If you have not yet heard the news, I am out of here! Well…only for a few weeks, but my trip is almost a month away and I am beyond excited!
Months ago, I was accepted in my university’s study abroad programs for this upcoming Spring quarter. The program is through the university’s business department for International Business. We are traveling to three countries to see how each country does its business differently and in comparison to the United States. It is mostly just an excuse to travel to three beautiful countries: Italy, Czech Republic, and France! As my preparation time gets down to the final count before I leave at the end of March, I thought that it might benefit some of you to consider these things that I have already stressed about for you!
1. What is a Euro?
I am learning that traveling with money is very scary and there is no right way to transfer, receive, or cash out money without worrying about its safety. Especially in Europe, some places will not take a credit card and then you are left to find an ATM who accepts your card. Most credit card companies charge a fee for international transactions as will some debit card companies or money machines in each country. If you search, some companies will work out a plan for you with no transaction fees or my mom and I found a company that gives you a debit card linked to an account in the United States. This will allow me the money I transfer in the account and if the card is lost or stole, not all of my money will be at hand. I have heard that it is best to get your cash in each country in small amounts.
2. You call THAT a “carry on”?
Because I will be traveling between countries on an international plane, it is important to look up airline requirements before you reach the gate. Weight limits are different, carry on sizes vary and it costs different amounts to check bags of each airline. It might also benefit you to purchase a traveler’s luggage scale to weight your baggage before you realize that you need to repack your floppy hat in a different bag. As an excited female, it will be difficult for me to both restrict my clothing choices that I pack and refrain from buying too much while I am away. After all… it is the shopping center of Europe and I do need a new pair of shoes!
3. Now that we are talking about clothes…
Coincidentally, everyone has been asking me how I will pack everything for 10 weeks away to which I reply…I do not know. I love clothes and I would travel with three suit cases if I could but as the say, be prepared to walk. Also make note of the weather before you travel. While it feels like a vacation, it could be 80 degrees in Rome and snow the next week in Prague. We had a guest speaker in my study abroad class in the evenings who gave us this helpful hint: when you go to pack, lay out all of your clothes you would like to pack and cut that pile in half. When you are done packing that half, walk down the block with your luggage and then repack. Pack in basics and layers, ladies!
4. Look at your calendar for the trip
Sometimes it helps to print out a physical calendar to see what your trip has in store. Especially for me, it is important to know what days I have class and at what time, also what field trips we will be going on and what days I am free to plan my own day trips. My future roommate and I sat down with a calendar and mapped out a few places that we would like to go and looked over our calendar to see what we should anticipate on the entire trip. Be aware of what days you travel far and what days you need to be awake on time!
5. Do not forget your calendar at home
Because of the season that I am traveling in, I am missing quite a few celebratory events back at home. My best friends 21st birthday, Good Friday, Easter, his and I’s three year anniversary, and mothers day. While there are a lot of things to plan while you are away, don’t miss the little things at home that might deserve a pre-given card or small gifts. Send a small text or a phone call home, too, to let them know you’re thinking about them.
6. Speaking of him
There are so many ways to go about this, but strongly is the way to go. Make sure that if you’re doing long long…long distance you have talked about it and are on the same page. Set up expectations with open minds, knowing that things might come up and scheduled talk times might be slightly moved. Get together before and schedule talking times that you can count on each other for and be thankful for the little random moments that come along the way. It is going to be difficult to be away from your loved ones, but stay persistent and strong, the time will fly! He and I are taking a trip a few weekends before I leave to spend quality time with each other and strengthen our relationship more than ever.
7. Relax & enjoy
I find myself getting more stressed out about this trip than excited at times, but I remember how grateful I am for the opportunity and the experiences to come. Traveling can be difficult when there is so much anticipation building up, but the most important thing to consider is to relax and take life in where you are. I will be surrounded by some of the beautiful things on this earth, take it in and share later.
Let the count down begin!