Tips for International & Domestic Travel

Travelling whether International or Domestic is both exciting and challenging.  I enjoy flying and have found that with a few tips both can be made effortless with a bit of pre-planning.   

 Domestic Travel Tips:

  1. Travel when possible late mornings or Saturday mornings for best prices and least amount of lines checking in at the airport.
  2. Park at satellite parking areas for good deals on overnight/weekly parking rates.
  3. Carry on your bags when taking connecting flights in case you have a delayed connection.  If you check a bag and have to connect within 30 minutes then you may make your flight, but chances are you bags will not when changing terminals.
  4. If you live close to an airport that is a “Hub” for a certain airline, it pays off to try to take flights on that airline exclusively.  Loyalty will be rewarded and you will wrack up frequent flyer miles quickly that you can use later for free flights or upgrades.  If you don’t live near a Hub, then take advantage of travel websites to locate the best deals.
  5. When carrying on luggage, take the time to pre-pack outer pockets of your bag with liquids and electronics (separately) that you can access easily in the security line.
  6. I carry a pair of socks in my purse when wearing sandals and slip them on just before entering the security line so I don’t have to go barefoot.  They also come in handy during the flight when they blast the AC freezing the heck out of me.
  7. Pack data cords in carry on bag in case you are stuck at layover.  Lots of airports now have power stations you can use at the gates to charge your phones and laptops.  If they don’t have these convenient charging stations, look for a logical place to plug-in a vacuum and you will likely find an outlet!
  8. Carry on all necessary medications and prescriptions – you never know when your bag will get lost or delayed!

International Flights:

  1. Take a late flight over to the country of your destination going eastward so you can travel at night when you would normally sleep.  This way you sleep on the plane and wake up somewhat rested and ready for a full day at your destination.  Remember “Red Eyes” are named such because that’s what you will have by the end of the trip.  Bring eye masks to fool yourself into thinking it’s night when travelling westward so you will at least get some rest leaving you ready to finish your day at your destination.
  2. Park close to the terminal or better yet, make arrangements for a friend or cab to pick you up upon your return if you will be jet lagged.  Too many people get into accidents returning from oversees flights because they are exhausted. 
  3. I always pack in an expandable suitcase on the way over to Europe which leaves room for my purchases on the way back.  I also bring a second smaller bag for my carry-on luggage for the way back.  Remember when you are in Europe they will NOT allow you to carry on a typical suitcase that US airlines allow.  They only allow the size of a large purse onboard so pack wisely on the way back and stuff that check-in bag full!
  4. I try to save my frequent flyer miles for my oversees flight upgrades.  Many airlines allow you to book an economy flight and use miles to upgrade to first class.  I usually upgrade to first class for the way over to Europe and fly coach back.  To me, it’s more important to get that good night’s sleep on the way over so I arrive fresh and ready to start my day in Paris.  The way home is all daylight hours where I will chat with the gals about the trip or watch movies or blog!
  5. Don’t count on data plugs in any Europe airport yet, although the club lounges all provide them.  Make sure you charge your phones before taking off for the airport and bring the converter plugs in your carry-on in case you are delayed leaving the country. 
  6. Bring documentation for medications and pack in original bottles in case you run out while oversees or a government official wants to know exactly what’s in your carry-on bag.  I travel with allergy needles, serum and an Epi pen so I always have a doctor’s note which states exactly what has been prescribed to leave no doubt with officials. 
  7. Bring proof of your hotel/accommodation reservations in your carry-on when returning to the US.  You would be surprised how many foreign countries want proof of dates/places where you visited while in their country before you leave. 
  8. Many European countries allow you to get some of the VAT (Value Added Tax) back when you leave the country.  When you purchase items in stores ask them for the forms to receive the VAT back and then post them from the airport once you have them properly stamped by the officials there.  Usually this is done before you enter security and post boxes are also usually outside security. 

 

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2 Comments
  • Brian Searl
    Posted at 13:07h, 25 July Reply

    Great tips.. I used to follow the one about flying exclusively with airlines who use the nearby airport as a “Hub” but they lost my loyalty with the new baggage fees. Now I’m flying Southwest almost exclusively unless of course I have no choice 🙂

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 16:16h, 25 July Reply

      Hi Brian,
      Thanks for reading my article and for chiming in!
      Over the years airlines have made their way to the top and bottom of my fav’s list. Many years ago I hated Continental, but then it was top of my list and now with the changes that have been going on they are losing a bit of favor with me. I don’t think the merger will be good and ultimately it’s us consumers that suffer the most.
      In the end, I fly the most convenient route at the lowest price and hope for FF miles to take more trips to Paris…yes, it’s always about Paris!
      Keep reading and commenting please!
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

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