How to avoid being an awkward first-time flyer

It’s easy to spot the first-time traveller. And it’s not just the selfies and the brand-new travel gear. They get caught out because they often don’t realise things like the plane will be cold or which items need to be declared. Small things but they can add up to a less than comfortable trip! Here are some tips that will make you look like a frequent flyer.

Check in early

Download the airline app and use it to check in early so you can avoid lines when you arrive and pick your preferred seat. There are more negatives than positives about getting stuck next to the bathroom or at the back of the plane where the engine is loud, so why not get ahead of the crowd.

Ask for an upgrade

At the counter, ask for an upgrade or at least if you can be seated next to an empty seat. Sleeping is much better when you can stretch out a little and it never hurts to ask. 

Pack your own headphones

A common newbie thing to do is to use the airplane headphones (which are pretty average quality) and watch the airplane shows instead of having a series downloaded on your device. Of course, it’s a good opportunity to watch new releases but if you travel regularly then you’ve probably already watched them and will be grateful for downloaded music, shows and books when offline.

Charge electronic devices before you fly

It sounds simple but the flight can seem pretty bleak if your device dies early on in the flight.

Pack a Sleep Kit

Pack things to help you sleep, whether it’s a travel pillow, noise cancelling earbuds, a face mask or whatever helps you to nod off.

Bring a water bottle 

Avoid paying high airport prices or waiting for the minature water bottles on the plane. Fill it up after security though or you’ll have to either throw your bottle away or drink it on the spot! Humidity levels happen to be higher on a plane so don’t be surprised if you’re extra thirsty.

Dress for comfort

Yes, as before mentioned the plane is cold. Even if you’re travelling somewhere sweltering and exotic you’ll need warm clothes when the aircon kicks in. Travelling with a jacket is an easy fix. And you’ll probably end up taking your shoes off for a long flight, so pack some comfy socks too.

Don’t eat everything offered to you

If you’re full then don’t take it. Sometimes you get offered food and alcohol constantly which can make your jet lag worse. It’s tempting to overeat when you’re on a plane for the first time, so just take the meals you especially like and keep drinking water. 

Bring a pen

Fill in forms for immigration on the plane and save time when you land.

Take toiletries

If it’s your first time flying, then you might be surprised to find you wake up with an urge for a shower. Packing baby wipes can help. And if you’re one of those people who like the fresh breath feeling, pack your toothbrush too.

Sleep well

If it’s an overnight flight then you might want to consider taking a sleeping tablet. But wait till you’re on the plane. You don’t want to be walking around the airport like a zombie if your flight is delayed. 

Move around 

Although it’s annoying to ask your seat mate to move so you can get up, your body will thank you if you move around a little. Go for a walk or do some stretches at the back of the plane to help with stiffness and sore muscles.

Organise transport ahead of time

Organise a lift ahead of time or download a local transport app to your phone and get a local sim right away if you can, then you can use reputable transport like Uber or Lift and avoid paying questionable taxi fees. 

Adjust early

On the plane, change your watch to the destination time so you can start adjusting and soften the jetlag.

Be prepared for lines

If you arrive home with items that need to be declared, be prepared to wait in long lines. If it’s an item of low significance, then a frequent traveller will probably decide it’s not worth the wait and not pack it in the first place.

Maybe you can identify with these first-time traveller traits, or better yet learn from those who have gone before and travel like a pro. 

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