International flights can be long and stressful. Learn from my mistakes by following these international flight traveling tips.
As most of you know by now, I traveled abroad to Ireland last week for a family vacation! While I still have plenty to blog about, particularly day trips to different towns, I figured I would give you my honest feedback on necessities when traveling abroad.
Traveling abroad is so much different and can be such a long (sometimes boring) process. That’s why I’ve put together some tips on bags and packing specific; check out my packing tips and my favorite travel accessories.
To-Do’s Before You Travel Internationally:
- Go to your bank to take out enough money in the currency of the country you are visiting. You may need cash to get around and don’t want to wait until you get there.
- If you use a smaller bank, make sure you call ahead to let them know you are traveling abroad.
- Call your phone company to see what plans you can use for international travel. I paid ten dollars a day for unlimited messaging and internet access just to be safe, but there are plenty of other options that I am sure your phone company will make you aware of!
Tips For The Airport:
- Arrive at least three hours ahead, if not four hours. As crazy as it may sound, we left ourselves four hours on the return flight, which only took about 40 minutes before our plane began to call for boarding. You want to save yourself the stress and be able to get food before boarding, so give yourself between 3 to 4 hours.
- Check in and print your boarding pass ahead of time. This can save you LOTS of time. We didn’t print or check in before our return flight and had to sit in an hour line to drop off our bags and check-in. Learn from our mistakes and print your passes at home or from your hotel on the way back.
- Have your passport and boarding pass in a safe, secure, and easy-to-access spot. Whether you have a purse or an oversized bag as a carry-on to store below your feet, make sure that there is a pocket (with a zipper) that is easy to access so that you don’t hold up yourself and the lines trying to access it.
- Take a picture of your passport! I don’t know the protocol for losing a passport while abroad, but I know that before every trip since I was a kid, I would always have an extra copy or a picture on my phone of my passport just in case.
- Pack snacks and I mean A LOT of snacks, for both your flight there and back. I always pack snacks since I can be picky about plane food, but I didn’t pack any of my usual snacks to save for the return flight. When we got to the gate, I realized that there were no restaurants that served food I could eat, and the snacks that they offered at the small stores didn’t have much–which means I survived the plane ride off of basically chocolate. Learn from my mistake, pack TONS of snacks, and save enough for the return flight.
Tips For Packing Your Carry-On:
- Make sure you pack an outfit or two in your carry-on items! Lately, I have heard horror stories of those who lost their luggage, and the last thing you want is to be stranded without a spare change of clothes. So I recommend packing underwear and a few light items to help you get by for the first few days.
- Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wipes, deodorant, and lotion into your carry-on. Chances are, if you are traveling abroad, you will have an overnight flight. While I typically travel without makeup and do my skincare routine ahead of the flight, there is definitely a need once you land to brush your teeth and freshen up a bit to hold you over until you get to your hotel/ housing accommodations.
- Always pack an oversized cardigan or sweatshirt in your carry-on because you will get cold. Plus, the planes aren’t very comfy, so the very least you can do for yourself is to dress comfortably and use the oversized top to sleep in or cover yourself to snuggle up, stay warm, and hopefully fall asleep.
- Pack your medicines that you will need for the trip and ensure easy access to the medicines you may need on the plane.
- Based on my experience, they are much more strict on the return flight with liquids. So make sure you pack most liquids into your checked bags and that the ones you absolutely need in your carry-on fit into one zip lock bag.
- Pack a charger in your carry-on and charge your phone during your flight!
Tips For Your Flight:
- Make a plan for how you can fall asleep if you anticipate having trouble. That means packing medicine that will help me fall asleep because I struggle to do so naturally on a plane.
- Pack a neck pillow or gear to help you sleep more comfortably. This was my biggest mistake on my trip to Ireland–I didn’t bring anything and figured I would find a way to sleep, and guess what?! I could not sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. Traveling as a tall girl, it is nearly impossible to sleep with my head on the tray table unless I luck out with extra comfortable seating, which means that sleeping sitting up is the only option unless you plan ahead and purchase a product like this inflatable travel pillow for stomach sleepers. For those who can sleep sitting up, consider purchasing this inflatable pillow or this soft neck support pillow. If you want a basic pillow that you’ll see most others on the plane with, check out amazon’s choice neck pillow.
- Plan how you will keep yourself entertained. As mentioned in my previous blog post, I get bored easily, which can make flights tortuous, especially long international flights- so check out my tips on how to get through your next flight.
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