Heading off on your first international adventure will be one of the most exciting and terrifying times in your life. I can guarantee that! Whether you're traveling solo, with your family or with a trusted group of friends, the unknown will more than likely cause all sorts of stress. First, you'll need to tick off everything in my 10 step guide to planning your first international trip. Then, once your international adventure gets closer, you need to pack! Each of these tasks will make you equally as nervous and excited for your upcoming adventure, but don't fret. If you're prepared, your first international flight can actually be fun!
Here is everything you need to know before embarking on your first international flight!
I know what you're thinking. 'Duh'. But although it's pretty obvious that preparation is key when it comes to travel (and almost everything else in life!), if you're feeling nervous or overwhelmed about traveling (or more specifically, flying) it's easy to forget crucial steps. Most material items can be picked up along the way, but there are some things you should try not to leave the house without.
Here are some of the things you definitely cannot forget when heading off on your first international flight:
- Passport - THE most important possession you will have when traveling internationally. Protect it with your life! You physically cannot travel anywhere while overseas without your passport.
- Drivers license or alternate photo identification - basically, a form of ID other than your passport. It's always best to bring a backup, no matter where you're traveling or how long for!
- Insurance information - everyone hopes that they don't need to actually use their travel insurance. But in the unfortunate event that you do need to contact your insurance company, it's best to have all the important information handy. It definitely makes the process a lot faster and less stressful.
- Cash - I recommend having a little bit of cash in the currency of the country you're visiting, as well as some spare cash in your home currency. Perfect for the cab or public transport to and from the airport!
- Booking confirmation, boarding pass or e-ticket - if you receive a boarding pass or e-ticket via email, print it out. You may not need it, but it could save some time when checking in. It's also a good idea to print out your flight confirmation email, just incase!
- A travel wallet to keep it all in! - this one isn't an absolute must, but it's mighty convenient nonetheless! You can pick up some cute, cheap travel wallets in most department stores or online! AliExpress has some great, budget friendly travel wallets!
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Besides remembering to bring your passport, wearing comfortable clothes on the plane is crucial in surviving your first international flight! I decide on the outfit I'm going to wear on the plane, days in advance, and make sure everything is clean and easily accessible on the morning of my flight. Why? Well, I'm an organisation freak. But generally speaking, it makes life a LOT easier! You'll thank past you for being prepared, especially if you have a super duper, kill-me-now early flight!
Now you're probably wondering what the perfect 'plane outfit' is, right? Well I'm about to give you my personal opinion. Everyone will have a different go-to outfit for flying, but after some trial and error, this is what I personally like to wear on any international flight!
- Leggings - THE most comfortable pair of 'pants' you'll wear on a plane. Invest in a good quality pair - it will be the best thing you'll ever do! I love lululemon or Lorna Jane for great, high quality and comfortable leggings.
- A soft, comfortable t-shirt or tank top - put it this way: what would you want to wear for 8 or more hours, sitting in a cramped seat next to a hundred other people? Whatever comes to mind first, wear that!
- A warm jacket - planes almost always get super cold. Make sure to bring a warm, comfortable jacket with you, especially when traveling internationally. Something that's easy to take on and off, and if it has a hood, even better! I prefer jackets over jumpers, purely for convenience.
- Comfortable enclosed shoes - this is especially important if you've got a layover before arriving at your final destination. Depending on how long your layover is, you'll potentially have to kill a few hours waiting for your next flight. Wearing comfortable shoes will get you through any situation, whether that's exploring the city (if time permits), or walking up and down the airport a million and a half times!
- A pair of thongs (flip flops!) - if you're wearing enclosed shoes on the plane, it's a good idea to pack a pair of thongs (flip flops) for trips to the bathroom. Given that you'll be sitting on a plane for multiple hours, you'll want to take your shoes off for optimum comfort. But you also don't want to be heading to the bathroom without any protection from the gross plane floor!
Like I said, everyone is different, therefore will have different go-to plane outfits. But this is what I consider to be the perfect in-flight clothing attire!
Bring Plenty of Entertainment
Flights are boring. International flights are a million times more boring. You'll want plenty of entertainment to keep you sane! Depending on the length of your flight, make sure to bring a variety of things to keep you occupied. The more you have to distract from the fact that there's still 7 hours left of your flight, the better!
Here are some suggestions for the perfect in-flight entertainment:
- A book (or two!)
- Laptop (and charger!)
- Phone (again, don't forget your charger!)
- Pen and paper
- Puzzle books
- Kindle or other type of e-reader
- Any work projects you need to do
- Small travel sized board games
- Card games (Uno works well!)
- Colouring in books and pencils (perfect for kids and adults!)
Note: If you forget to pack quality entertainment, there are plenty of stores throughout airports that sell books, magazines, puzzle books and more. You may have to pay a bit more than you would anywhere else, but it's worth it, especially if you've got a long international flight ahead!
Unless you're lucky enough to fly first class or business class, you're in for an uncomfortable flight experience. On all international flights I've been on, each passenger has been given a small pillow, blanket and pair of socks. But I can't vouch for the fact that all airlines supply these. Plus, they're not that comfortable. So I definitely suggest bringing along some extra bits and bobs to get you through the flight.
- Neck pillow - these come in a huge range of colours, styles, shapes and range of comfort. Airport gift stores sell them (for a hefty price), and you can also buy them from most department stores, travel stores and online. Shop around to find one that suits you, is comfortable and in your price range!
- Socks - like I mentioned earlier, planes get super cold. More so on international flights, since you're even higher in the sky! Having a pair of socks handy is a good idea if you plan to sleep. It's the best way to keep your feet warm!
- Pain killers - I always get headaches when flying. I'm not entirely sure why, but it's probably a combination of the altitude, lack of real air, and small spaces with lots of people. So I make sure to pack some pain killers in my carry on, just incase.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste - some airlines do provide these on international flights, but just incase, it's a good idea to pack them in your carry on. (remember, you are only allowed under 100ml of liquid in carry on luggage).
- Deodorant - because let's be honest, who wants to be stuck next to someone smelly on a plane? I always bring a roll-on deodorant on all flights with me, even domestic ones! Instead of packing my deodorant in my suitcase, I pack it in my carry on. That way, I can freshen up on the plane or after landing!
- Lip balm - I don't know about you, but my lips get super dry whether I'm flying or not. So I always make sure to include a lip balm in my carry on, for ultimate convenience!
- Moisturiser - another essential for me! My hands get very dry and itchy during cold weather and in unfamiliar surroundings. I like to keep a travel sized tube of moisturiser with me, to keep me comfortable during any domestic or international flight!
- Chewing gum - some people experience their ears 'popping' during take-off and landing. A great way to combat this is by chewing gum before the plane takes off and just before landing. For some reason, this helps to stop the ear popping, and the uncomfortable feeling afterwards!
- Tissues - before heading off on your international adventure, stop by the supermarket and buy a few packets of travel sized tissues. Trust me, you will be glad you have them on more than one occasion. Even if you don't use them during your actual international fight, there will be a time you'll need a tissue!
- Empty bottle of water - trust me. Let's just say, airplane water isn't the greatest. You aren't allowed to bring a full bottle of water through airport security, but they allow you to bring an empty water bottle. So once you're passed security, fill up at a water fountain, and you're set for your flight!
- Special food requirements - whether you're allergic to a certain type of food (always make sure to alert your airline before your flight if this is the case!), or simply like a nice cup of herbal tea, don't forget to bring them along! If you can only eat a specific type of snack, pack it in your carry on! Most airlines will be more than happy to assist you in making your flight as comfortable as possible, and this includes special food requirements!
- Anything else that helps you feel comfortable! - international flights are different for everyone. Some people aren't phased. Some people are highly anxious when it comes to flying, and therefore need some extra reassurance when it comes to getting on a plane. If there is something that helps you to relax, don't forget to include it in your carry on! As long as it isn't restricted for air travel, there's no harm in bringing along something that will put your mind at ease for your first international flight.
Everybody's flying experience will be different. International flights are long, boring, filled with anticipation and will make you appreciate a bed more than you ever have in your life. Jet lag will kick your ass, and you'll be so confused as to where you are, it will take a while for it to sink in that you've actually flown to an entirely different country or continent. But once you've done it once or twice, flying internationally will get easier. Follow this guide and you'll be prepared for anything!
Are you approaching your first international flight? For you experienced flyers - can you remember what it was like to fly overseas for the first time? Tell me in the comments below! I'd also love to hear some of your own flying experiences, and any tips you've got!
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