Ask around about the airports you’re flying through. Some are known to have higher rates of late takeoffs/landings (Salt Lake City comes to mind, they don’t have enough runway space). You’ll want to know that as you look at flight schedules and determine how much time you want on your layovers.
If neither of you have flown before, I’d recommend giving yourself a little more time on layovers-I would say at least an hour and a half. Don’t try to swing it in 45 minutes if you’re not accustomed to booking it across an airport you’re not familiar with! Often you’ll fly in to a gate that is miles away from the gate you’re flying out of, so make sure you get to your next gate before you do anything else (like eat, pee, etc). On that note, always check the monitors to make sure your gate has not changed, both before you head over there and on your way. They do change, sometimes, but you still have to get there in time or you will miss your flight.
A shorter layover is very convenient, but you’re also not giving yourself any time for late flights- if your first flight is late, you now are stuck having to change all of your other flights to accomodate it. Not fun, especially for someone who has never had to do it before.
Don’t go into an airport with change in your pockets, and don’t wear a belt unless you have to. Wear a basic shirt and pants combo with easy slip on and off shoes and a light jacket that you can take on and off with ease. Nothing is more annoying to the travelers behind you in security than a person with 50 layers and a bunch of metal they don’t take off holding up the whole line!! Seriously, it fills me with rage.
There is usually a fee for your checked bag- it will always be cheaper to pay it online when you check in for your flight, rather than at the gate. So, do it ahead of time! Fees are usually in the $20-$25 range for domestic travel, not sure what is runs internationally, now. Weigh your bags before you go, any bag over 50 lbs will triple the cost to check. Trust me, 50 lbs is plenty, anyway.
Pack a change of clothes, underwear, pajamas, and any essentials in your carry on bag. Think, worst case scenario, will you be okay if your bag gets lost the entire time you’re gone? Do not pack jewelry, electronics in your suitcase. They will get stolen. Don’t put a lock on your suitcase either, they’ll break it and thoroughly search your bag (because, why would you have a lock unless you are hiding something?)
Oh, when you’re going through the naked scanners, don’t have anything in your pockets- not chapstick, nothing. They’ll pat you down.
Sorry if this is disjointed, I keep thinking of things 🙂 I’ve been on >70 flights in the last 5 years, let me know if you have any questions!