Studying abroad for the first time?

This is for all those who are travelling to another country for school for the first time. Here are some travel tips.

First you need to get a student visa, of course. Your school’s DSO should help you with that and any other requirements.

Great, so you got all your required docs. Time to buy your ticket!

Buying tickets: At the very least, buy your ticket 1 month ahead

  1. Cheaptickets
  2. CheapOAir
  3. BookingBuddy
  4. GoogleFlights

 

Ok, so you’ve got your ticket, yay! Now on to the fun-yet-not-so-fun part

Packing:

  1. Put as much of the ‘heavy stuff’ in your carry-on (if you can), it makes such a difference when you are checking in your bag. Since they don’t weigh the carry-on it doesn’t matter how heavy it is.
  2. Pack photos from home. Being away from friends and family while being thrown into a new culture can be freeing and exciting at first, but may make you quite nostalgic and certain times. Photos as reminders of good memories at home may help with that.
  3. Two check-in bags and a carry on. At least that’s all I needed, and to me, I pack light. Some folks pack heavier than some, but on average you shouldn’t need more than that if you are going to study for 3 months or more. if it’s less than three months, really one check-in bag and a carry-on should do (in my opinion but it’s up to you)
  4. Pack backup clothes in your carry-on. Don’t want to lose your luggage and have no clothes!
  5. Carry a good amount of cash and secure it well. What’s a “good amount” though? Well, to be honest I had $3000 cash on me when I first came to the U.S (note, that is NOT a good amount, that is way too much) Consider $100-$200.
  6. Pack as minimally as you can, and buy what you need when you get there. Yep, don’t bring those extra pair of shoes unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  7. Put all liquids in your check in bag, better be safe than sorry.
  8. Put a unique identifier on your luggage – like tie a cloth around the handle. It’ll b much easier to spot when you go to collect your luggage.

 

Whew, that was exhausting. But now the day has come! How exciting! Time to head to the airport.

Heading to the airport

  1. Wear comfortable clothes like leggings or even good looking sweats, especially if you have  a long flight. I’d rather wear my ugly sweats and be able to sleep, rather than wear jeans and be squirming in my seat for a 13-hour long flight.
  2. Wear sneakers or flats, or shoes that you can easily take off and put on – Security!
  3. Ditch the jewelry. Again, Security. If you must, you can put it on in the airport bathroom when you arrive at your destination.
  4. Grab a book/kindle, and don’t forget your headphones!
  5. Check-in early! That way you can just go and check in your bag and head to your gate. And keep your baggage receipt!
  6. Use the restroom BEFORE boarding. Nothing sucks like sitting in a 3 seat row and having to ask the 2 people next to you to allow you to pass and go to the bathroom.

 

Ok, so you made it through security and they didn’t single you out. Great. Time to board!

On flight:

  1. Read a book, listen to music, sleep. Chat to your neighbor too, if you can.
  2. Accept the snacks…why not, you paid for ’em!

 

Yay you made it! Now it’s time to grab your bags and let’s go!

Arrival at your destination:

  1. If you can, go to the restroom before going to baggage claim, since at this time you have less luggage to take in there with you.
  2. Baggage claim – if you followed earlier tips you should have a unique identifier on your bag so it should be super easy to spot
  3. If you don’t see your bag, talk to the airline and show them your receipt. If you followed earlier tips you should have back-up clothes in your carry-on
  4. Go to the cambio – get your currency changed. And you don’t have to change all your money at once, since you may be able to get better rates elsewhere.
  5. Get a cab/taxi or maybe you organized a ride with your DSO, whatever the case is, you are done!
  6. Enjoy study abroad!

Comment here with any tips you have and I’ll add em to the list!

 

 

 

 

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