Getting ready for an international adventure is exhilarating yet also a little anxiety-producing, even for seasoned travelers. There’s a lot more involved with long, international flights compared to basic domestic jaunts, and it’s not just about the time in the air (though of course you want the flight to be as stress-free and comfortable as possible).
Cabeau wants to enhance your entire experience so we have gathered together these tips for an international flight to get you on your way. With our brilliantly designed and super comfortable travel pillows and accessories and the information below, you will be ready for a journey of a lifetime.
Before you even get to the airport, you will need to make sure not only that you packed everything you need, but also that things at home are taken care of while you are away. In the days and weeks leading up to your departure, you’ll want to:
- Up your vitamins and herbs, check in with your doctor about any necessary vaccinations, and ensure you have an adequate supply of essential prescriptions – though you can find equivalent pharmaceuticals in most countries, figuring out where to get them, and what they are called in another language, is not always the easiest!
- Get an adapter like our 4-in-1 Universal travel adapter. It’s the smallest, lightest adapter available, it works in over 150 countries with any plug.
- Pack smart and pack less. Do everything possible to avoid checking a bag. Get a large carry-on and for daily excursions pack a small daypack inside, like our ergonomic and compact Slingpack™ backpack. You can also use it for bringing home mementos.
- Check the expiration date of your passport. Make sure it’s at least six months after your intended return. Make copies and take some with you while leaving one at home.
- Sign up for travel insurance to cover things like an unexpected trip cancellation, emergency medical care, or lost, stolen or damaged baggage.
- Another related tip for an international flight: be sure to check entry and exit fees for your destination, as well as visa and passport requirements.
- Research events at your destination. You may be unexpectedly delighted to discover some unique celebrations or ceremonies coincide with your travel dates.
- Check your phone plan. Turn off international roaming which is ridiculously expensive; get a local SIM for texts & calls.
- Put your mail on hold.
- Leave the bulky guidebook; instead, photocopy any necessary pages or take the digital version along.
- Going to a non-English speaking area? Try to learn a few words and phrases before your arrival. Download a language learning app and be productive during those long hours on your international flight. Another tip: watch some TV shows/listen to music from your destination country.
- Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel so they don’t decline charges for fraud.
- Pay any bills that will be due while you are way in advance, or set up auto pay.
- Women: pack a sarong. It can be a beach blanket, cover, towel, curtain, skirt, dress, or even an emergency bandage!
Once you are at the airport, you are almost ready for your international flight! These tips will ensure a smooth process so you don’t end up running late or misplacing important items:
- Set an alarm for boarding time. You might fall asleep waiting and it’s easy to get engrossed in a book or game.
- Try to avoid the security line with kids. Though adorable, everything involving kids is slow.
- Even if you regularly survive on Mcdonalds, don’t eat processed airport food. Try to select healthy items, or pack your own snacks. Your body will thank you later as high altitude frustrates digestion.
- Similarly, avoid the bar (if possible). Alcohol will only dehydrate you and planes are dry enough.
- Whenever you get up from a seat, toilet, etc., look around and make sure you have all your documents and money.
The Flight Itself
Preparing for the flight is all about ease, comfort, and staying healthy. With the international flight tips listed below and Cabeau’s lightweight, portable and snuggly items designed for long trips, you will be off to dream-land in no time.
- Try to manage and avoid jet lag – remember:
- “West is best, east is the beast” – if you can, book west-flying flights.
- Avoid arriving at night. Our bodies are much better at staying up longer than usual than forcing sleep too soon.
- While it’s tempting, don’t overdo the caffeine.
- As soon as you get on the plane, set your watch to the destination time.
- Move around. Do seat exercises, walk the aisles and if you have a connection, use that time to take brisk jaunts around the terminal.
- Eat right. This can not be stressed enough!
- Similarly, drink water–hydration is key to surviving a long flight.
- Sleep as much as possible on the plane. Take along our Midnight Magic® sleep mask for a completely adjustable and customizable sleep experience (memory foam ear-plugs included). As the airline “blankets” are rather pitiful, you will also want a quality travel blanket like our luxurious microfiber Fold ‘N Go™ Blanket and Case which is a blanket and soft, supportive pillow, cushion and lumbar support all in one.
- Consider some handy, useful travel items like noise-cancelling headphones and our Mobilean™ Pocket & Stand for your phone. It provides hands-free viewing while also conveniently storing your cash, credit cards and ID.
- Dress well and comfortably. Do not wear flip-flops! Not only are they tacky, but in an emergency, you will want decent footwear.
- To reduce foot swelling and increase your overall comfort, wear our Bamboo Compression Socks™. Keep your toes toasty and improve your circulation at the same time.
- Make sure you have the address where you will be staying within reach.
- Here’s a tip for international flights that one air steward swears by: if the plane hits turbulence, jiggle your body! She says no one will notice, as everyone will be a little bouncy, and it really helps dispel the bumps.
- Choose the Asian-vegetarian meal option. Special meals are often delivered first, plus the Asian-vegetarian is usually more healthy and has less oil.
- Traveling with kids? Bring a DVD/video player. Even if they rarely watch TV at home, now is the time to let them indulge. Your sanity will thank you.
- Not traveling with kids? Bring noise-cancelling headphones–because someone else will have kids, and those kids will make a lot of noise.
- Finally, a simple tip for international flights that is easily overlooked: bring along a pen to fill out customs forms (otherwise you could be waiting a while for the one pen that has to be shared among 20 people!). Also, stow your passport and other documents in the seat back in front of you for easy access.
Finally, you have arrived! After stepping off the plane, picking up any checked bags, and going through customs, you are on your way. Not sure what to do first, or second, or even third? Don’t worry, our list of tips for international flights also includes useful advice for when you finally get to where you are going.
- Don’t bring cash to exchange (just keep a little of your currency for your return).
- As much as possible, use a credit or debit card for purchases, and if local currency is required, use your ATM.
- Make sure your cards don’t carry foreign transaction fees.
- Also, because most other countries in the world use a chip system instead of swiping the magnetic strip, try to get your bank to issue a chip card. They are much more secure and many automated machines (such as train ticket kiosks or gas stations) don’t accept cards with magnetic strips.
- If offered the choice, pay in the local currency.
- Download a currency conversion app.
- Carry cash in two different locations, such as your wallet and a money belt.
- Pay your hotel bill with any leftover currency you have (except what you’ll need on your last day) – this way you won’t have to exchange it when you get home.
- When you get to your hotel or hostel, take one of their business cards. That way you will always have their address and phone number on hand.
- Book a hotel or hostel for just a few nights and then step out of your comfort zone and look for some non-traditional accommodation, such as a homestay. This will allow you to be fully immersed in the local ambience and will inevitably lead to some unforeseen and memorable experiences.
- Be as culturally sensitive as you can. International travel affords you the opportunity to understand that we really are all the same, yet we are also gloriously diverse. Be mindful of local customs, avoid talking politics until after deep friendships have been formed, and also realize that you may be more understandable than you realize. This means you should avoid talking about strange things you see until you are out of earshot of the locals as many people understand English even if they can’t speak it.
- When there is a language barrier, use body language; don’t just talk slower and louder!
- Take guided tours for much more in-depth knowledge than what your guidebook will provide, but also ditch the group and go solo sometimes.
- Don’t plan everything, and go slow.
Make Travel Better With Cabeau
International travel is about soaking up the sights, smells and feelings of an entirely new world. Cabeau is dedicated to helping travelers like you embrace each and every journey to its fullest. With these tips for an international flight and Cabeau’s perfect travel pillows, the world is yours.