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Ten Tips for Flying Internationally

International travel is picking up again and will gain in numbers come this summer and fall. Flying is a necessary part of an international trip that is usually dreaded by travelers.

I remember my first international flight to Italy like it was yesterday. I was so excited to be traveling to Europe! Having acquired my passport, lira (the name for Italy’s currency until 2002), and the appropriate outlet adapters, I thought I was well-prepared.

But, as I soon discovered, flying internationally is a totally different ballgame than the domestic flights to which I’d been accustomed. Landing in Rome bored, groggy, dehydrated, freezing, and with swollen ankles wasn’t the ideal way to start my trip. But across the many international flights I’ve taken since then, I’ve picked up a handful of tricks.

Keep reading for my top ten tips for making international flying easy and breezy!

1. Lounge Because international flights often require you to arrive for check-in as much as four hours in advance of your flight, it’s worth it to purchase an airport lounge pass to make your time in the airport comfortable, like you’re in your own home. With speedy WiFi, free refreshments, cozy chairs, and sometimes even beds and showers, relaxing in the airport lounge will encourage you to get to the airport early and enjoy a meditative experience prior to boarding.

2. Upgrade When you book through me, we’ll discuss your many options for upgrading. I can help you find creative ways to upgrade before arriving at check-in or the departure gate. I often find that having the enhanced space and amenities of premium economy, business, or first class can significantly decrease the hassles of lengthy international flights.

3. Layer Being comfortable in flight often comes down to wearing and packing the right apparel. Choose breathable, loose-fitting layers that allow you to move your body freely. Consider packing a scarf or blanket that you can use to cover you if the plane is cold or to ball up as a pillow if the plane is hot. Wear compression socks that encourage circulation in your calves, ankles, and feet, and shoes that easily slip off. And if you normally wear contacts, consider glasses for extended international flights.

4. Sanitize

Even when we’re not in a global pandemic, it’s a good idea to wipe everything down in your temporary “home” for the next several hours. Pack antibacterial wipes to give a quick pass over the window shade, tray table, seatbelt, and overhead buttons, and sanitize your hands before consuming refreshments to avoid coming down with illness at your destination.

5. Hydrate

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Experts recommend drinking at least eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in flight, plus more if you’re also drinking alcohol or caffeine. You may consider electrolyte solutions like Gatorade or Pedialyte for enhanced hydration. And remember to keep drinking fluids after you land at your destination.

6. Move To encourage circulation in your body and avoid deep vein thrombosis, get out of your seat for a few minutes every hour and walk up and down the airplane aisles. If you’re restricted to your seat for whatever reason, flex and stretch your legs, especially your calves, to encourage blood flow.

7. Distract Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Pack your carryon baggage with an eye to distracting yourself and staving off boredom in flight. I recommend bringing your own headphones—noise cancelling if you have them, with an adapter if you’re an iPhone or iPad user—suspenseful books, blockbuster films, upbeat music, addicting games, and engaging podcasts, downloaded onto your devices in case of problems with the seatback entertainment.

8. Snack Overindulging on food in flight is best avoided, as it can make you feel sick. Likewise, we’ve all heard the jokes about “airplane food.” Pack or pickup healthy snacks at the airport like raw nuts, protein bars, or fresh fruit that will nourish and revive your body across its many hours in the air.

9. Sleep Don’t deprive yourself of sleep prior to or during flight! Use in-flight sleep gear like earplugs and an eyemask (often available on international flights) and bring along a neck pillow to make yourself comfortable and drown out the world around you. You might also consider a sleep aid, though whether its natural, over-the-counter, or prescription, try it before you fly! As much as possible, stick to your regular bedtime routine in flight—your body will thank you later.

10. Refresh Last but not least, pack small but essential toiletries to make you feel refreshed and at home in flight. I find that lotion helps revive my hands and face amidst the dry climate of the airplane, and a toothbrush, toothpaste, dry shampoo, and deodorant make me feel ready to hit the ground running at my destination upon landing.

If you’re ready to get started planning your next trip abroad today, drop me a line. After a year of quarantine, the friendly international skies are calling! Wherever your international travels take you, I’m wishing you a safe, speedy, and enjoyable flight.

You can book hotels or resorts directly on my link below and still lock in extra Vivo Travel Design amenities such as complimentary breakfast and resort credit as well as room upgrades and early check-in / late check-out when available. As always, I am here to assist if you would rather have me arrange your stay for you.

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