Tips for Easy Travel and International Airports
Before you leave do the following
Check your flight status online.
There are so many tools, apps and sites for your travel information. If you have an iPhone you already have something in your phone called “Wallet.” Not only does it keep track of your credit and debit cards, it can also keep track of your boarding passes! Depending on what airline you are traveling there is a good chance that they have an application that you can download before your trip to keep updated on your flight status, gate numbers, terminal information and more. The American Airlines app allows you to look at terminal maps and will even send text updates.
Check In Online & Print your boarding pass.
Let’s be honest though—everything is digital these days. Just add your boarding pass to your Wallet on your phone or through your applications! So easy, so quick and saves money, time and trees!
Put your boarding pass and credit card (or phone, if that is all you are using), passport and snacks in a carry-on bag. Stick to something lightweight and easy to haul around, like a backpack or small duffel or briefcase—if that is your style. Also, entertainment, like a book, deck of cards, headphones, your bible or journal are good to keep on you! The mission field is not always reliable with technology, so laptops and iPads are good, but do not rely on always having a way to charge them, or keep them safe. Gum, is a necessity for easy transition into the air. Chewing will keep your ears from popping. Keep everything else in your checked bag— the less clutter the easier your travel will be. Make sure ALL liquids more than three ounces are in your checked bag, it will save you a lot of hassle and having things taken away. And lastly, weigh your bags beforehand. Just to avoid having to rearrange or even dispose of some items, it will help if you know that your bag is under 50 pounds, or what ever the weight requirement is.
Plan transportation and travel time.
If you are flying during peak season or a busy time of day, plan accordingly. International travel usually requires you to be at the airport 2-3 hours before your BOARDING time. If your city is any thing like Dallas, traffic might be an unpredictable nuisance, so leave some cushion room for crowded highways and nearly full parking lots. Having a friend our family member give you a ride, is usually the best option, or get a taxi if that is not an option for you.
The worst thing you can do is overdress! No one wants to wait behind someone taking off seven layers of clothes. And no one wants to have to take that many layers off, just to have to put them back on after going through security. Being minimal is your best bet, with jewelry, belts, and clothes. Slip on shoes, or something that is easy to put on and take off, is also quick and easy. If you are traveling internationally and you have a layover, there is a good chance that you will have to go through security again! You will be thankful for this tip later!
- safe travels
- godly encounters
- good and easy flights
Prayer is powerful, and effective, even if it is as simple as saying “God, please let our team land safely,” this is an important part of your preparation.
At the airport, do the following.
If you are traveling with a team, stress is like poison. If you show that you are stressed, you will stress everyone else out. And the same thing applies to frustration. Keep your cool, when going through security and other foreign situations. The thing about mission trips and international travel is it is not always comfortable. You will be faced with situations that are scary and unknown to you— but there is always a way to get through them.
Also, flying is not easy for everyone. If you are patient and stay calm, it will make the experience easier for everyone. For example, if you have a layover in a foreign airport or country, and you only have 20 minutes to get to your next flight, stay calm. Get your team together (never leave without making sure you are all together), and encourage them to move quickly and stay close behind you.
Find your gate.
Find your gate, before using the restroom or getting food. Just make sure the boarding time is the same, and the gate has not changed. That will happen sometimes and you have to run to the other side of the airport.
Make your food choices wisely.
Not only does traveling mess with your stomach already, but airport food will, too! This is why snacks are key, especially for long flights and travel. It will also save you money. If you have to buy food, try to pick something that is fresh, or raw—like nuts or fruit. One bad experience with airport and airplane food, will scare you for the rest of your life.
Communicate with your team, or if you are alone, then someone at home who loves you and is praying for you. (I text or call my mom before I land or board, any where I go). You never know when you will have wifi again, so use it while you can! Let your team know where you are headed and what to expect or how to behave when you land. Hopefully, you will have had a chance to discuss this before the trip, but just to keep everyone unified and excited!
A mission trip is not just serving and praying and loving on the people and the place you are going. A mission trip is EVERYTHING. From your meetings before the trip, the airport experiences and team bonding. Do not wait for the mission trip to “start” when you arrive at your destination, let it start before you even take off!