Travel prep involves more than just packingDublin, Spring 2010
It's the night before New Year's Eve, and I've been mentally preparing for my study abroad trip for several weeks now. Though my flight to Dublin isn't scheduled for another month (Irish students start classes in February), I need all the time I've got to prepare -- both mentally and physically -- for four months out of the country. The luggage is one obvious hurdle. I invested in a set of space-saver bags, the ones where you suck the air out with a vacuum to provide more space in your luggage. Hopefully this will help squish four months of clothes into a single suitcase or two (I don't think they allow pack mules on American Airlines). As for clothing, I researched UK fashion trends only to find Irish students don't always wear the same styles as Americans. Graphic tees are, hoodies and sweatpants are all obviously American. In other words, I had to spend all my Christmas money on a new wardrobe. Though, I must admit, I'm still determined to pack at least a couple band tees and my Chuck Taylors (those things should certainly be common enough in the UK, right?) So my clothes are about right: cotton, layerable and, above all, WARM. Flannel, waffle shirts and jeans make up the basics of my wardrobe. The next step is a practical pair of shoes. Lots of walking plus lots of rain means a sturdy pair of boots are required. Luckily, I found a pair of trendy, flat-heeled leather boots that should do just the trick. Post-holiday sales are perfect for this. Now onto the hardware. I found a very affordable adapter and converter plug for my electrical appliances, thanks to Amazon.com, and have decided my hair dryer is a necessity, though the straightener will stay behind. I'm also opting to buy all my toiletries when I get there. A borrowed UK-compatable cell phone from a friend will take care of communication, and my globe-trotting grandparents have hooked me up with all the literature on the country that I would ever need. It helps to have friends who travel. My mom and I even sat down with a banker who explained overseas fees and money transfers to me. I didn't realize I will be hit with extra fees for using an ATM outside of the U.S.! Looks like I have a little more saving up to do over break to combat that 3% dent from money withdrawals. Still, I'm glad I chose to talk with someone who could explain finances in a language I can understand, instead of reading indecipherable bank jargon. So, after weeks of buying and prepping, I am much more confidant about my travel arrangements. For now I can greet the New Year knowing that I am almost ready to be on my way.
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