Saturday 18 September 2021

Things To Bring On Every International Flight (And Things Not To)

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Photo from
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(QTRAVEL) The next time you fly to Costa Rica or any other international destination, here’s a short list of of items you should and most important three things NOT to bring on a flight.

Headphones (Noise Cancelling Even Better)

Airplanes are loud. Good noise cancelling headphones can cut the noise down significantly, adding to a more relaxing flight. They won’t help with your loud neighbour (person sitting next to you, or behind or ahead or even acrying baby. Nor are all noise cancelling headphones the same. Earbuds (those small earphones used with mobile phones and tablets) help, but nothing like a set of over the ear headphones.


USB cable / USB battery pack

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Many new planes have USB plugs at every seat, but don’t hand out cables. Also, these plugs don’t charge your phone or tablet like your computer USB plug does. The cable should be long enough for a comfortable use.

Typically phones and tablets today have long battery life, that is true if you keep your screen time to a minimum, like listening to music. A USB battery pack to externally charge your device, especially on long-haul flights, will keep you plugged in to your videos and music.


Camera (or your phone or tablet)

Most smartphones and tablets have a camera. I have yet to see one not. So why not put it to use. Your smartphone or tablet can be more than music, games and videos, especially if you’re a window seat. Selfie time.

Warm Clothing

Yes, you are heading to a warm climate. And possibly you are leaving from a warm climate. But airplanes can get cold, especially at night. An extra layer of clothing will make your flight comfortable. For me, I have my favourite (had to get a new one after 20 years) jacket that I wear on every flight. Some prefer a sweater, a pull over of button up (easier to get on and off in your cramped economy seat).

Travel Pillow & Eyemask (both optional)

Me, I can sleep anywhere, anytime when I am tired. No need for an eyemask and travel pillows are too bulky to carry around. Thus the “optional”. If you need neck support, the pillow is a must.

If you can’t sleep with the light, then an eyemask is must. Noise? See about earphones. Me, I try not to sleep the night before or sleep as little as possible, depending on the hours I will be up in the air. I also take afternoon or evening flights if possible, guaranteeing me sleep. Amazing how fast time passes by.


Pen, Passport and Address where you’re staying

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Costa Rica, as most countries require you to fill out a short form with some basic info. Finding a pen to write the information can be impossible, asking a flight attendant won’t help much, they almost never have spare pens. Life in the air becomes easier to have a pen. Great also to jot down those great ideas.

Having your passport handy, not in the bin above, helps in getting that passort number and expiry date. Unless you are one of those who insists on using a part of their brain to remember things you can look up. And the address where you will be staying in case you are asked. Some places demand you to have a place to stay and contact info. If staying at a hotel, jot down (put the piece of paper in your passport) the name of the hotel, location and phone number. If staying with friends, a general idea of where you will be staying and a contact number.

Things you SHOULD NOT have with you


Fruit (and often nuts and seeds), Meats and Vegetables

This might vary a bit per country, but more often than not, this is a no-no. Costa Rica is one of the countries that does not allow fresh fruits, meats and vegetables. You may get away with it if they vacuum packed.

I have never had a problem bringing in my sopresatas into Costa Rica, always vacuum packed. But be prepared to dump them.
I have never had a problem bringing in my sopresatas into Costa Rica, always vacuum packed and checked in  luggage, always in small quantities, more more than 2kg each pack and always prepared to dump them.

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Up to now, I have come into the country with prosciutto, capicollo and parmiggiano (all Italian staples) in vacuum packed. I keep the items to small quantities (under 2 kg) for each. But be prepared to dump them.


If you haven’t flown in a while, you can’t bring water or containers of any liquid through security. Some airports will allow liquids under 100ml, some not more than 30ml and must be in a zip lock bag.

13-anything-that-smellsAnything that smells

This is a big one, not for you, but for me and everyone else on the fligth. Seriously. This means everything smells. You know what they are even though you are used to the smell, grew up with the smell, it is normal. For you. But not for me and everyone else of your fellow passengers.

This includes stinky feet. Where closed shoes and don’t take them off. Under any circumstances. Flip flops are great for the beach, but not so for sitting next to me, subjecting me to your smelly feet. Hey, we can have contest. Up to it?

Please take a shower befor your flight, including washing your hair. And for the sake of everyone, don’t overdo the perfumer/cologne. We are going to be  together in a nearly-sealed tube for hours. And I don’t have my noseplugs.

This is all for me sitting next to you (and all the other passengers on the flight). This isn’t your living room.

Ok, gotta go now, take a shower and rush to the airport!


Inspired by an article by Geoffrey Morrison posted on

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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