Flying Internationally



As a neophyte preparing for an international flight in coach due diligence is in order. What better place to keep personal notes than on my blog. Someone else may benefit from them too. Everything I find here will either be told to me or derived from the Internet; no need to reinvent the wheel. I’ll be consulting those who have gone on before me, LOL.  As a blogger I am looking forward to writing about the experience the old-fashioned way with pen and paper for my memoirs.  There should be plenty of photographs to augment my writing.  It would be so good to get a Canon digital camera before my trip (please, oh please – that’s me putting my wish out there in the universe).  You know all that “speak a thing into existence” stuff.

Things You’ll Need

  • Passport
  • Government issued identification card
  • Visa
  • Itinerary copies
  • Airport maps



Be polite to everyone, especially the flight attendants.

Choose exit row or premium seats. Exit rows have miles of extra leg-room and seats towards the front of the plane or in mini-cabins can provide nicer flying conditions (and may also have power outlets, which are a nice perk).  If you can’t select an exit row seat, call the airline and ask. Tip: if you snag an exit row, pack an extra sweater.

Use to make sure the seat you choose isn’t bad. Some rows (like the ones in front of exit rows) have limited or no recline. You also may want to choose a seat that’s away from the galley or lavatories, as those areas can become crowded and who wants to be near a lavatory? Note: seatguru doesn’t always get it right but it is better than nothing.

Get an exit row ask the gate agent for a bulkhead seat. These are usually held for gate assignment in case there are any families that need to use the bulkhead bassinet or for disabled people. While bulkhead seats may have limited legroom, you won’t have to deal with someone reclining their seat into your limited space. Also, bulkheads are usually closer to the exit, so you can get off the plane and get to immigration before the masses.

Are you a germaphobe:  Pack a small pack of disinfecting wipes. As soon as you sit down, grab a wipe and wipe down EVERYTHING: TV Screen, console, arm rests, window, window shade, tray, seat belt, plastic parts, fabric parts… EVERYTHING.  Take along a saline nasal mist cleaner and good Kleenex. Rinse your nasal passages every 3 hours. It is one of your body’s primary defence against germs.

Find a sleep aid that works for you. Lunesta (have your physician prescribe).  One pill at takeoff and within 30 minutes = into a comfortable sleep.

Get a great pair of headphones.

Use an eye mask and ear plugs. Shades block out all light. I also like ear plugs to provide extra noise protection.

Collect all of your important documents and carry them on you while you fly. Important documents that you should carry on you at all times include your passport, identification card, driver’s license, itinerary and a visa if necessary for your travel destination.

Omit any banned or restricted objects from your luggage when packing your bags. Omit liquids and sharp objects from your carry on luggage. Contact the airport you will be departing from if you are not sure about which items are banned. Do not pack your important documents, passport or identification with your checked luggage because you will need to have them on your person while traveling.

Ask for a map of the airport or print a map from the airport’s website before you travel. Familiarizing yourself with the layout of the airports will help you locate your way around the airport easier, saving you time.

Read up on airport procedures, such as the screening process and security checks on the airport’s website before you leave. Understanding the procedures will help you estimate how much time you will need to allocate to make sure that you do not miss your flight.

Arrive at your airport 3 hours before your departure time to ensure that you will make your flight if you are delayed by baggage screening, security checks or any other reason.
Pack your own entertainment.  There are times during the flights when you can’t have anything turned on.  Pack a flashlight in your carry-on bag!  No matter what you bring on board the plane to entertain yourself, keep up with your stuff.  Be neat, too, about the tiny personal space you have on a plane. Pack everything you will need during the flight in your bag or backpack that is stored under the seat in front of you.  People get pretty annoyed at passengers who open the overhead bins frequently during the flights.
Bring your own snacks and drinks.  Get enough to drink. Pack an empty water bottle to fill at the water fountain before boarding.  Avoid anything too sweet or salty.
Change your watch to the time of your destination. Don’t do a movie marathon. Take off your shoes. Bring a travel pillow. Limit your caffeine intake. Depending on your assigned seat, get creative about your sleeping positions.
Stay hydrated while flying because the air on board can be very dry. Drink plenty of water before and during your flight and refrain from drinking beverages that will dehydrate you such as caffeinated coffee, tea and alcohol.
Stretch your body regularly while in flight. You should change your sitting position, without crossing your legs, to keep your blood and body moving. Walk up and down the aisle every couple of hours to keep your blood circulating. Remaining immobile may lead to blood clotting.  Exercise in your seat. It helps if you stretch your arms and legs, and rotate your neck and ankles.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing. You will want to be comfortable during long flights and do not want to restrict your body in any way.  First time fliers do not realize how cold an international flight can be and those thin airline blankets are simply not warm enough.  * Mighty Mouse says, “Purchase a pair of compression socks and put them on just before take off. Wal-mart carries an inexpensive brand. Prevents puffy toes and ‘cankles’ during long flights.”
Always have an extra pair of socks, underwear and extra toiletries in your carry-on. You never know when your overnight trip will turn into a multi-day event due to flight cancellations or delays.  *  Take a good face wash and toner.
Don’t be in the dark about the paperwork—customs declarations forms and landing cards. Make copies of these forms. You can find sample forms online. Keep a blue or black ink pen in your carry-on bag that is stowed in front of you and store your passport in that bag as well.
You prophyte flyers out there if you have anything to add please let me know.
Zie je als ik terugkom,

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