YWAM Newcastle Alum, Ryan, shares 10 tips on flying internationally that he has learned on his various trips around the world.
1. Join a Frequent Flyer Rewards Program
If you’re travelling internationally, chances are good that your flights will cost a considerable amount of money. The upside of that expense is the possibility of earning frequent flyer points. If you expect to fly a lot in the future, it is probably worth it for you to sign up for a frequent flyer rewards program. Even if you only anticipate flying once every few years, or if you think your first trip overseas will be your only trip overseas, signing up for a frequent flyer rewards program is always a smart move. Who knows?
2. Use a 4-wheel roller suitcase & don’t overpack your personal item
Getting around inside an airport can be a bit of a hassle when your suitcases don’t have four wheels. Two-wheelers are good, but having the ability to push your bags in front of you or beside you will make navigating your way through airport crowds and plane aisles that bit easier. Also, leaving your carry-on item with a bit of room will allow it to fit under the seat in front of you, in case of a busy flight with no overhead space left.
3. Bring a portable phone battery and USB cable
Even in aeroplane mode, the battery on a phone can quickly deplete when you use it to communicate while travelling. Some planes have USB ports in which you can charge your phone, whereas others do not. If your phone is crucial to you arriving at your final destination in one piece, or if you’re using it to arrange transport from the airport, then make sure you at least bring a USB cable while flying internationally. Also, remember that using your phone for entertainment purposes will drain the power even quicker.
4. Make smart clothing choices
Even though air travel is undoubtedly a sweaty experience, it is common for airports and planes to have regulated temperatures that feel quite cold. Unless you’re travelling with the same airline through the same airports, your own personal temperature experience will probably differ from trip to trip. As a rule of thumb, it is wiser to have too many layers than too few. If you’ve left a bit of space in your carry-on luggage, you can always put an extra jumper or pair of socks in there, just in case. Remember that many security check points require the removal of belts and jackets. In America, you must remove your shoes when going through security. Wear comfortable clothes that are practical without looking like pyjamas. Avoid wearing jeans or anything overly constrictive, as circulation problems may occur during flight.
5. Make or buy snacks before getting to the airport
Airport economies are built on the sale of overpriced food. At your local supermarket, you’d probably think a small packet of M&M’s sold for $8 would be criminal, but at an airport, it’s not that far off. Save yourself the cash and grab some snacks before you get to the airport. Most store-bought items can be taken through security checkpoints, but you may run into problems with fresh fruits and nuts. Having a stash of muesli bars for when you get the “transit munchies” is always a good choice. Sometimes turbulence or other problems may prevent a meal from being served, too, so always come prepared!
6. Don’t fill your water bottle before going through security
You are always required to empty your water bottle before passing through a security checkpoint. Even if you only have water, you will inevitably be pulled aside and asked to throw out your bottle if you forget. This usually results in the traveller chugging an entire bottle of water as they wait in line. While this may be a viable option, it could lead to you running late, if you’re about to board and need to go to the bathroom. Dumping your water in a rubbish bin is also a possibility, though it’s not ideal. There will always be spots to fill your bottle up near your gate, so there’s no need to have it already filled.
7. Keep your passport/ID and boarding passes accessible
You will always need to have your passport and boarding pass on-hand. If you are keeping them in a backpack, make sure they are on top of everything else. Other options include: secure pockets in pants or jackets, as well as a bum-bag or some other pouch that can be attached to your person. Keep them safe, and make sure they won’t take long to retrieve.
8. Bring earplugs
Some people have the ability to sleep through any noise or in any environment; for the rest of us, earplugs are a fantastic option! They will reduce the sound of the aeroplane rumble, help to block out people who talk, snore loudly or cry (babies), and allow you to sleep or pass the time in peace, whether in the air or at your gate. You may also want to consider an eye mask, if you’re sensitive to light.
9. Walk around as much as you can during layovers, and also stretch/elevate your legs for blood flow
Circulation problems occur when you remain in a seated position for extended periods of time. For some people, this may result in actual conditions like DVT, but for most people, it simply means cramping, minor swelling and discomfort. Doing laps of your cabin and taking periodic trips to the bathroom are great ways to maintain healthy blood flow in flight. Make sure you also lie down or sit with your legs outstretched during layovers, as this helps correct circulation throughout your body.
10. Pack necessary toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on
It’s almost impossible to travel and not feel/smell gross by the end. Maintaining personal hygiene is crucial to improving any international trip. Ensure you don’t forget to take a deodorant in your carry-on, as well as a toothbrush, toothpaste and baby wipes (a shower substitute). This will not only improve your own personal travelling experience, but also that of the people around you!
By Ryan Winslade
YWAM Newcastle Alum
By Ryan Winslade
YWAM Newcastle Alum