10 Overseas Travel Tips
Flying any sort of long flight is just exhausting. How can sitting in a tiny cramped chair next to a bunch of strangers for hours be exhausting? There is never a level of comfort for your body to relax and re-energize! The time change alone can throw your body into complete shock and pure exhaustion. I know the first time I flew overseas I don’t think I fully slept for days, I was up at the wrong hours and trying to fall asleep before dinner. When you’re traveling somewhere to visit you don’t always have days to recuperate or maybe you do and in that case I highly recommend getting yourself in a good place before you go exploring a foreign country. You want to full immerse yourself in the culture and take in all those beautiful sights right? Well you simply can’t do that exhausted.
Most of my overseas travel is from London to Orlando, depending which way you are going it’s about a 7-9 hour flight. I have taken this flight during all times of the day and with a baby in tow so I am hoping to share some of my hard learned lessons on travel with you.
London to Orlando is also a 5 hour time difference which actually isn’t the worst but that doesn’t mean it the travel “hangover” is easier. I call it a “hangover” because it sure does feel like one when you finally reach your destination and you are thirsty, hungry, tired and sometimes have a headache for what seems like no reason. Spoiler alert: Flying dehydrates you significantly! I hope some of these tips will help you in your future travels whether they be overseas or locally.
1: Hydrate, hydrate and HYDRATE!
I can’t express this more! Your body is stuck up in a little capsule with low humidity and reduced oxygen. Your body is screaming for extra fluid by the end of that flight. Most people don’t like to drink too much because going to the bathroom in those tin cans aren’t ideal and who can blame them? Bring a reusable bottle with you and be sure to empty it BEFORE you go through TSA. Fill it up after security at any water fountain or restaurant for free and have as much of it as you can before, during and after your flight.
2: Bring Healthy Snacks.
Plane food is 90% of time pretty gross and unhealthy. I have flown the cheapest of airlines to the most expensive and I can tell you the food doesn’t always compare with the ticket price. Your body craves healthy food and the heavily sugared and fatty foods given on these flights leaves you feeling bloated and sluggish when you get off the plane. I usually also go for the vegetarian meals if I am hungry enough to eat their meals because you never know where they got their meat and how properly it’s been cooked. You are allowed to bring your own snacks through TSA so pack things like celery & carrots, roasted chickpeas, a protein powder and shaker you can mix on the plane, peanut butter & apples. There are endless variations of snacks you can bring with you to help you get through your flight feeling healthy and happy.
3: Avoid Alcohol
I know no one wants to hear this, especially me the avid wine lover. I love a long flight with free alcohol I mean that’s the jackpot right? I have anxiety with flying and a good red wine can always calm the nerves but I will warn you alcohol in ANY form is DEHYDRATING! You know how I feel about that already so do yourself a favor and stick to sparkling water or ginger ale to feel fancy on your flight. Your body will thank you.
4: Wipe Your Seat and Tray
Yes, I am asking you to be THAT person. You know the one with the Lysol wipes scrubbing everything around them down like a germaphobe. EVERYONE should be a germaphobe on any plane you get on. You have no idea when your seat or tray was cleaned last or who sat there before you. Even though some airlines do a great clean between flights it’s never possible to get all those germs out of that sticky seat you’re stuck in for the next however many hours. I promise you there has been boogers, drool, pee and vomit near or on your chair at some point in that planes lifetime. WIPE YOUR SEAT AND AREA DOWN. Last thing you want is you or your family to get sick on your European vacation you saved your whole life for.
5: Sleep on the plane
If you are lucky enough to be able to sleep anywhere I throughly envy you, if you are like me sleeping even at home is a hard feat. I try my hardest but can never sleep on planes. I do however try really hard to get as much rest as I can. If you choose to fly a red eye you will likely land in the morning and if coming from America to Europe it’s 8AM there but 3AM in your body’s clock. Red eyes are GREAT for kids especially since most children when tired enough can sleep just about anywhere. Adults however have a harder time with this and sometimes red eyes are not the best choice so before you book your flight think about the kind of traveller you are and what might suit you best. It’s harder with children but I prefer a midday flight so I arrive at my destination around dinner time and my body may keep me up a bit later but one early wake up the next day and you should reset pretty quickly. While trying to sleep on planes I really enjoy a good sleep mask and ear plugs like I mentioned. My favorite is Bedtime Bliss’s organic bamboo mask which I will link here. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t press again your eyes, also it comes with a little carry pouch thats perfect for your carry on.
This may sound like an odd one but your body is craving moisture during those long flights in low humidity. Bring a good hand cream, body lotion and facial moisturizer and apply liberally. I always keep a little bit of coconut oil in a small container mixed with lavender and thieves essential oils to use all over the body even my face. The lavender helps to keep you (and others around you) calm and thieves helps to boost your immunity.
7: Organize your documents
The most annoying part of travel for me is security and customs! Anyone else? Don’t get me wrong I am thankful for them to keep us safe while flying but taking your papers and passports in and out so many times while you’re trying to keep them safe can be monotonous. I highly suggest getting yourself a folder to keep papers from getting crumbled and everything in order. There are so many travel organizers on amazon to help keep everything together and safe. It makes traveling go more smooth when you feel organized and can reach into your bag without looking and know where everything you need is. We use a very basic yellow folder as our travel folder, it goes in the back part of our back pack so the folder doesn’t get bent and is ready for use at anytime but is also put away from wandering hands. Always watch your passports and documents while traveling very carefully and do not leave them anywhere unattended at an point in time.
8: Bring a pen Flying internationally
from America to Europe will require a landing card. Most airlines will give this to you during the flight to fill out at your leisure. I suggest to fill it out right away and put it into the aforementioned folder so you aren’t scrambling at the end of the flight, in hopes you may have fallen asleep. Any airline I have been on has never provided a pen, you could ask for one and i’m sure some one around you may have one and make you pinky swear to give it back or give you the death stare of annoyance… so just bring you own. You should always have a pen on hand anyway!
9: Put something noticeable on your luggage
I’m sure you have heard this one before but the amount of blue and black suitcases in an airport is astounding! We went ahead and bought an all green set, like BRIGHT green so we wouldn’t have a problem spotting our bags from afar. After long flights people are SAVAGES and will push a pregnant women aside to get their bags (yes I know this from experience). Also add something very noticeable like a big neon belt, sparkly ribbon, or thats 90’s scruchie you’ve held onto somewhere on the bag. This way you can see your bag the moment it drops onto the belt and get ready to fight the crowd to get it! Most people are actually very nice about it and lend a helping hand especially if you are alone with a child but still it never hurts to prepare. Also, always have a luggage tag with contact information in case your bag that was suppose to go to London goes to Dublin stead. Good Grief!
10: Don’t plan anything for the first day or two.
This is a tricky one especially for a quick getaway, you won’t have time to rest and are immediately off to the first vineyard tour you can find (because you didn’t drink on the plane right?!). Even if you don’t have time to get a full night’s rest find moments of quiet time and again stay hydrated and fed with healthy foods to keep you going until you can get a good nights sleep. If you are visiting for longer and have the time YOU MUST SLEEP! Get some rest I swear it will make the vacation a million times better when you can see the destination with clear unpuffy eyes and a happy demeanor. When everyone is well fed and rested thats a sure fire way to a great holiday!
I hope some of these tips have been helpful to you and inspire you to prepare for your future travels adequately so you can enjoy them for the true blessings they are. If you have any awesome tips I didn’t mention above please comment below or send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to give you a shout out and post them for everyone else. Have a truly wonderful day everyone and safe travels!