It’s been 30 years since I took my first international trip. Back then, my parents walked me to the gate, and people still dressed up for the privilege of air travel.
Much has changed, and over my 25+ years as a missionary and traveling speaker. I have gathered the following travel tips I pray will be useful to you as you go where He leads.
Travel Tip #1 – Don’t check a bag!
Not checking a bag saves time when you arrive, avoids luggage loss, and keeps you flexible if flights change.
Travel Tip #2 – Don’t use a third-party website when booking air travel.
Third-party websites like Booking.com, Expedia and Orbitz can be useful in research, but if you need to change your flight, most airlines won’t work with you unless you’ve purchased the flight directly from them.
Travel Tip #3 – Consider a lounge pass.
Whether you fly frequently enough to get a year-round pass, or have a long day with multiple stops, check in with Priority Pass, or your airline carrier to see what options you have.
A Priority Pass is a network of more than 1,300 lounges available around the world, entitling members to a relaxing space and food and drink before their flight. Some Priority Pass benefits even extend beyond lounges to restaurants within the airport terminal, allowing members to save money on meals.
With free food, drinks, WIFI, and a quiet place to work or sleep, a lounge has often saved me money, and allowed for a hot shower en route internationally.
Travel Tip #4 – Sign up for TSA pre-check / global entry.
Paying extra for TSA pre-check & Global Entry might feel like a luxury, but on many occasions, has meant the difference in not missing a flight.
Going quickly through a border crossing or a security checkpoint has helped me arrive at my destination without inconvenience or delay.
Travel Tip #5 – Say no to any requests for a seat change, flight change, or airport change.
May times airline agents will make a various change requests to passengers. Find a different agent. Most of the time “no” means “I don’t want to,” or “I don’t have time for this.”
Especially when your travel plans have been disrupted, keep asking until you find someone sympathetic. They are out there! (Then reward them with kindness and a written recommendation.)
Travel Tip #6 – If you are stuck in an airport overnight: locate a family bathroom.
On more than one occasion, it’s been a great overnight accommodation in a pinch. Family bathrooms have a lock on the door, a plug, and water. Before objecting: bathrooms are cleaned more frequently than the carpet/seats at your gate.
Travel Tip #7 – Pack an elaborate sleep kit that includes an eye mask, travel pillow, noise-canceling headphones, or earbuds, and a lightweight blanket for a comfortable and restful journey.
If you can sleep, you’ll arrive better for it. If you can’t, the rest will still create margin for your challenges and activities to come.
Travel Tip #8 – Get the latest updated apps.
You can always google your flight number for gate information, but getting the airline app will help with last minute changes if delayed on a runway, allow for seat assignment changes, and in-flight entertainment.
I also suggest the mobile border crossing pass app, and go-go inflight. There are new apps all the time, so keep up to date and you’ll have all the information you need with you always.
Travel Tip #9 – Pre-download movies, music, books, so if your flight is delayed on the tarmac, you don’t have to wait to access the in-flight options.
Where to find your downloads: Every show and movie has a download button next to the play button. When you tap the download button, your selection will show up for offline viewing on the Downloads tab, which can be found on the menu bar that runs along the bottom of the app.
Having something to occupy your mind can help when there’s a crying baby, when you’re in the middle seat, or when you face unexpected flight interruptions.
Travel Tip #10 – Carry an empty water bottle through security and then fill it up on the other side.
Carrying an empty travel water bottle through security and then filling it up on the other side is not only more cost effective, it is also useful to always have the ability to hydrate on a flight or upon arrival.
Travel usually involves unexpected circumstances – delays, cancellations, the loss or forgetting of something, a difficult seat companion, bad weather.
Whatever comes my way, I try and remember most: I can’t worry about what I can’t change, and this too, will pass. Taking a deep breath and enjoying the journey is what makes a travel day not a wasted day, but an investment in adventure.
Do you have any additional travel tips to share? Let us know in the comments!