Are you looking to travel abroad, but are scared of the unknowns flying to another country? Or maybe you flew out of the country once already but had a stressful experience on the flights and at the airport? Traveling outside the country is a little different than flying domestically. However, using these helpful tips when flying internationally will ease your nerves so you can relax and enjoy your new experience.
When boarding an airplane to travel internationally you may be a little apprehensive. A new place with a different culture, language and way of life. The last thing you need is added stress when traveling to a different country. Here are helpful tips when flying internationally that I use each time traveling abroad.
Check Your Passport
At least 6 months before you travel make sure your passport is valid and up to date. Passports generally last for 10 years. However, most countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months after your return. It is cheaper and faster to renew your passport than to let it expire and apply for a new one. Renewing your passport in 2019 costs $110.
If you do not have a passport you need to apply for one. Go to your local post office to begin the application process. It costs $145 in 2019 for a new passport. In addition, there is a photo cost. You need to have a specific photo for your passport. A passport photo can be taken at your local Walgreens. They give you 2 copies and the correct size photo. The entire passport application process can take 6-8 weeks.
What to Expect on Your International Flight
I love flying on airplanes. It is exciting going to an airport and boarding an airplane. Usually it means you are leaving for a fun and relaxing vacation, or a new experience. It is a special feeling inside leaving your everyday life for an adventure full of new memories.
When traveling internationally you are asked to fill out custom forms on the airplane. When entering a different country you need to go through customs in the airport (first thing you do after getting off the plane) before being able to leave the airport.
Each person traveling needs to fill out a customs form on the airplane. This form includes filling out passport information and hotel/resort info like the name and address. So have that information handy in your carry on. Look at the form closely as you are filling it out as dates are written differently than normal. Once you are finished filling out the form keep it in a safe place close by as you will need it when you get off the plane.
Save Time By Having These Items Handy In Your Carry On:
- Pens. Bring enough pens for each person in your party to fill out a form. The flight attendants do not hand out pens with the forms. The customs forms are handed out when you are near your destination so there is not much time to fill them out. If everyone has a pen to fill out their form it is less stressful as no one is waiting.
- Passport. Make sure to have your passport handy when you are on the airplane. Besides needing it to check in at the airport, you will need it on the airplane. The customs form requires you to enter some of your passport information.
- Hotel/resort information. Have your hotel or resort information handy in your carry on. There is a portion on the form where you need to fill in the address of the place you are staying while abroad.
What to Expect When Entering the Visiting Country’s Airport
Once entering the visiting country’s airport, you will have to go through customs. The customs booth will keep most of the form but tear off a little slip from the form and give it to you. Keep this form in a safe place as you may need to present it to the customs department at security before leaving the country.
As you are exiting the airport people and companies may try to offer you free drinks or other free items. They are trying to sell you airport transfers or excursions. Keep walking until you get to your specific airport transportation..
During Your Vacation
Track everything you purchase while out of the country. Keep a list of all items you buy and how much you paid. You will have to list these items and their prices on the customs form that you fill out on your way home.
What to Know for the Flight Home
On the airplane going back home, you only need to fill out one custom form per family. This time you need your passport and your list of purchased items with prices. So have this information in your carry on to properly fill out the customs form. Also, keep a pen handy in your carry on.
Be prepared that the airport in another country can be very different than you are familiar with. Give yourself plenty of time to get through customs, security and to your gate on time.
When you enter your home country you will have to go through customs right off the airplane. It is hard to estimate how long going through customs may take. It depends on what day and time you are coming though and how many other international flights are arriving the same time as you.
Final Helpful Tips When Flying Internationally
Follow these tips when flying internationally for a smoother and stress free time traveling abroad. Keep a pen, passport, and hotel information easily accessible on the airplane with you to fill out customs forms. Keep your customs form slip in your carry on. While abroad keep a list of items you purchased and their price. When you fly home have your passport, a pen, and purchased items list handy in your carry on. Now that you know what to expect, you can relax and enjoy traveling internationally!