International Travel Tips for Globetrotters Part III: In-Flight Activities & Customs/Immigration

by Nancy S. Wang

In-flight Activities

  • Travelling during the daylight hours is less tiring than travelling in the evenings on an overnight flight. It is easier to "trick" your body out of jetlag.
  • Try to keep your blood circulating properly by walking around the plane on an average of once every hour.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Skip alcohol entirely. Drinking leads to dehydration.
  • Use moisturizer and lotions on long flights. Skin tends to dry out easily.
  • Bring eye drops because "cabin eye" is common due to poor ventilation.

Customs/Immigration

  • Be sure to have all pertinent forms filled out prior to flight arrival. This will alleviate waiting time while going through customs and immigration.
  • If your are crossing borders by land, make sure to have all the appropriate documents prior to leaving such as a tourist card, visa, or exit/entry stamp; otherwise, be prepared to face stiff penalties upon returning to your original destination.
  • For all you independent travellers out there, I have bad news. The fact of the matter is tour groups receive special treatment, and clear through customs in a more expedient manner.
  • If you have travelled significantly on an international level, your passport will be heavily scrutinized, especially if you are travelling alone. Remember that customs agents are always on the lookout for suspicious-looking characters such as drug dealers and felons. If for some reason you bear any physical resemblance to a Most Wanted criminal, be prepared for thorough interrogation.
  • The more stamps you have in your passport, the more you become a suspicious and vulnerable target for questioning.
  • If you are a solo female traveller, it is a guarantee that you will be questioned about your travel intentions. Remember in most "conservative" regions, such as Asia and the Middle East, women do not have the freedom, independence and financial means to travel as we do in the Western world.
  • Flashes of jewelry and expensive designer luggage increase your chances of being searched.
  • Keep all receipts of your purchases in an organized fashion. This will alleviate and shorten the time spent with the customs officer. If you exceed the usual $400 per person limit in the U.S., you will need to pay an additional 10% tax on the next $1,000 in purchases.
Previously: What to Pack & Airport Tips »
Next: Jetlag Tricks & Destination Planning »

All International Travel Tips for Globetrotters Articles:
How to Pack
What to Pack & Airport Tips
In-Flight Activities & Customs/Immigration
Jetlag Tips & Destination Planning
Money Matters & Personal Safety