4 Essential Pre-Departure Tips For Your Adventure Abroad

Jeffrey Angeloty is a student at Regis University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jeffrey is currently studying abroad with ISA in Brussels, Belgium.

95 pounds of luggage for the semester, challenge accepted!
95 pounds of luggage for the semester, challenge accepted!

Being an out of state college student, I’m used to flying to my University to start a new semester. Having the privilege of flying on an airline that allows me to check two bags for free has been spectacular, and after 5 semesters I finally got the hang of packing efficiently. Packing for studying abroad on the other hand, is quite different.

Here are my 4 tips:

1. Have a Game Plan
As with any important assignment during school, it is helpful to start with an outline to see the direction you would like to go. The same rules apply with packing. Take the time, read the list ISA provides you with, and pack a little bit at a time. I do not recommend trying to binge pack; It gets overwhelming fast, and makes the process overly complicated. Start to plan about a week and half in advance, setting aside clothes, and other essentials. I prefer rolling my clothes, so I can get the most space necessary in my suitcase, and the rolled clothes can also fit nicely in shoes. Remember, weight limits for checked baggage vary by airline, so check in advance to avoid being charged more at the airport.

2. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Let’s face it, procrastination happens to the best of us, it’s unfortunate that it happens, but it’s also inevitable. Packing is one of those pre-departure tasks that can be tough if you wait until the last minute. You’re going to want to spend time with family and friends before you leave, so remember to plan ahead, and pack a little bit at a time. You will be thankful when you can take a moment to relax, and be less stressed the night before your flight.

3. Invest In A Good Luggage Scale
One of the worst feelings in the world is seeing all of the effort you spend packing a brilliant suitcase go to waste, when the scale at the airline’s counter hits 51 pounds. To avoid the frantic shifting of items between bags, do yourself a favor and invest in a good portable luggage scale. You can find these at many outdoor/travel stores, and many online retailers have them priced between $15-$20. The luggage scale is very easy to use, although it does not have pin-point accuracy compared to the airline’s luggage scale. It’s still better than playing the guessing game, and paying a fee for a heavier bag.

4. Rest Up
My biggest regret before leaving was honestly not getting enough sleep before my departure day. I made a terrible assumption and believed I could get a solid amount of rest on the plane since I was flying for about 12 hours. Lack of sleep mixed with jet lag is not fun, and should be avoided. It is crucial to get an ample amount of sleep before your trip, including the night before your flight as well. So do your best to be well rested. You’ll need that energy for the first week of your adventure abroad.

That’s it for now!

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