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TRAVEL TIPS | TRAVEL PLANNING

71 Must-Know Travel Hacks: First Time Flyer Travel Tips

words by Coco Tran

September 28, 2023

Travel Tips for first time flyer

Are you planning to fly for the first time, but feeling a little overwhelmed or unsure of what to expect? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here I share 71 first time flyer travel tips. 

it’s understandable to feel a little nervous, but with proper planning and preparation, your journey can be smooth and stress-free! In this travel guide, I’ll provide you with all the essential information you need to know before boarding your first flight, from booking your ticket to navigating the airport and the security screening process. So, let’s get started and make your first flying experience an enjoyable one

Table of Content

First Time Flyer Travel Tips

1. Invest in a good carryon luggage

 It’s totally something you are going to be depending on for a while! If you purchase quality luggage you won’t have to replace it or worse, it won’t break on you! My favorite carry-on luggage is this. It’s considered one of the best luggage brands available in the market. The brand’s suitcases are designed with a sleek, durable, and high-quality polycarbonate shell that is lightweight yet sturdy.

They also come with TSA-approved combination locks to keep your belongings secure during travel. The interiors of the luggage are intelligently designed with compression systems, a laundry bag, and multiple compartments, making packing and organization effortless.

The wheels are smooth and have withstood the cobblestone streets of Europe. They have a lifetime limited warranty. I love that the suitcase comes in aesthetic colors and an aluminum series. I have the sand color and the aluminum version. It also has a handy USB power bank.

2. Check your passport expiration

Have at least 6 months before expiration on your passport: Countries can deny you entry if your passport doesn’t have at least 6 months. Make sure to renew your passport ahead of time.

3. Travel Light 

A carry-on and a backpack should be sufficient for a 1-2 week trip. Checking in your luggage will slow you down and increase the risk of your luggage being delayed or worse it can be lost.

4. Weigh your carryon and backpack:

Follow the airline carrier luggage size and weight restrictions. Use this handy scale that’s small and easily packable

5. Use packing cubes

 use packing cubes or compression bags to maximize space and keep your clothes organized. And roll your clothes 

6. Make your luggage easily identifiable

You can use : Luggage tags, stickers, luggage belts, and bows. Apple air tags are also a great way to track your luggage.

7. Pack a change of clothes in your backpack onto the plane:

Just in case your luggage gets lost you’ll have some clothes to wear while your luggage gets to you. This happened to me on my trip to the Seychelles islands. My luggage was delayed and it didn’t get to me until 4 days into my trip.

8. Share medium check-in luggage with who you are traveling with

This will save room and money! Use this handy scale that’s small and easily packable 

9. Pack a reusable water bottle

The best water bottle is lightweight and will fit on the side of your backpack and has a easy to drink draw and won’t leak! . This is the best one I travel with, see my travel essentials here.

10. Take photos of the inside and the outside of your luggage 

This will be just in case something happens to your luggage and you can prove what was in your luggage for the warranty and claims process

11. Stack luggage within luggage to save room

When traveling for a long trip, or planning to shop a lot at your destination, bring luggage inside your luggage so you don’t have to pay to check in your luggage

12. Bring a pen with you

 on the plane, to fill out forms before you land. Helpful for flying internationally or to island locations,

13. Be mindful of what you eat and drink before your flight

Skip caffeine and alcohol it’ll disrupt your sleeping pattern. Stay away from salty foods. Sodium can cause you to retain water and make your legs swell

14. Double-check your flight  

There have been times when my flight was changed by the airline and I did not receive notifications. Always check on your flights monthly and several times during the week of your trip.

15. Check into your flight 

Remember to always check-in online, you can select your seats (paid) or they will assign you seats and give you a boarding pass.

 16. Screenshot all your documents

online boarding passes are stored in a wallet that you can show the same way as paying with the phone.

 17. Arrive at the airport early:

Arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before flight departure for international flights. 1.5 hours for domestic flights. The boarding time is an hour before an international flight and 30 mins before a domestic flight.

18. Adjust your Watch to Local Time

Your watch and phone won’t do this automatically.

19. Make a Digital Copy of Important Documents

 like passports and visas and store them separately from the originals in the cloud or email. 

20. Put your phone into airplane mode, and also disable roaming

is expensive and most plans don’t have international data. I recommend getting a pocket wifi it’s the best thing for fast wifi.

First-time Flyer Tips on Booking Flights

 21. Use a VPN and Ignacio web browser when booking flights:

 Flight search engines and ticket sites use tracking cookies to monitor your browsing history. If they see you repeatedly searching for the same routes, they might increase prices to scare you into booking the flight before it gets even higher. This ensures your IP address doesn’t show your location and gives you the best prices when booking.

22. Fly out on a Tuesday or Wednesday 

for the most affordable flights 

23. Use Google flights to find cheap flights

 I wrote this read article, read it if you want to find out how to use Google Flights!

24. Book a direct flight:

if you’ve ever almost missed a connecting flight, you know the stress level this brings. You can avoid it by booking a direct flight.

25. Compare Prices

Check nearby airports to compare prices on flights. Some airports are less expensive to travel to and out of than others. Also, Check nearby airports to compare prices on flights. Some airports are less expensive to travel to and out of than others. Set price alerts for flights: Google Flights and Skyscanner are best.

Check nearby airports to compare prices on flights. Some airports are less expensive to travel to and out of than others.

26. Fly open-jaw:

 by flying in one city and out of another you save time by not having to backtrack. More details on this check out my travel itineraries

27. Book your flights directly through the airline.

 This will give you added protection and more flexibility if you need to cancel or if your flight is changed by the airline or use Google Flights to search!

28. Double-check flight bookings: 

There have been times when my flight was changed by the airline and I did not receive notifications. Always check on your flights monthly and several times during the week of your trip.

29. Rebook your flight if it was delayed or changed:

Call the airline and request they change your flight or connection. You can request the airline change the flight time that’s more convenient for you. This is a good strategy to get a better flight! I saved hundreds of dollars on my flights using this strategy. Remember kindness goes a long way. 

30. Have at least 2 hours for connections for international flights

Anything less is cutting it short, flights often can be delayed and if your plane arrives late you won’t have to rush to get to your gate. You’ll most likely have to go through security at the connection point so it takes longer. 

31. Use the Google Flights Chrome extension

In google flight search, you can find out the leg room by downloading the google flights chrome extension. It’s an easy way to compare all available flights and what they offer instead of checking each airline individually

32. Get a Travel credit card 

Travel credit cards offer attractive signup bonuses to use for free flights and upgrades. They also offer great benefits such as no foreign transaction fees saving you an average of 3%. As well as other travel benefits such as free car insurance, medical evacuation, and more! This is my favorite credit card with a high sign-up bonus. 

33. Sign up for a frequent flyer program with an airline you frequent 

Most airlines have a frequent flyer program that’s free to join. Being loyal to an airline comes with great benefits such as free bag check-in, priority boarding, and discounts on flights. As well as seat upgrades

34. Find flight deals

 from Scotts Cheap Flights. Hopper and Skyscanner are great tools to find cheap flights. Also, make sure to set up price alerts

35. Take advantage of the flight 24 hour cancelation policy,

Book a flight and if the price drops within 24 hours you can cancel your original flight within 24 hours and book the new one at a lower price.

36. Book your flight

 soon as you know where you want to go. Airline tickets rarely get cheaper as the date gets closer. 

37. Arrive and depart at a reasonable hour

Be Mindful of arrival time. Arrive 2 hours before your hotel check-in time or early in the morning

38. The cheapest flight isn’t always the best. 

Connections/layovers and total travel time are important to take into consideration. The longer the layovers the longer your overall trip will be which will be more boring and de-boarding. 

39. Have an arrival plan

Pre-plan and book ahead your transportation. They will be waiting for you and ready to whisk you away. Instead of having to wait in line for a taxi or public transport. The convenience will give you a better experience. You’ll be dazed and tired from the flight, trust me on this.

First-time Flyer Tips on Booking Flights

40. Familiarize yourself with TSA liquid policy

It will save you time esp international trips. They will ask you to repack and throw away items. And it is one bag per person for 3.4 fl oz items 100ml I recommend putting all your liquids in a clear quart-sized plastic bag

41. Fill your water bottle with ice 

Ice is not liquid: You can fill your water bottle with ice and go through TSA

42. Get Tsa precheck

There are credit cards that offer TSA precheck as part of the travel credit card benefits. This is the one I use it’s one of the best travel credit cards.  Benefits of TSA precheck; you go through with no waiting line, and you don’t have to take off your shoes. It’s a great time saver

43. Wear your hats onto the plane

Anything on you does not count for weight, so always wear the coat/jacket instead of having it inside your carry-on/checked bag.

44. Download the My TSA App

Even if you aren’t a member, you can see the security wait times so you can plan accordingly

45. Take out electronics

Take out any electronic devices and palace them in their own tray at TSA check. You don’t want to slow the line down by not following the directions

Get travel insurance :

Life happens when you’re traveling: it’s best to be prepared and protected from theft and accidents. Check out travel insurance and get extra peace of mind.

Travel tips on what to do at the airport and boarding

46. When waiting to board:

Eat a meal, buy snacks, watch a movie, and charge your devices.

47. Ask the airline 

Ask the stewardess if the flight is full and ask if they can upgrade you if possible. It doesn’t hurt to ask especially if you are an airline loyalty member and cardholder.

48. When boarding:

 Follow directions. Have your passport and ticket out ready to be scanned

49. Try to be the first to board

 Even if the seats are assigned. So you can have room over the head for your carry-on. If you’re the last person to board and the flight is full you will have to check in your luggage. For no fee but it slows you down.

Long-haul flight tips :

50. Bring in your carryon or backpack:

 Face wash and toothbrush to freshen up on the plane. Don’t forget your chargers and a change of clothes!

51. No makeup:

Don’t wear makeup on the plane. Washing your face and moisturizing will make you feel more rejuvenated than makeup will.

52. Bring a travel-size facial spray: 

A facial mist is a nice way to freshen up without having to go to the lavatory to wash your face. It will also keep your skin moisturized in the dry air in the cabin. This is my →, go-to facial spray! It’s minty and refreshing and helps tighten the pores and moisturize. Leaving my skin dewy and fresh

53. Bring a facemask:

Facemasks can help moisturize and depuff your skin while on the plane. 

54. Compression socks:

A pair of compression socks will prevent kankles and improve blood flow and decrease the chances of deep vein thrombosis in the air.

55. Download podcast episodes

Be smart when selecting plane seats:

Pick a seat in front of the wings, the back of the plane is much noisier because of the airplane jets

56. Avoid seats next to the lavatory

It may seem like a good idea to select a seat close to the lavatory, but in reality, there will be people waiting around disturbing you, and the sounds of the loud flushes, and sometimes not-so-pleasant smells. 

57. Window and Aisle seats 

are the most preferred. If you go to the bathroom often it’s best to sit in the aisle. The window you’ll have the advantage to rest your head on the window wall., but it will mean disturbing other people when you have to leave your seat.

58. Noice-canceling headphones are a must

Planes are very loud. The average threshold is about 60 decibels. Save your sleep by carrying noise-canceling headphones. The best headphones I’ve found that don’t make my ears hurt after hours of wearing them are these. They have saved me!

59. Book a seat near the front of the plane.

 You will get off the plane quickly to catch a connecting flight.

60. Purchase a foot hammock

How it works is, you attach the straps to your tray table to create a sling that elevates your feet. This Foot hammock has 100% made long haul flights comfortable for me! Use your backpack as a footrest: If you’re like me and are under 5’3, my feet don’t touch the ground and on a long flight it hurts my knees. So using your backpack as a footrest helps alleviate knee discomfort

61. flight pillow:

Don’t bring a flight pillow: They aren’t comfortable and are cumbersome to carry around. You almost don’t know what to do with them after you are done with your flight. 

Do buy one that is packable and comfortable. I haven’t found one I love so I usually use my sweater and it works just as well and is less to pack.

   How to survive long-haul flights 

Essentials for long-haul flights:

See all my essentials for Long Haul Flights !

63. Noise-canceling headphones are

absolutely essential. As I said above planes are loud! This will help you sleep better.

64. Bring your own snacks on the plane

65. Bring a power bank

Outlets are often not working or broken on the plane. Bring enough to get you through the flight.

66. Bring your own entertainment

Save movies, download Netflix episodes, bring a book, and bring a laptop. Get some work done. Watch a movie.

67. Long layovers:

 go to an airport lounge: many have showers and hot food. This credit card gives me a priority pass to great lounges at no additional cost. Check to see if the airport has a hotel. Major airport hubs have hotels or sleeping pods 

68. Overnight layovers 

are tiring but it’s an opportunity to explore another destination.

What To Wear on a Long-Haul Flight

69. Wear comfortable light layers 

of clothing onto the plane. If it gets hot you can use your sweater as a pillow

70. Wear easy-to-take-off shoes 

without laces or easily slips on and off

71. Wear cozy socks 

Wrap Up


In conclusion, for first-time travelers, it’s essential to plan ahead, research your destination, pack wisely, and keep an open mind. Remember to book accommodations and transportation in advance, make copies of important documents, and purchase travel insurance. Don’t forget to budget appropriately and pack light to avoid unnecessary stress. It’s also recommended to learn a few basic phrases in the local language and be respectful of cultural differences. By following these tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip that will create memories to last a lifetime.

71 Must-Know Travel Hacks: First Time Flyer Travel Tips by www.cocotran.com
body relaxation

Frequently Asked Questions About Flying For The First Time

A: As a first-time flyer, it’s recommended that you arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time.

A: You will need a valid government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport, and your boarding pass.

A: It’s recommended that you wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing that is easy to move in. You should also wear shoes that are easy to take off and put back on during the security screening process.

A: You are allowed to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks on the plane with you. However, you should check with your airline’s policies regarding liquids and food items.

A: You can check-in for your flight online or at the airport. If you are checking in at the airport, you will need to go to the check-in counter or kiosk.

A: You can check-in for your flight online or at the airport. If you are checking in at the airport, you will need to go to the check-in counter or kiosk.

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