by Joseph Hallgren
Today, international travel is widely accessible to many adventurers. With flights becoming
cheaper and airlines offering better deals, more people are able to travel the globe. During my travel I have come up with a few tips that I would give to other travelers during their first international trip.
1. Arrive 2 hours early to the airport.
Due to security checkpoints at airports, there may be long lines at airline checkin as well as the airport security line. In order to ensure that you make your flight on time, many airlines recommend that you arrive two hours early to the airport to have time to handle delays without missing your flight. Depending on your destination, you may want to consider adding a
little more time, especially if you live in an area that has a lot of traffic that could delay you
2. Avoid sleeping on flights.
This may be a personal preference, but I have found that not sleeping on the flights helps me adjust to the local time of where I will be traveling easily and with minimal jet lag. Although it is a bit of a struggle on the plane, staying awake during the flight allows me to make the most of the time in the country I am visiting without being sluggish and tired.
3. Pack smart.
Packing smart means avoiding checked baggage if possible. Depending on weather conditions and the length of your travel, it is possible to have only two carry-on bags, and enough clothes for your trip, plus extra if you prefer. This will help you avoid any bag fees (although most international flights offer the first checked bag free), as well as prevent any lost luggage. No one wants to start their vacation off trying to track down a lost bag.
4. Use Wi-Fi for your phone.
With smartphones being as amazing as they are, there is no reason to spend money on an international plan to call home in a foreign country. Although different parts of the world may have differences in how much Wi-Fi is available to you while roaming around, most hotels offer free Wi-Fi. Along with apps you can download, iPhones offer iMessage, FaceTime, and email to help you communicate with loved ones at home. During a trip to Costa Rica, I found that almost all restaurants, bars, and hotels offered free Wi-Fi to the public, while in Paris we only had Wi-Fi in our hotel (although we were not searching for it much at the time).
5. Know which copies to take with you and which to leave behind.
It is a smart idea to always carry a copy of your passport on you while traveling abroad, and to keep a copy with someone at home that has your itinerary. If you ever lose your passport abroad, you are going to want to have a copy to ensure that you had identification. It’s also better to carry the copy on you during the day than it is to carry your real passport, which is safer locked up at wherever you may be staying. Hotel safes are made to be utilized!
6. Make sure to get up and walk around on the plane.
Unless you are asleep, it is a good idea to get up and walk around a bit on the plane. Sitting for long periods of time can allow blood clots in your legs to form. Simply ensuring that you get up and walk around a little during flights can help prevent this from happening.
As a traveler, these are tips I find to be the most important for traveling abroad. I encourage everyone to get out and travel – the world is a big, beautiful place. Lay back and relax on a tropical beach, explore the beautiful cities of Europe, or immerse yourself in a new culture and take away a great experience and memories from each trip abroad.