14 June, 2016

Tips for International Travel

I'm back from beautiful, sunny Cancun and have touched down in gloomy, bipolar hurricane Houston!  Needless to say, our landing was a depressing one as we left paradise and landed in a flurry of raindrops and lots of thunder.

If you read my previous post, you're familiar with a few items that I took with me on my trip to Mexico.  As I was packing, I realized that it had been a while since I'd been out of the country, and I wanted to be prepared for my flight to Cancun.  The airport is guaranteed to be a pain in the butt, so here are my tips to make your international trip as seamless as possible!
Cancun Mexico Airport

Make sure your passport is valid and not expired - This is a no-brainer, but you wouldn't believe the number of people that get stuck with an expired passport days before (or the day of) their travel and are either screwed or paying a crazy amount of money to expedite their passport.  Before you book an international trip, make sure that your passport is valid, and if it's not, plan ahead!  If your passport expires in 6 months or less from the date of your trip, you're probably better off renewing it (Read here for more information on why this a good bet).
PACK your passport - Again, a no-brainer, but things get hectic when packing for a trip and you never know what you might forget.  Make this the first thing that you throw into your purse or carry-on bag before you pack everything else!
International Travel Tips
Arrive 2-3 hours before your departure - Expect delays when travelling internationally.  You can't print your boarding pass ahead of time because of passport checks, so be sure to arrive with plenty of time to handle your biz.  If you're checking bags, try to arrive closer to 3 hours ahead.
Have your confirmation number easily accessible - Have your flight confirmation email open and ready to access, write down your confirmation number, put it in a note on your phone, anything.  You'll print your boarding pass more quickly and won't have to search through a million emails or papers.
Pack light - Running through the airport with a ton of shit is the worst.  Keep your trip stress-free, lightweight, and as easy as you can.  If you don't need to check a bag, don't!  Pack pieces that you can mix and match, and don't feel the need to bring a million pairs of heels like I do (I rarely end up wearing more than 1, if 1 at all)!
Dress comfortably and simply - Ain't nobody got time to take off watches, necklaces, earrings, and belts through security.  Sweats and a tank is my go-to, and I always wear flip flops when I can.  Minimize your time in the TSA line and don't worry about taking valuables off.
Bring a pen - I always forget this and then kick myself.  I'm a big believer that every woman should have a pen in her purse at all times, because you never know when you'll need it, and you somehow always need one when you don't pack a pen.  You'll have to fill out Customs documents on the plane, and you'll want to finish filling it out before getting off the plane.  The form is simple, but everyone else on the plane is scrambling to fill out the forms for their kids, yelling at their husbands, or they don't have a pen.  Be the smart one and pack a pen -- Maybe an extra for your neighbor too!
Be patient - Pack your patience.  I should take my own advice on this one.  You can't control the chaos that goes on in an airport, so bring your music and a book and just chill.

Let me know your best tips in the comments below!  I'll be sure to use them for my 'not yet planned but already dreaming of' international vacation!  I'll be posting more about my trip this week!

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