How to Make the Most of International Travel
By Kelly Cronin
We love to travel – from France to Ireland to the United States to Japan and beyond. Even avid travelers know the struggle of flying and traveling internationally. From figuring out a new language barrier to switching to a new currency, there’s many struggles you have to face for international travel. Everybody says how amazing it is, but nobody says how difficult it is. Don’t worry, we get it. After hundreds of international flights, we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) the best way to beat jet lag and those difficult travel scenarios. Here’s five tips for surviving international flights:
1) Bring snacks
When you’re flying for hours into a new timezone, you never know where or when your next good meal will be. On top of that, you don’t know what kind of food you’ll be able to get when you arrive (especially if you’re traveling to a completely different cultural destination). To keep your energy and not get hangry, make sure to bring some filling snacks that can survive a flight.
Note: If you’re crossing international borders, avoid taking produce. Produce is often not allowed to be transported internationally.
2) Drink lots of fluids
Long flights and travel are very dehydrating. Instead of sipping sodas or other beverages, opt for a lot of water. I always bring my refillable water bottle with me so once I get through security I can fill up a full bottle before stepping on the plane. You can also ask flight attendants to fill your water bottle throughout the flight so you can stay hydrated the whole time. Dehydration from traveling can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and plenty of other unwanted symptoms that will only add to your jet lag and fatigue. The amount necessary completely depends on your own body, but on average, doctors recommend drinking about 250ml of water per hour while traveling. Drink up before/during travel so you can arrive refreshed and ready to go!
3) Book transportation ahead of time
When you arrive to a destination after hours (maybe even days) of traveling, I can guarantee you won’t be in much of a mood to try and figure out public transportation or communicate with a taxi driver about your destination/price. When I travel, I always make sure to book my transportation ahead of time from the airport to my hotel. This is such a big stress relief when I arrive. After walking out of passport control/customs/baggage claim, I see my driver waiting for me with my name and feel instant vacation-mode. This is especially a good idea if you are traveling alone. I have had one too many occasions where my phone battery was dead/nearly dead, leaving me to fend for myself in finding transport in an unknown city with an unfamiliar language. Trust me: take every step you can towards hassle-free travel.
4) Choose your seat wisely
Picking your seat on an airplane seems like an easy task, but it should not be taken lightly. My recommendation is to pick your seat ahead of time. Never leave your comfort up to the jeopardy of getting a good seat on the plane, especially if you have long flights. Many airlines will let you choose your seat while you’re booking the flight, so you can have peace of mind long before your journey arrives. Things to keep in mind include if you want to have a view, be near (or far) from the restrooms, if you have a short connection and need to get off the plane quickly, if you like to stretch out and so on. Every traveler has their seat preferences, whether its window seat or aisle (or god forbid you prefer the middle seat). Choose wisely. Then you can sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.
5) Bring extra power
There’s a million reasons why we need our phones 24/7. To start, most of us use our phones for our boarding passes now. Plus, we need our in-flight entertainment with pre-downloaded movies from Netflix or latest addicting game or some relaxation from our favorite meditation app (a must-do for me on every flight). If you want to keep the phone life alive, a portable charger is a life-saver. The best portable phone charger for traveling is the NIFTY Mobile Charger with three charging options (phone, camera AND computer) so you can keep all your devices alive and well. And you can take a deep breath when you land knowing you can whip out your phone for Google translate or Uber if you need.