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15 Tips to Prepare for an International Flight in 2024

Traveling on international flights, either in the USA or to and from other continents, can be both long and tiring. Therefore, it is always a good idea to plan your trip carefully and also, pack the essential items that you will be needing throughout your journey.

In this travel, we will share with you a couple of useful tips when flying on international flights to your destination city.

Tips for Travelling on International Flights

Here are a few tips that will make your traveling experience worthwhile when flying internationally.

  1. Check-in Online to Get the Best Seat

If you were not able to select a good seat at the time of booking your flight, check-in as soon as possible so that you can select a preferred seat. You may also be able to snag the first deal at any available paid upgrades.

For example, if you are flying Southwest, checking in online quickly when it opens is important. Seating on Southwest Airlines is not assigned, and boarding order is determined by check-in order. Passengers often like to choose their own seats. However, if you do not check-in soon after online check-in opens, you will likely be boarding in the last group and also have limited seating options.

2. Choose the Seat that Makes You Comfortable

Your preferences are especially important in determining the best seat on the plane. Thus, depending on your preferences choose a seat that will make your trip a comfortable one.

For example, if you need to get up frequently, then choosing an aisle seat should be your preferred selection, so you can move about with ease. Or, if you want to lean against the wall and sleep, then it would be best to book a window seat. Or, if you are tall and need the extra legroom space, then you should pick the bulkhead or an exit row seat. Keep in mind these seats often don’t recline.

3. Make your Checked Bag Look Unique to Avoid Confusion

Sometimes, it may happen that the baggage you are carrying may look almost identical to the one carried by other passengers. You can do a couple of things to make your checked bag easily identifiable.

For example, if you have got the typical black roller bag, you can add some custom flair, like a brightly coloured ribbon or a sticker. This will help easily distinguish your luggage bag from everyone else’s. Also, make sure that you have a secure luggage tag on it with your name, phone number, and e-mail address. This might come in handy if you happen to misplace or lose your bag at the airport.

4. Wear Comfortable Clothes on Longer Trips

You will always hear about wearing comfortable clothes when traveling on long-haul international flights. Although it is necessary to be comfortable, you may still pick something that is presentable as well.

Taking into consideration the time of your journey and the climate in your destination city will help you decide which clothes to wear that should make you feel comfortable, but also good-looking.

5. Bring a Sleeping Kit

It should be a good idea to bring along a sleeping kit, such as a small pillow, blanket, etc. when traveling on a long-distance international flight. This can be useful since most airline carriers will not provide these amenities to you onboard. Or, even if they provide these, there may be additional costs. A pillow does not necessarily have to take up much space. Bringing an inflatable pillow that can be folded down to a small package is a great choice. In case you are sensitive to noise or light, bring along earplugs and a sleep mask and you will be well on your way to sleeping comfortably on the plane.

Alternatively, if you are traveling to a city where the climate is cold, your coat or a large head-scarf can also be used as a blanket. Or, you may just consider purchasing a small and lightweight travel blanket, as it can come in handy.

6. Bring some Entertainment to Pass Time In-flight

Not all low-cost airline carriers will provide you entertainment in order to pass time while on the flight. So, it is a good idea to pack some of your portable music and video players, headphone, or perhaps, a game console, in case you don’t like carrying a laptop computer. Alternatively, you can bring some books, novels, magazines, etc. that will help you pass time during your long journey.

7. Check your Devices’ Battery Level

Most airline carriers will provide electrical power outlets, either under the seats or integrated into seats. But, it is also wise to make sure that the battery level of your electronic devices is charged to full. Alternatively, you may also bring along additional batteries or a portable power bank, so that you don’t run out of entertainment even before reaching your destination city.

8. Pack a Water Bottle and Snacks

Bringing your own water bottle and some snacks can come in handy. It will save you money at the airport and will also quench your frequent thirst and hunger. Keep in mind you can’t bring liquids more than 3.4 ounces through security. Another benefit of bringing your own water bottle is that you don’t have to wait for a flight attendant to bring you water. Having an extra bottle of water should keep you hydrated throughout the flight.

Also, remember to pack a couple of snacks, such as nuts, cut fruit, cheese, and crackers, etc. Many budget airlines have stopped offering food services in-flight. Even on airlines that do, you may prefer to bring your own snacks in addition to what’s served on board.

9. Pack Essential Toiletries in Your Carry-on

Be sure to pack some basic toiletries and one outfit change in your carry-on. This is just on the off chance your luggage gets delayed and you are without your checked bag for a day or two.

Whether you are checking baggage or traveling with a carry-on bag only, it is a good idea to also pack essential items, like face wipes, deodorant, and toothpaste. Keep them in a spot so you can reach them easily in order to freshen up upon landing or during a layover.

10. Arrive at Airport on Time

Bear in mind that different airports may have specific guidelines for how early you should be at the airport before the departure of your flight. Generally, it is recommended that you be at the airport three hours prior to your flight’s departure. When you consider that most international flights start boarding about 40-60 minutes before take-off, that is really only about two hours to check-in, in case you could not do it online. Check your bag, if necessary, get through security, and walk to your gate. If you are traveling during peak season, it is a good idea to get there even earlier.

You can also download the MiFlight app that shows real-time data on the wait time at your airport. You may check your airline’s cut-off times since every airline has a time after which they will no longer allow you to check-in or check a bag. They will also note the cut-off time for boarding, usually 15-20 minutes before take-off. If you arrive after these times, you may not be able to check a bag or even board the plane.

11. Request a Special Meal to Get Served First

Most airline carriers have come a long way in catering special diets to passengers. On many flights, you can choose to book a special meal that is kosher, gluten-free, low-sodium, low-fat, etc.

Not only does this give you more control over what you will be putting in your body during the flight, but special meal orders are also served first as well. So, if you are anxious to eat and get to sleep, order a special meal to reduce waiting time before service.

12. Check your Passport’s Validity and Visa Requirements of your Destination City

When traveling to international destinations, you will need a valid passport that matches the name on your ticket. However, that is just not enough. Some countries require that your passport be valid for a certain amount of time, usually six months, beyond your trip, while other countries require a certain number of blank pages. But, some countries may require both.

Depending on the country you are from and which foreign city you are visiting, you may also need a visa and/or proof of onward travel. And, if you are traveling with a child, you may be required to bring additional documentation. For example, South Africa requires that a minor child accompanied by only one parent have a letter of consent from the other parent.

13. Make Electronic Copies of your Documents

It is necessary that you scan or photograph all your documents, such as your passport, driver’s license, and any visas and keep the files in cloud storage, like Google Drive. You may also keep the back-ups on your e-mail so that you can access them on the go if needed.

14. Keep Important Documents, Medication, and Valuables in your Carry-on

Keep in mind to never put your documents (like your visa), medication, or valuables in your checked bag. This is because if your baggage gets lost or is delayed, this could be a huge concern. Even locked suitcases are not immune from theft, so be very careful where you keep all your documents.

Make sure you keep all these items in your carry-on, and if you have to gate-check your carry-on for any reason, be sure to move these items to the smaller bag you are bringing these on board.

15. Keep your Health in Check

Air travel can be stressful and it can also expose you to lots of germs. So, to reduce the risk of getting sick on your trip, ensure that you are setting out with a healthy immune system.

Losing sleep can weaken your immune system, which means that you will be more susceptible to the germs of other passengers on your flight. If possible, stick to your normal sleep schedule to stay healthy. To protect your immune system further, Get lots of rest and stay hydrated in the days before your trip.

A blood clot (known as Deep Vein Thrombosis) can ruin your trip and may put you in the hospital. Therefore, it is best to avoid the potential of this dangerous condition by getting up from your seat frequently and taking a walk. Also, there are many simple in-flight stretches you can do, or simply get up from your seat every once in a while and take a walk up and down the cabin.

The tips shared above should help you experience a comfortable, safe and healthy journey on international flights en route to your destination city.

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