7 Tips for Surviving Your Next International Flight

Updated: Jan 4, 2020

Most people dislike and even dread the airport experience. But getting through airports and flying doesn’t have to be bad if (you guessed it) you plan ahead. 

What to Wear

Dress comfortably and make sure you feel good! I prefer comfort yet stylish clothing. Comfortable shoes that can easily slip on and off are a must (both for security screening and the plane). And because we can’t control the temperature in the airport or on the plane, I love to dress in layers so that I can adjust as needed.

What to bring Start with a good rolling carry-on suitcase that will make life at the airport a breeze. And other than your travel documents, consider bringing:

  • A good set of headphones.

  • A fully charged phone, iPad and/or laptop with podcasts and movies of your choice to keep you entertained. The airline might have a great in-flight entertainment system, but I like to have a backup.

  • To get some good zzz’s, consider bringing a sleep mask, neck pillow, and a scarf/pashmina that doubles as a blanket.

  • I like to bring healthy snacks instead of relying on airline snack choices. 

  • Always pack a change of clothes (and a bathing suit if appropriate) just in case luggage gets lost.

Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

The thought of lengthy security and passport control lines can’t get anyone anxious. If you travel more than once a year and especially if that travel is International, sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Being able to cruise through security at over 130 US airports is heaven, and Global Entry kiosks in US Immigration can save you tons of time when returning to the US. 

Check Your Flight Status

A quick glance at your airline app or on the airline website will tell you if your flight is still predicted to be “on time”, if there are any weather delays or warnings, or if there has been a cancellation in just a couple of minutes. 

Load the toll-free numbers to your travel advisor, travel insurance company and airline into your cell phone so that you can quickly reach someone if there is a flight delay/cancellation. While everyone else is waiting in line at the gate, you can have someone on the phone working on your behalf to fix the issue.

Prepare your Documents

Before you get in line to check-in at the airport, be sure you have in-hand all the items and documentation you will need such as your driver’s license or passport, your boarding pass and credit card if you are paying to check any luggage. And that is for EVERY MEMBER OF YOUR PARTY. 

Weigh your Luggage (before you reach the drop-off point) 

Use your scale at home or one at an airport to make sure your luggage isn’t overweight. If it is, you can leave a couple of things behind, or shuffle heavy items between your checked bag and carry-on without incurring the wrath of the folks behind you in line at the airport. And avoid those ridiculously expensive overweight baggage fees at the same time.

Stay Sane through Security Screenings

Stow everything in your carry-on except for your ID and boarding pass. When you hit those white bins, simply remove your shoes and belt, take your laptop and toiletry baggie out of your bag and place them in the bins. Place your carry-on directly on the belt...take a deep breath, smile and proceed. It will be over before you know it. 

Reduce Jetlag

Get a head start and reduce jet lag, by sleeping while it’s night time in your destination. 

Have fun! You are on vacation after all. 

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