Careful planning and a little bit of research can make international air travel faster, safer, and more convenient. The most important step in preparing for international travel is getting all of the necessary documentation and information in order. Researching the specific layout and policies of all the airports and airlines involved in a trip can speed the travel process. International air travel is often grueling, and it can be helpful to take specific steps to ensure a comfortable and healthy flight.
All international air travel requires documentation. Passports are almost always needed, and a visa requirement is not uncommon for travelers to countries with which their home nations have difficult relations. Making sure that these vital documents are in order and that backup copies are stored safely both in luggage and with someone else is crucial.
Travelers will often need to have or produce other documentation. Many nations require customs declarations for citizens and non-citizens alike. Supporting documents such as receipts are needed for expensive items and should be obtained and saved. Nations may require travelers to provide other specific pieces of information in response to current events, and this should be researched before embarking on international air travel. In some cases, these requirements can be unexpected, such as a Russian requirement that a visitor present medical proof of a negative HIV status.
Unusual baggage items often require supporting documentation as well. Prescription medications commonly require a copy of a doctor’s order. Artwork or similar unusual items may need special documentation from the country of origin and may also need to be declared.
It is a good idea to study the security requirements of each airport that will be part of an itinerary. This information is usually available on the Internet. A little bit of research can minimize the amount of time spent in screening and will ensure that no personal effects are confiscated.
Travelers can minimize one of the major difficulties of international air travel by researching the layout and policies of the airports and aircraft before a flight. Knowing the path through an unfamiliar airport can mean the difference between making and missing a crucial connection. Similarly, taking the time to read through an airline’s policies can save both time and money.
International air travel exacts a toll on the body, but careful planning can minimize both discomfort and jet lag. If possible, arrange flights to allow a reasonable amount of sleep on the aircraft, as this can help to reset the body’s rhythm to a new time zone. Comfortable travel clothes and shoes make air travel more pleasant, and many travelers bring along neck pillows in order to sleep more comfortably. Headphones or ear plugs can aid in screening out cabin noise.