Finally, took that step and booked a flight to your dream travel destination? You’re probably very excited, but if it’s your first flight, it may be overshadowed by anxiety. As it is widespread to feel nervous before your first flight, we will share some tips on preparing for it and enjoying your trip.

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If you’re getting on a plane for the very first time in your life, the lack of experience may be causing you a lot of stress. First of all, don’t feel embarrassed. Every traveler, even the most seasoned flyer, including the pilot, had to take their first flight at some point. Just be glad that you can finally do it! It is also completely normal to feel nervous before doing something for the first time. The best thing that you can do is to prepare and learn about the procedures that come with flying. After getting to know the basics, try to focus on all the exciting things you will experience after landing. Once you get on the plane and land at your destination, you’ll likely want to repeat the experience. So get ready to fasten your seat belt and enjoy the view!

Flying checklist for a first-time flyer

First of all, keep in mind that the amount of preparation will depend on a few variables. The main ones to consider are the length and purpose of your flight and whether you’re flying domestically or internationally. While you’re still on the ground, it’s a good idea to know what you’re in for. Therefore, we will go over a few important things to make your first flight much less stressful. Here are our essential tips for first-time flyers:

1) Make sure you have the right documents

A woman researching and preparing for travel
Whatever flight you take, you will need to have a suitable form of identification. You will likely be required to show it during the check-in or just before you get on the aircraft. Keep in mind that your travel will likely require a bit more preparation if you’re flying internationally. Above all, make sure to check what documents you will need during your travel. For international flights, it will likely be your passport. Check also if you have to get a visa to enter the country of your destination. You’ll find that some countries offer flying passengers the option of getting a visa on arrival. Others, on the other hand, require you to apply for a visa weeks before the flight. For your peace of mind and a successful trip, learn about these procedures as much in advance as possible.

2) Be aware of luggage rules

A woman measuring luggage before flight

Before throwing everything into a suitcase, visit the airline site you’re flying with and check their system and rules regarding luggage size. Pay special attention to the hand luggage allowance and what kind of bag can be carried aboard the aircraft. Many airlines have luggage weight and dimension restrictions, so inspect that too. By making sure that your luggage is well-organized and fits within the size limit, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress, embarrassment, and money. Yes, you’ve read that right! If you didn’t know, a hefty fee might apply if your luggage is bigger than specified by the airline. So pack well, and perhaps forget about that extra pair of shoes.

Apart from these, you also need to be aware of some rules that have to do with aviation security. You may have heard that there’s a special rule regarding the quantities of liquids you can carry onboard the aircraft. If you don’t want your shampoo, hair conditioner, or other liquids like gels and creams to end up in the trash, put them in small containers (max. 100 ml). Or pack them in your checked luggage. By the way, this also applies to water. You can buy bottled water after security or bring your own bottle and use water stations at some airports.

3) Get a good seat and check-in online

Many airlines these days give you the option to check-in online. The online check-in option is especially convenient when flying with just hand luggage. In such a case, you do not need to wait in a queue at the airport. Just make sure to download your boarding pass from the airline’s site and have it ready on your mobile or print it out. By the way, if you want to better enjoy the view while in the air, consider reserving a window seat.

4) Arrive early

Give yourself plenty of time and get to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. If you have to check in your luggage, you’ll want to get there even earlier. That way, you’ll avoid unexpected last-minute issues. You’ll also feel calmer when going through security and boarding your flight. Airports tend to get busy, and some of them are very large, so getting where you need can take some time. If the airport you’re departing from has more than one terminal building, make sure to check which terminal you should get to board the airplane. You can usually find that information on your boarding pass.

5) Double check what you’re packing

Ensure that you’re not carrying any forbidden items, such as scissors, tools, or liquids over 100ml in your hand luggage. During the security step, you will have to put your belongings, including money and electronics, onto a conveyor belt to have them scanned.  Preparing in advance and being well-organized can make this experience much smoother. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to do, the airport staff will instruct you.

6) Pack some small essentials to fly with

Essentials for a long-haul flight; earplugs, eye mask, neck pillow.
Due to the change of pressure when taking off and landing, the feeling in your ears can get very uncomfortable. To avoid it or deal with it quickly, flyers recommend chewing gum or wear earplugs. To make the time in the air go faster, make sure to pick a tracklist with your favorite songs or podcasts. Or you can grab an eye mask and take a nap to wake up at your destination. And if you’re in for a long-haul flight, consider getting a neck pillow to feel your best after the flight.

Special considerations for flights during COVID-19

Keeping in mind the current pandemic, there are a lot of safety restrictions on travel. If you fly during this unusual time, make sure to check updates as requirements can change suddenly. Be sure to check what other documents you might need in addition to an ID or passport. For instance, some countries may require travelers to complete a COVID-19 test and fill out a questionnaire before the flight. Keep in mind that many places like restaurants are closed at airports. In addition, masks are required on the airport grounds, as well as on the plane. We recommend that you regularly visit your airline’s and the airport’s site to keep informed.

Finally, no matter the circumstances you’re flying in, keep calm and have a safe flight!

Excited couple with luggage at the airport