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24 Hacks for flying internationally


Staff member
Jan 19, 2024
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Traveler stands by railing overlooking the city of Lisbon, Portugal and the ocean beyond it.

Let’s be honest, Miley Cyrus’s new album has us all wishing for summer. What better way to start off your summer than with a little getaway?

Maybe your dream destination is in another country, but the thought of flying internationally seems daunting. We’ve got you covered with the best international travel hacks from planning your trip to getting off the plane. Flying internationally just got so much easier!

Here’s our top tips:

Hacks for booking your flights​

Aerial view of a beach in Costa Rica with green forest jungle above and deep blue-green waters below.

As summer draws nearer and temperatures rise, flight prices rise even higher. We see prices spike from late May to late July, as this is the most popular travel period of summer. Typically, the cheapest time for international summer trips is early May or late August, so you might want to try to plan your vacation around then.

  • Book early for the best deals – For international flights, we’ve found it best to buy your ticket 2-6 months in advance, so start looking now! Also, if you start looking early, you have more chances of finding sales and promo codes. Ultimately, the earlier you plan, the more money you can end up saving.
  • Download the airline app – Stay in the loop by getting flight updates. For airlines like Delta and United, you can check your flight’s status in their mobile app. This will keep you informed if your flight is on time, delayed, or canceled.
  • Earn travel miles – Save money on future flights with airline rewards programs—the more you travel, the more points you can earn. Pro-tip: you can still earn reward travel miles even if you book with StudentUniverse!

Need ideas for the best travel destinations? We recommend visiting these places this summer:

Hacks for packing​

A partially packed suitcase with some clothes inside and papers, and passport on the floor beside it.

Now that you’ve bought your plane ticket, the next step to getting ready for your dream vacation is packing. Even though it is tempting to bring all of your cute outfits, you can still pack light and change things up by mixing and matching your clothes. Still overwhelmed by the bulk of your suitcase? Here’s our tips for making packing easy.

  • Put essentials in your carry-on – Pack at least one change of clothes and essentials in your carry-on just in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.
  • Label your bags – Chances are someone else will have a suitcase that looks like yours. Put a bright ribbon or a sticker on your suitcase so it is easy to spot.
  • Stick to a carry-on – See if you can fit everything in your carry-on! You can save a lot of money by not checking a bag.

Keep your essentials with you. Here’s our top items we always bring on long-haul flights:

  • Toiletries – We love bringing a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, and moisturizer onto long-haul flights. This makes it easy to quickly refresh yourself before your plane lands.
  • Cosmetics bag – This is for guys too! Put all your chargers and other technology into one small bag and keep it with you. This way you won’t be rummaging around your bag for the charger you need.
  • Water bottle – Bring an empty one that you can bring through security and avoid the insane prices airports charge for water. It is easier for your body to become dehydrated when you’re flying, so drink lots of water. It is also helpful to avoid caffeine and alcohol which dehydrates you quicker.
  • Neck pillow – International flights can be very long, so you’ll want to be comfortable and get some sleep. Bring melatonin to knock yourself out quicker.
  • Ear plugs – You never know how noisy the people on your flight may be, so these are also helpful if you’re trying to get some sleep.
  • Headphones – If you want to watch movies on the plane, make sure to bring wired headphones with an audio jack. Many international airlines will offer you a free pair of these headphones, but it never hurts to have your own.
  • A pen – Always keep one with you so you’re ready to fill out customs papers. We recommend filling them out on the plane so you are ready to go right when your plane lands.
  • Portable charger – Watching movies and listening to music will drain your phone battery quicker, so a portable charger will help keep your phone charged up.
  • Souvenirs – You’ll want to bring some back, so don’t forget to leave room in your suitcase.

Hacks while on the flight​

Top-down view of a person reading a book while sitting cross legged on white sheets with a mug of tea.

International flights typically take between 8-16 hours, so make sure you bring something to keep you busy! Here are 6 things to keep in mind to help you not die from boredom.

  • Bring reading material – Bring a good book, Kindle, coloring book, or crossword puzzle to pass the time.
  • Download movies & music – Before your flight, make sure to download your movies and music. All airlines are different, and sometimes you have to pay for Wi-Fi (which can be slow, over-priced, or even non-existent).
  • Look for free Wi-Fi – However, if there is Wi-Fi, look into your airline’s free Wi-Fi and connect to it right away. This will allow you to stream movies, TV shows, play games, or even read magazines.
  • Bring hand sanitizer/wipes – You can never be too safe about germs!
  • Reset your phone clock – Set your watch to the local time of your destination. This will help in knowing when to sleep on the plane, so your body clock can adjust quicker to the time change. When you get on the plane, you can also try setting a timer on your phone for the length of the flight duration.
  • Make friends – Introduce yourself to your neighbor! A quick hello could make all the difference and make your flight more comfortable. Remember, you’re in a close space with them for a long time, so you might as well get to know them.

Hacks to arrange for transportation early​

Busy street of London with a red telephone booth on the sidewalk.

Make a plan for how you will get around before you go. That way, you won’t have to worry about finding transportation after you get off the plane.

  • Choose public transportation – Consider taking the bus or the train, as they are much cheaper than taxis or Uber. Many cities have public transportation apps that you can download so you can see arrival times and routes.
  • Rent a car – If you are at least 20 years old and licensed to drive in another country, consider renting a car. We have the best deals for student rental cars.
  • Get your international driver’s license – You don’t need to take a test or anything! Just head to any AAA location and bring your driver’s license for proof of eligibility. The entire process is quick and it only costs $20.

These international flight hacks will help you prepare for your endless summer vacation so you can spend less time stressing about your 14-hour flight, and more time relaxing on a beach in Greece. Now all you need is the cheap flights to make it happen—find the cheap student flights for your summer getaway on StudentUniverse.

The post 24 Hacks for flying internationally appeared first on StudentUniverse Travel Blog.
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