9 Essential Travel Tips For First-Time Flyers

Taking off on your first flight? We’ve got you covered. Flying to a new destination is a thrilling experience, but we also understand that it can be nerve-racking if it’s your first time. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best first-time flying tips and advice to help you get ready for your trip. 

1. Download the Airline App

First, download the airline’s app before leaving home. Log in and make sure the itinerary and correct personal information are populated. The app will come in handy if paper tickets aren’t issued or if there’s any trouble with the flight. Remember to toggle on any optional notifications to stay up-to-date about delays or flight changes.

2. Learn the Airline’s Luggage Requirements

Check any partner or connecting carrier luggage restrictions, as they may vary. Most carry-on guidance states passengers can bring one carry-on piece of luggage and one personal item. The latter is usually a smaller backpack or purse. If you wear a small cross-body bag and have a backpack and carry-on luggage, that qualifies as three pieces. Pro tip: Save time at the gate by putting the cross-body into one of the other two bags before boarding.

3. Pack Essentials in Your Carry-On

A good rule of thumb is to pack everything you need in a carry-on. Think: If your checked luggage is lost or delayed, can you enjoy the trip for a few days without it because the carry-on has everything you need?

Pack toiletries, which cannot exceed 3.4 fluid ounces for each item and must all fit into a quart-sized plastic baggie. Try bar soap, shampoo bars, and solid deodorant to minimize liquids. Keep medication in its original bottle with the prescription information attached. Add tech chargers, cords, and converters. Remember to empty water bottles (for security reasons, you must go through security with an empty bottle). There are usually water kiosks inside the terminal to fill up for free or shops with water for purchase. Include one or two days of clothing, non-liquid snacks to get you through the flight, your wallet, and all travel documents.

Never put documents with personally identifying information or tech devices in checked luggage. Always review TSA or another country’s equivalent website for the most current carry-on travel guidelines, and check once again the day before departure.

4. Check Identification and Travel Documents

Inspect any personal identification for accuracy and expiration dates. Some countries will not allow travelers to enter if their passport has less than six months until expiration. If your driver’s license or other identification has a former name that you’ve not taken the time to change, you need to do that before arriving at the airport, as your ID must match your airline tickets.

5. Learn How To Use Your Phone in Another Country

Most domestic service providers charge too much for an international plan, and it can be all too easy to rack up roaming charges abroad. Avoid any unnecessary problems by purchasing a Simfinity eSIM to stay connected when you travel. Getting started with an eSIM is easy. Simply visit the Simfinity website, select an eSIM package for your destination, install the eSIM before you depart, and instantly connect to a mobile network when you arrive. 

6. Check In Online

Most airlines allow you to check in online approximately 24 hours before the flight departs. Some airline apps will even provide your boarding pass, so you can bypass the ticket counter and go straight to the security gate. This can be a real time-saver when you arrive at the airport.

7. Arrive at the Airport Early

That brings us to our next tip: When to get to the airport. The general rule is to arrive two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international one. The reason for this is to give yourself enough time to get a boarding pass and make your way to the security gate. Have your ID easily accessible at each checkpoint to avoid delays.

8. Board the Plane

When it’s time to board, you’ll line up to present your boarding pass and ID to a flight attendant. Pay attention to the zone marked on your boarding pass — this will indicate when it’s time for you to join the line.

9. Prepare For Take Off

When you board the plane, place your carry-on luggage in an overhead compartment. Any personal items (like a purse or backpack) can be stowed under the seat in front of you. Buckle up and pay close attention to the security presentation. When it’s time to depart, the airplane will taxi to the runway and then take off. 

You’re all set for your first flight! If you’re flying internationally, remember to purchase a Simfinity eSIM to stay connected during your trip.