International Flights What to Know Before You Book


It’s no secret that booking international flights can be stressful. From passport and visa requirements to choosing the best airlines and routes, there’s a lot to think about. Here are some of the most common questions I get from friends, family and clients about booking international flights.

1. I’m traveling on vacation. How far in advance should I book my flight?

2. Do I need a visa for my trip?

3. What identification do I need for my trip?

4. Will my U.S.-issued credit card work in other countries?

5. Should I get travel insurance?

6. What are the best search sites for finding cheap flight deals?

7. How do you find cheap flights through error fares or “fat finger” fares?

8. What airline alliances should I know about when booking flights?

How to Use This Guide

The information below is organized by region, and each region is a little bit different. To use this guide, start with the region you’re interested in, then find your country. If you’re not sure which region to start with, try our interactive tool.

If you don’t see your country listed in the main table, check the “Other” section at the bottom of this page. We also have separate pages for booking flights from other countries (some of which are not listed in the main table).

LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: How to Find Cheap Flights in Latin America & The Caribbean

NORTH AMERICA: How to Find Cheap Flights in North America

EUROPE: How to Find Cheap Flights in Europe

AFRICA: How to Find Cheap Flights in Africa

MIDDLE EAST & CENTRAL ASIA: How to Find Cheap Flights in the Middle East & Central Asia

SOUTH ASIA: How to Find Cheap Flights in South Asia

EAST ASIA & PACIFIC: How to Find Cheap Flights in East Asia & Pacific

For trips that involve multiple regions or continents, we recommend starting with whichever region has the longest flight.

With international flights, you can fly almost anywhere. But what do you really know about international routes? Here are a few things travelers should know before they book their trip:

What to Know Before You Go: International flight rules and regulations vary by country. Many countries require that you have a valid passport, visa, or other travel documents, so check with your airline and the country’s consulate or embassy to find out what its requirements are.

International Travel Tips: It’s always a good idea to arrive at the airport early when making an international flight. Generally airlines recommend that you arrive 2-3 hours early for domestic flights and 3-4 hours early for international flights. If you’re not familiar with the language of the country you’re visiting, learning a little bit can make getting around much easier.

What to Pack: It’s important to pack light when traveling internationally. Make sure all your luggage meets the airline’s size and weight requirements, otherwise you may be subject to additional charges. Also, keep in mind that many countries have restrictions on what types of items you bring into the country. Check with your airline and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for more information.

About Customs & Immigration: The purpose of customs is to ensure that dangerous or illegal items

If you’ve never flown internationally before, it can be daunting. Here are some of the most common questions and concerns I hear from first-time international travelers, as well as my answers and tips.

Is it really that much more expensive to fly on a weekend?

Yes. If you’re able to fly during the week, you will save significant money on flights. However, if you can only travel over a weekend or holiday, don’t worry! You can still find a great deal on your flight. Plan ahead and book at least 3 months in advance and you may be surprised at the price.

Should I book my flight with frequent flier miles or points?

I love using frequent flier miles for international flights! But there are definitely some things to consider before booking your flight this way:

1) Make sure the airline doesn’t charge “fuel surcharges” on their award tickets which can add hundreds of dollars to your ticket. American Airlines is usually pretty good about not charging fuel surcharges on its award tickets, but other airlines (like British Airways) are notorious for charging high fees.

2) Check how many miles an award ticket costs and make sure it matches what other airlines would charge for

Flying can be stressful. There are the long lines, the potential for delays and cancellations, and the general hassle of being in public.

With that being said, international flights can be even more stressful. There are a lot of things to think about: passport/visa rules and regulations, baggage limits, connecting flights…

We’re here to help you out. Below, we’ve detailed some of the most common questions that people ask about international flights. We’ll cover everything from how to book your ticket to what you can expect when you get onboard.

The average cost of a round-trip ticket is $1,000-$2,000. Below you’ll find some common questions asked about international flights.

What documents do I need to travel internationally?

If you’re planning on taking an international trip, there are several important documents that you’ll need to bring with you. First and foremost, you have to have a valid passport. U.S. citizens can apply for a passport through the State Department’s website or at any Post Office. You can also apply in person at your local Passport Agency or authorized acceptance facility, which include some public libraries and county clerks’ offices.

When traveling internationally, most countries require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after your scheduled return date. It’s best to check with your airline if you’re not sure how long your passport needs to be valid for. If you plan on traveling frequently throughout the year and want to avoid the hassle of renewing your passport each time, consider getting a 10-year passport instead of a shorter one.

What is an e-ticket and how do I get one?

An e-ticket (short for electronic ticket) is a digital flight reservation that allows you to check in for your flight without having to bring any paper


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