It can be stressful trying to figure out how to prepare for your first international flight. Traveling to a foreign country requires a lot of time and extra preparation to make sure everything goes smoothly.
But don’t worry because we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks on how to fly internationally so that you can travel with confidence just like a seasoned jet-setter.
So let’s walk through some steps on what you’ll need to do before your first trip abroad.
5 Ways to Help You Prepare Before Your First International Trip
1. Get a Passport
Now the first step towards international travel is to get a passport.
To get a passport, you’ll need to show evidence of citizenship. Documents that provide proof of citizenship include:
- birth certificate
- certificate of citizenship
- driver’s license
- previous passport
Once you have all your papers together, you can apply for a passport by mail or in person at a passport agency.
Keep in mind: this process can take up to several months, especially if it’s your first time getting a passport. Remember to give yourself plenty of time before your trip to get your papers in order.
Now, for those of you that already have a valid passport, you’re not in the clear yet. Depending on where you’re traveling to, some countries require passports to have at least six months of validity left.
So if your passport is close to expiring, give yourself enough time before your trip to renew it.
2. Check Whether or Not You Need to File for a Travel Visa
You will need a travel visa issued by the consulate or embassy of the country where you’re traveling to if you want to enter a foreign country legally.
Depending on your reason(s) for entering the country you’ll need a specific type of visa. The three types of visas are:
- work visa
- student visa
- fixed-term visit visa
The visa application process can take several weeks to a month so be sure to plan ahead and give yourself enough time before you travel. You can submit your visa application for approval either by mail or online, depending on your destination.
If for some reason your visa request is rejected, you have the option to ask for an appeal. For more information on the appeals process, check out the consular website of your destination.
3. Look into Travel Insurance
Accidents happen so it pays to be prepared. If you are injured or fall ill during your trip, you’ll want to make sure you’re protected.
Contact your health insurance provider about your travel insurance options. You’ll want to have a clear idea of what health expenses can be covered internationally.
If you’re not satisfied with the coverage that your insurance company provides, you can check into applying for supplementary insurance from another company.
Again, this can be a time-consuming process so don’t wait until the last minute.
4. Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment for Vaccinations and Immunizations
Speaking of your health, you’ll most likely need to schedule a doctor’s visit before your trip. Oftentimes, you’re required to get certain vaccinations and/or immunizations if you’re going to fly internationally.
Before your trip, research what vaccinations you’ll need and set up a doctor’s appointment to go over your travel plans. You’ll also need proof of immunization copies.
Some of these immunizations require multiple shots which in turn means multiple visits to the doctor. While you’re at the doctor, you might also want to fill any prescriptions so you’ll have all your necessary medication while you travel.
5. Alert Your Bank About International Travel Plans
If you plan to use a credit card while you travel abroad, keep in mind that you’ll want to notify your bank beforehand.
Many banks monitor for fraud or other suspicious behavior. Card activity in a foreign country could alert these systems and then freeze your account.
To avoid that from happenings, simply notify your bank that you will be using your card outside of the country. You can send a travel notice to your bank with your phone or online.
If you’re not confident about using your card(s) abroad, you can use traveler’s checks in some instances. You can also carry cash. Many banks offer currency exchange options.
5 Things to Do During Your First International Flight
1. Wear Comfortable Clothing on the Plane
Typically, international flights can be long. You’ll be sitting for an extended period of time so you’ll want to make sure that you’re comfortable.
Choose loose and/or stretchy clothing that you’re comfortable sitting in. This will be especially helpful if you’re trying to sleep during your flight.
And what if the climate of your destination is drastically different from where you’re departing for your trip?
We recommend packing a quick change of clothes in your carry-on or personal item. That way you can change from cold-weather to warm-weather clothing or vice versa, with ease.
2. Arrive at the Airport 2-3 Hours Before Your Flight
This tip may be obvious but you’d be surprised how often people miss their flight because they were running late. Don’t be one of those people.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and go through security so that you can board on time. Worried about what to do while you wait?
Easy, you can grab something to eat or brink along a book to read to kill some time while you wait.
3. Prepare to Declare Items in Customs
When you travel to another country. you’re required to share what goods you bring in and out of the country. Now which items you have to declare, or share with your destination depends on where you’re traveling.
Most often, you’ll receive a customs form at the airport or during your flight. Common items that most countries require a declaration of are:
- alcoholic drinks
- animals/animal products
Just be sure to do your research beforehand to make sure you can breeze through customs.
4. Prepare for Jet Lag
If you’re traveling internationally, chances are you’ll experience jet lag. This often happens when you cross time zones, disrupting your sleep schedule.
To help treat jet lag, bring a sleeping mask and earplugs. These will come in handy if you want to sleep during your flight or if you’re having trouble sleeping at your destination.
You might also want to consider taking an over-the-counter sleep aid or other types of medication to help you adjust to a different time zone.
5. Finally, Remember to Relax and Enjoy Your Trip
The number one important thing to remember when traveling abroad is to make sure that you are relaxed.
It may be stressful trying to figure everything you need to do, but remember, it is better to be overly prepared than under prepared. You made it this far! All you have to do now is get to the airport, get on the flight, land, and you are golden. Just remember to take it easy and you will be fine!
All you have to do now is get to the airport, get on the flight, land, and you are golden. Just remember to take it easy and you will be fine!
Final Thoughts on How to Fly Internationally Like a Travel Pro
So there you have it. Here are some tips and tricks on how to fly internationally for the first time. If you follow these steps, you’ll be sure to have a much easier time getting to your destination.
And that way you’ll have more time to enjoy your trip. Don’t let the fear or stress of traveling hold you back from exploring all the greatest wonders of the world.
Now, what are you waiting for? Get exploring!
And if you have any international travel tips that we might have missed, leave a comment below.