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7 useful tips to prepare for your plane trip

Do you dread arriving at the airport, check-in formalities, security checks and even the time spent in flight? Whether you're a novice or a seasoned air traveler, a few useful tips can help you prepare for this moment with complete peace of mind. To turn your flying experience into a real pleasure, discover these 7 practical tips to follow before you take your flight.
Published on May 2nd, 2024

1. Carefully prepare your flight documents and proof of identity before leaving for the airport.

Make sure your identity documents are valid well before you book your flight. If they are not up to date, the renewal process can take several months.

In addition, find out what documents are required for your destination. Some countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned return date.

For travelers under the age of 18, an authorization to leave the country is required if they are not accompanied by a parent. If one of the parents is traveling with the child, it is advisable to have the family record book to hand.

Also check your flight details before you get to the airport: departure time, flight number, boarding gate... This will save you unnecessary stress when you arrive at the terminal. Be aware of destination-specific requirements, such as the need for a vaccination booklet or a return ticket.

Before you leave, pack all your documents in your hand luggage, in a secure and easily accessible place. If you've opted for electronic tickets, make sure you've saved an extra copy as a precaution.

2. Prepare your luggage correctly to avoid being turned away at security checkpoints

Preparing your luggage is an important step before flying. Baggage regulations are strict, whether in the cabin or in the hold. At security checks, only certain items are allowed in the cabin, while others are prohibited. The same applies to checked baggage, where restrictions are also in place. To help you find out what you can take with you, you can use the AirBag application developed by the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).

In addition, make sure your baggage meets the weight and size criteria set by the airline. Checking the airline's instructions before you leave can help you avoid delays and additional costs.

3. Charge your electronic devices

Before you leave for the airport, make sure you charge the battery of all your electronic devices, whether it's your smartphone, tablet or laptop. It would be a shame for your device to go flat mid-flight, especially if you were relying on it for entertainment during the hours of travel. What's more, during security checks, you may be asked to switch these devices on, so make sure they're sufficiently charged.

If you plan to use your electronic devices during the flight, remember to pack an external battery as a back-up. And if you're traveling to another country, don't forget to take along a plug adapter to recharge your devices.

The same applies to electric razors. If you plan to take an electric razor in your hand luggage, make sure you can prove that it is in good working order.

4. Dress comfortably before flying

For long-haul flights, comfort is more important than style. Opt for loose-fitting clothes that will keep you comfortable for hours on board. Choose outfits in which you'll feel comfortable, and don't forget to select soft shoes that you can easily remove if necessary.

Consider bringing a scarf and a sweater or jacket, even in summer. Temperatures on board can be chilly, and you don't want to risk catching a cold on the flight!

5. Equip yourself for a pleasant flight

Whether it's a short domestic trip or a long international flight, there are a few tricks that can make your air travel a lot more enjoyable.

Activities to keep you busy

A good paper or audio book, a film or a captivating series, sudoku puzzles or crosswords... Depending on your tastes, take along something to entertain you between take-off and landing. It'll keep your mind occupied and make time seem to fly by faster.

If you tend to get sick on the plane, listen to soft music to help you relax and stay calm during the flight.

Accessories for a good night's sleep

If you're planning an in-flight nap, remember to pack a few accessories for optimal rest. Earplugs can attenuate surrounding noise, an eye mask will protect you from cabin lights, and a travel pillow will comfortably support your head, preventing neck pain on arrival.

6. Choose your seat

Depending on the airline's procedures, you can choose your seat at booking or during online check-in. This option may be more expensive. Here are a few tips to help you choose your seat before you fly.

  • If you want to disembark quickly, opt for a seat at the end of the row, as the exits are generally on the left side of the aircraft.
  • For a quieter journey, choose a window seat, away from the toilet and cabin, so you can sleep undisturbed by other passengers.
  • If you're prone to airsickness, prefer a seat close to the wings, where you'll feel less turbulence.
  • For long-haul flights, where you need to stretch your legs regularly, opt for an aisle seat to make moving around easier.

7. Drink plenty, but eat lightly before flying

For comfortable air travel, it's essential to stay hydrated throughout the flight. The air on board the plane can be dry, so make sure you drink enough before and during the trip to avoid dehydration and the risk of phlebitis.

Choose still water or herbal teas to stay hydrated, and avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, which can increase dehydration. Opt for light pre-flight meals, such as a salad, to aid digestion and avoid feeling too full during the journey. It's also a good idea to bring along light snacks, such as cereal bars, to satisfy any hunger pangs.

To avoid ear problems during take-off and landing, remember to have chewing gum to hand. Chewing gum or swallowing your saliva can help equalize the pressure in your ears and prevent discomfort.