin, dehydration, and bloating, drinking water can also lessen the effects of jet lag, meaning you can spend less time adjusting to the new time zone once you arrive and more time exploring!
Have a loose itinerary but BE FLEXIBLE
As a Type A over-thinker who also cannot make a decision to save her life this tip has been a game-changer for me. Before you leave start a group chat, Google Doc, note, etc. with your travel companions, and start listing all the things you want to do during your trip. Go back through the list and mark down the things that are must-see/do. No activity or idea is too small. Using this as a reference you can figure out distances between activities and how to get from one to the other. Then you can start to create a general idea of what activities should be done on which days to avoid spending a bunch of time and money on transportation. I’ve found it’s helpful to include lists of restaurants, coffee shops, etc. That way you have something you can reference instead of spending loads of time looking up and deciding on a place to eat when everybody is tired and hangry.
These are just a few of my favorite tips for international travel. I hope they help you on your next trip abroad. Leave me a comment and let me know your life-changing travel tips!