Traveling for the first time? These tips for first-time flyers will guide you, from airport tips, how to deal with flying anxiety to all the necessary info.
We have all been first-time flyers at least once in our lives. The first time on a plane can be exciting but at times overwhelming as you don’t know what to expect or how to feel about the entire experience.
Normally as a first-time traveler, you have so many questions about traveling ranging from what to do at the airport, how to check-in at the airport, when to arrive at the airport, what the cabin luggage size should be, the carry on essentials you should pack or even how to book your hotel or air ticket in the first place.
All these questions can be daunting if you don’t have where to get the answers from.
With this post, you’ll get all the necessary tips for first-time flyers from carry on luggage rules to how best you can handle flying anxiety.
Related post: Important travel tips for first time travelers
First Time Flying Tips
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Tips for first-time flyers before your travel date
You’re about to fly to a new country– yay congratulations!! But before you experience your first time flying on a plane, there are some important things you should do before traveling.
These will determine whether you’ll get to the plane or your dreams will be crushed.
Obtain a visa
The type of visa to be obtained will depend on the reason for traveling and where you’re traveling to.
The types of visas can range from a tourist visa, business, student, work, to many others. To see the general visa requirements, check with you’re nearest consular of the country you’re traveling to.
But some of the common visa requirements for most embassies include;
- Proof of a booked air ticket; round trip. If you haven’t booked your flight ticket yet, compare the prices of different flights with Skyscanner to choose the best deal.
- Proof of hotel booking. The country you’re traveling to wants to be sure that you already have where to stay when you reach in their country. Not sure where to stay while in an absolutely new country, book your ideal hotel with booking.com or Hotelscombined to enjoy endless deals on discounted hotel rooms.
- A copy of your bank statement. Are you able to take care of yourself while in a foreign country? The embassy will always require a bank statement to gauge whether you can actually survive in their country. The embassy usually states the minimum amount that should be on your bank account for a certain period of time to be eligible to enter their country. (Pease note that this depends on the passport you’re holding and where you’re traveling to).
- Yellow fever Card. Even though a yellow fever card is mandatory in some countries, some of them do not require it. So, again, check with the embassy requirements to see if it’s needed.
Make a research about the country you’re traveling to
The best way to know about the country you’re traveling to is by making extensive research. You don’t want to be shocked on the first day you land in a new country.
It is wise to at least know some of the basics of the country from their culture, dressing code, food to the cost of living.
If you’re a budget traveler, you may want to read this post that shows how to travel on a budget.
Come up with an itinerary
I know some travelers are all about being spontaneous but having an itinerary can save you a lot of time and money by making you more organized.
Not sure which activities to go for in a certain country, click on this link to select activities you want to do based on the area or country you’re traveling to.
First time flying tips on your flight date
As a first time traveler, you might be asking yourself; how do I prepare for my first flight?
Some of the things to know when flying for the first time on your flight date are endless but we are going to look at the most important ones like when to arrive at the airport, airport check-in process, what to do when you get to the airport and all the general airport tips and hacks.
Don’t carry luggage that weighs more than what the airline allows unless you’re willing to pay for the extra kgs.
The accepted kgs of your luggage are always indicated on your ticket, so be sure to check it to avoid extra fees. You can buy this travel luggage scale to help you weigh your luggage before you go to the airport.
Find out what you can bring on a plane and all the hand luggage restrictions.
Every airline has different rules, so check with your airline to see what you can take in your hand luggage and the carry on luggage weight acceptable.
In that same manner, find out what you can take into a certain country and what you can’t. There are a number of packing lists online to help you know what to pack and below are some that you can check out.
- Packing list for Africa
- Packing list for Egypt + what to wear in Egypt
- Things to pack in your carry on
- Packing list for Paris in winter
- Ski trip packing list
- Europe in winter packing list
- Hostel packing list
- Beach packing list
- Packing list for a weekend getaway
What to wear on a plane
Wear comfortable clothes while flying. By comfortable, I don’t mean high heels or jungle boots but rather sweat pants, a comfortable pair of jeans, a t-shirt, or a really comfortable top are ideal.
Some of the comfortable clothes you can wear on a plane include;
- These kinds of sweatpants
- Leggings – every girl traveler needs a pair of these cute and comfortable leggings
- Warm and compression socks – ones you can keep on during the flight if you choose to take off your shoes.
- A warm fleece and a large scarf – it gets cold in the plane.
- A pair of comfortable shoes – this pair of sneakers always does it for me.
Wear easy to remove shoes. As you go through the security check at the airport, you’re going to have to take off your shoes a couple of times. So instead of wearing gladiator shoes will endless shoelaces to untie, opting for flip flops or sneakers is a better choice.
Pro tip: Make sure you don’t have smelly feet or shoes as you don’t want to be embarrassed at the airport when you take off your shoes.
But if you do, worry not, this fungus treatment will heal the smelly feet before your big trip.
Forego the belt if you can or wear clothes that don’t require one. While going through security, you’re required to remove your belt every now and then. So, if you don’t want to be inconvenienced, just do away with it.
While still at the point of packing, there are some travel essentials you should not leave behind as you travel. Below are some of them.
Travel Essentials you should never leave home.
– A universal travel adapter: Since different countries use different adapters, I’d advise you to buy one universal travel adapter to cater for all regions.
You can buy one from here if you don’t have it yet.
– A power Bank: One of the things you should never leave behind while traveling is the Powerbank!
Phones have now become a great deal of our lives that we need to use them for so many important things.
So take a power bank with you so that you don’t run out of battery. This power bank is small, light, and has the capability to charge your phone and other devices multiple times.
– Microfibre travel towel – I always opt for this microfibre travel towel because it is super lightweight, easy to wash, and dries easily.
– First Aid kit: Regardless of where you’re traveling to, you’ll need to pack a First Aid kit for emergencies that might arise while traveling.
Remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Just make sure that the one you pack has all the essentials and that it is small and light enough to fit in any kind of suitcase/ backpack.
This first aid kit actually fits all the qualities mentioned above plus it is really cheap for what it offers.
– Collapsible water bottle: I always prefer carrying a water bottle while traveling so that I can just refill it when I run out of water.
It also helps be a responsible traveler since you won’t have to use tones of disposable plastic bottles which are not great for our environment.
Any water bottle can work but I prefer this collapsible one as it doesn’t take a lot of space in my bag.
First time flyer Airport tips
- Reach at the airport 2 hours before your flight time if its an international flight and 1 hour before if its a domestic one.
You’ve probably heard this countless times but it’s not just the excitement of a first flyer that should make you be at the airport early but also the fear of missing your flight.
- Check your ticket to confirm the terminal where your flight is to be. For big airports, make sure that your taxi driver drops you off at the exact terminal, or else you’re bound to waste a lot of time looking for your terminal or even “get lost” and eventually lose your flight.
- Be sure to have your passport, ticket, and all the necessary documents at all times. You can buy this this travel neck pouch to help you keep your travel documents organised.
- Use the screens in the airport to locate your check-in point so that you don’t end up at the wrong counter when the check-in time reaches.
- Ask for help from the airport officials. If anything goes wrong or you’re not sure of where to go, don’t panic; politely ask the airport staff for help and they will be at your service.
- Reach the check-in point on time.
- Request for a window seat at check-in. (that is if you want to enjoy the outside views from the plane). While at check-in, you’re given an option to choose the seat you want (if the attendant is generous enough to ask).
- When you’re given your boarding pass, memorize the gate number you’ll use to access the plane.
- Head to your departure gate and keep an ear out for any announcements related to your flight.
- Be sure that the boarding pass is with you at all times as it’s what you’ll use to board the plane. You can check out more airport tips from here.
Related post: How to pack light when traveling
First time flight: Tips for when you board the airplane
- Only sit on the seat number allocated to you on your boarding pass. Seat numbers look like 35A, 1B, & 27C and they are always located on the overhead bin above the plane seats.
- Place your hand luggage in the overhead bin, if it’s a small handbag or purse, place it under the seat in front of you. Now you can sit and get comfortable.
- Fasten your seat belt and wait for further instructions from the flight attendants.
- You will be given instructions on what to do in case of an emergency but don’t panic, that is the routine for all flights, not that something bad is anticipated to happen.
- If you are a nervous flyer, I recommend you don’t look outside the window until you get comfortable otherwise you might get more nervous. Regardless of how fun flying on a plane is, I’ve found it a bit scary a couple of times to look outside the window.
- Flying can get boring, more so if the flight is for long hours, so don’t just sit there: you can read a book, watch a movie if the plane you’re in has that provision, write if you’re a writer or a blogger or just sleep to kill the boredom.
- Wake up to watch the sunrise. If you traveled in the wee hours of the night, wake up to see the sunrise. The sunrise on a plane is one of the best sunrises you’ll ever see, so if you’re up for it- don’t miss out on it.
- Don’t be scared of Airplane Turbulence -“bumping of the airplane during the flight.” Chances are high that you’ll experience airplane turbulence but don’t freak out as this is absolutely normal especially when the weather is not so good.
I have to be honest, I freaked out on my first flight because of this. However scary it might seem, you’re actually not in danger- you’re plane is not going down. Just tighten your seat belt if you had removed it before.
Even after following all those guidelines above, there are other unwritten airplane etiquettes that you should be aware of as a first-time flyer.
How do you calm your nerves when flying?
- Try to fall asleep so that you don’t hear the bumping of the plane.
- Watch an interesting movie that takes away your concentration from the turbulence.
- Don’t be uncomfortable in silence; the flight attendants are there to serve you, so if you have anything you want to know, just ask and help will be on its way.
- Chew gum or sweets. First-time flights can be exciting but complicated too. My first-time flight experience was rather painful as I had constant ear pain almost half the entire flight. What was the cause?
The difference between the air pressure inside the inner ear and the pressure outside. Normally, the pressure in the inside inner ear is equal to the outside pressure, but due to the rapid change of altitude while flying, there is an imbalance that causes ear pain.
How do you make sure it doesn’t happen to you? Chew gum. Chewing gum helps equalize the air pressure in the inside inner ear and that of the outside pressure.
Lastly, have fun. Forget the anxiety and pain and enjoy the flight. You’re never gonna have another first-time flight experience, so forego all the distractions and enjoy all that comes with flying.
First-time flyer: Tips for when you leave the plane.
- The first thing to do when you board off the plane is to locate where your baggage is being dropped. Chances are high that you don’t know where, so use the direction arrows and screens in the airport to locate the cargo drop off area for your plane. Again if you can’t locate it, ask for help from the airport staff.
- After getting your luggage, locate the customs area to get the necessary stamps to let you enter and stay in their country.
- Get an airport cab if you didn’t arrange for airport pick up and begin your adventures.
- Have fun, loosen up, be smart, stay safe, enjoy your trip to a new country, and don’t forget to take lots of pictures.
Check out this post to discover more travel tips and hacks that will help you as a first-time traveler.
Are you planning to take your first trip overseas or it’s your first time flying, I hope these tips were helpful.
Did you have a fun or weird experience during your first time on a plane? I would love to read your experiences and don’t forget to share with others that may need these tips.
More travel tips to help you plan your trip