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What You Need To Know When Taking Your First International Trip

What You Need To Know When Taking Your First International Trip

When you are planning to take your first international flight to visit and tour other countries, there a few things you should know before hand about the flight and what to do when you get to your destination.

When you make your airline reservations whatever you do get an aisle seat.  Even if you have to go to the airport to pick up the tickets an aisle seat is MOST important on those long flights.  My husband, John, and I always, and I mean always, get aisle seats across from each other on the plane unless it is a plane that has a bank of seats with only have two seats in the bank.

Take some really comfortable shoes. I always wear my comfortable shoes on the plane because they take up too much room in the suitcase (they’re Rockports, clunky but comfortable).

When you get on the airplane, snag a blanket and a pillow for everyone in your party.  They are always scarce and you might not need it right away, but you will later. Take sleeping pills with you and try to sleep, it helps.  You will arrive very early in the morning and will be exhausted if you don’t try to get a little sleep.  I can never sleep on airplanes but the pills help me relax a little. You will be landing very early in the morning so your hotel room will not be available until two in the afternoon. There have been plenty of European hotel lobbies I have slept in until I could get into my room.

Don’t wear anything that is nylon on the plane because it will not breathe. The most comfortable thing is a long loose dress or skirt and a top with sleeves. For men causal slacks and a long sleeved shirt either with or without a sport coat. The best thing I ever wore was a floor length jeans dress with sleeves that buttoned all the way up from the hem to the neck.  If it was hot, I unbuttoned it; if it was cold I buttoned it all the way up. Worked like a charm.

When you are on the airplane get up and walk around every hour unless you are asleep.  This will keep your ankles from swelling and don’t take off your shoes, just loosen them. Drink lots of water and avoid salt.  Food on the airlines is minimal and awful.   I’ve been known to pack sandwiches that are far better than anything they have to offer, just make sure you eat them before you land.

Keep toiletries in your carry on, toothpaste, tooth brush, moisturizer, waterless face cleanser (the sinks on the plane in the bathroom are nasty) and tissues for removal.  Moisturize your body a lot on the plane because the dry and recycled air zaps your skin. I take a small spritz bottle filled with water and spray my face every once in a while, it soothing and keeps my face hydrated.  Don’t laugh the stewardess’s do this too. Be sure you take diarrhea and constipation pills with you.  When I travel long distances one or the other always gets me. One trick I learned is to take some Neosporin with you and Q-tips. Put the Neosporin on the Q-tip and dot the base of your nostril with it. This will stop any germs that are circulating in the closed cabins.

Don’t over pack. If you are not going on a cruise you will be schlepping your bags either everyday or every few days. My advice is to pack all of your clothes in tan, black and white which can all be interspersed with each other. One pair of black slacks and one pair of tan slacks can be paired with a variety of tops. A couple of scarves help make outfits different for the ladies and also come in handy as a head cover for religious sites. One pair of dark slacks and a pair of Khakis also work with different shirts for the men. Don’t forget a travel umbrella.

Make sure your camera is in working order, you do not want to miss any of interesting things in the countries that you are visiting.  Take plenty of extra photo cards if you are taking digital because I assume you won’t be taking a laptop to download you pictures every night. Buy that stuff locally and get more then you think you need, don’t cheapskate on this, over there it will cost you your eyeteeth. Besides you can always return it!

You want to take a daytime touring pack that zippers closed.  Carry in it, bottled water, Tums, hand wipes, a collapsible cup, alka-seltzer, SUNSCREEN AND LIP BALM, a small snack, an extra pair of glasses, both sun and prescription, a hat and if you are on a long bus ride, a book. I would also pack eye shades so if you are on that long bus ride you can black out the sun for a nap. Keep money and credit cards inside in a zippered compartment.

While you are out enjoying your new destination never put your pack over the chair back or on the chair beside you when at a café or dining alfresco.  I would always put the pack strap looped underneath the chair leg so no one could run off with it.

Take lots of ones and fives.  They are useful for street vendors and tips.  Everyone loves the dollar.  You will need to change some of your money into the currency of the country that you are touring.  Shop around before you go to get the best deal.  If you have a good relationship with your bank, they may be the best deal you will find. You will have to convert some of your cash into the local currency for little items like water, lunch or soda. Remember that no country will reconvert coins so spend those liberally. I know this very well since I have a necklace and a bracelet made out of foreign coins.

Just use common sense when you are touring. Keep in mind that you are visiting another country and they don’t have the same rules as your home country. It is always best to respect their customs and laws; you are, after all, just visiting.

Happy Traveling, enjoy it, we do!


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