Are you planning an international trip? Whether this is your first time planning a trip or you’re a seasoned traveler, being prepared is essential to a good vacation. From obtaining the necessary documents, getting your vaccines, and planning your trip details, there are many factors to consider when planning your trip. In this article, we’ll discuss ten tips for flying internationally. These essential tips will help you be prepared before you go.
1. Choose your airline wisely
We saw during the pandemic that not all airlines are created equal. To avoid the stress of flight cancellations, extended layovers, lost baggage, and more, carefully research the details of flight offerings. Airlines may charge more for your ticket but justify their price tag with quality. You can also look into eco-friendly airline and flight options. Some airlines are investing in sustainable aviation fuel to reduce their carbon footprint. Flying can be a major contributor to air pollution so you may want to make mindful choices about the airline you use. By choosing an airline with sustainability in mind, you can trust they care about the planet and its passengers.
2. Gather copies of important documents
Perhaps the most crucial of these ten tips for flying internationally is having the right documents with you. When traveling internationally, you’ll need important documents like your passport, ID, insurance information, and any other relevant documentation. You should also have copies of your documents on hand, in case you lose any. Leave some copies at home as well. In case you lose your backups while traveling, you can call a friend to provide you with the necessary information.
3. Notify your bank of travel plans
When you plan on visiting a foreign country, inform your bank of your travels either by calling them or doing so through your banking app. Financial institutions will put your card on hold if there’s any suspicious activity. To avoid this headache, inform your bank of when and where you’ll be traveling to avoid a card decline.
4. Apply for a travel credit card
In addition to informing your financial institution of your travels, you should also apply for a travel credit card. Many regular debit and credit cards come with hefty foreign transaction fees on international purchases. To avoid feeling the financial burn of these fees, sign up for a credit card specifically for travel. Not only will you earn points to use on future travel plans, but you avoid foreign transaction fees.
5. Book your lodging
Choosing the right place to stay while traveling is crucial to a good experience. When deciding where to stay, consider your plans for your trip. If you plan on doing a lot of exploring by foot, you’ll want somewhere very comfortable and quiet. You’ll want a quality mattress to provide you with the rest you’ll need to keep your energy up on your travels.
If you plan on spending all your time at the hotel, you’ll probably want to stay in an all-inclusive resort with amenities and activities. If your pet is traveling with you, research hotels that are pet friendly and have amenities that will make you and your furry friend happy on the trip. This is why it is important to consider what you’ll be doing when picking a hotel.
You should also ensure that the place you stay is close to the attractions and tourist spots you want to visit. If your schedule is jam-packed with activities, you don’t want to waste precious time traveling to the city they’re in. Instead, pick a location close to the activities you want to see to reduce the time it takes to get there.
6. Research the local customs
The best part of visiting a foreign country is getting to learn about its culture. Every country has its definition of manners and customs and to avoid being rude, you should research your destination’s local customs. For example, in Australia, it is considered rude to not ride in the front seat with your taxi driver. In countries part of West Africa, a thumb’s up is an American’s version of the middle finger. You never know what normal American behaviors are considered rude in other countries, so it’s vital to research a country’s practices to ensure you don’t upset the local community you’re visiting.
7. Get vaccinated
Getting vaccinated before your travel is vital to global public health. Many countries have strict regulations around traveler’s vaccination records. The vaccinations you’re provided to show a record of will depend on the country you’re visiting, your health status, and your history of vaccinations. We recommend getting your vaccines at least six weeks before your trip to ensure you have time to get any additional doses you may need and so the vaccines properly integrate into your system. To find out what vaccines you need for your travels, visit the CDC’s travel website.
8. Pack properly
After finalizing some details for your travels, it’s time to get packing! It is essential to properly pack and ensure you have everything you need for your trip. Consider the weather of your destination to decide what kinds of clothes and jackets you may need. You should also think about what you’ll be doing during your vacation to pack an outfit for every occasion. Aside from clothes and shoes, be sure to pack the toiletries and medications you need.
While you want to ensure you have everything you need while you’re away, be careful not to overpack. While exploring, you’ll likely find some souvenirs to take home, so make sure you have room in your suitcase for any added items. You should also review airline travel guidelines to see what can be taken in your carry-on and what should go in your checked baggage.
9. Get your currency exchanged
Exchanging your dollars to your destination’s currency before you travel is beneficial because it often gets exchanged at a more favorable rate. Additionally, while having so much fun across the world, you won’t want to waste time finding an exchange booth in a remote country. So exchanging at home is often more convenient. When you exchange currency in a tourist location or at the airport, they often will add some high fees or at worst exchange rates than your bank would. So save yourself the heartache and do it before your trip.
10. Get to the airport early
When traveling internationally, we recommend getting to the airport 2-3 hours before your boarding time. This gives you plenty of cushion room in case the check-in and security lines are busy, depending on where you live. While traveling internationally, you’re required to go through passport and Visa checks and customs which can take an extended period. If you bring a bag to check, these lines may also take longer, and you may have to move some things around to meet your airline’s baggage guidelines. Arriving early also gives you plenty of buffer time in case of flight delays, traffic, errors on your boarding pass, and more. All in all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and leaving earlier ensures you don’t miss your flight.
Ready to go?
International travel is an exciting and enriching experience that you must prepare for. By keeping in mind these ten tips for flying internationally, you can rest easy knowing you’re well-prepared to visit a country across the world. It is those simple tasks like making copies of your documents, managing your finances, and getting to the airport early that make all the difference. By doing your research and planning the details, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your journey.
Guest Author: Megan Isola
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.
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