Like many college students, my first trans-Atlantic flight was when I studied abroad and I was so scared to be on a flight longer than 3 hours.
I am going to give you 5 tips that helped me to survive the flight to Italy.
Tip #1: Pack Strategically
If you haven’t already checked it out, I suggest reading Packing for the Trip of a Lifetime, where you can find tips on how to pack for a semester abroad in Italy.
The bad thing about traveling, is that everything you want to bring with you, you have to carry yourself. If you don’t want to pull a muscle in your back, you should pack strategically.
How do you pack strategically? Make your heaviest item your checked bag. You might have to pay overweight fees, but you spend the least amount of time with your checked bag so you don’t have to worry about dragging it around with you. Keep everything you will need the following day (including a change of clothes) in your carry-on bag so if something happens to your checked bag you can survive a little while without all of your things. Finally, keep everything that is going to entertain you and all of your important legal documents in a backpack with you. AND DON’T LEAVE THE BACKPACK! If you keep your backpack with you at all times you will have constant entertainment and every legal document with you in case something happens.
This is my friend Emmanuel and I, with out handy-dandy backpacks, before we left for our flight to Rome.
Tip #2: Watch Flight Prices
I have heard every hour of the day and every day of the week of when it is best to buy your plane tickets. I found that, for the most part, plane tickets really don’t fluctuate that much.
Buy your tickets round trip. You don’t want to get stuck paying twice the price later to go home.
Try and get a direct flight there and back. I know so many people who had layovers in other countries and encountered many delays in their travels to get home.
Find people to fly with and buy your tickets with them. Trust me, it’s so much more fun!
Tip #3: Prepare Everything Ahead for Security
Security is a big hassle, especially when flying internationally. Make sure that you have all of your documents together prepared ahead of time in case they ask for it.
Have your passport handy to pull out and show.
If you are bringing electronics or any liquids with you on the flight make sure that you can easily reach them to pull out.
If you prepare everything ahead of time then you should breeze through security and you won’t have any problems.
Tip #4: Be Prepared to Entertain Yourself on the Flight
On some flights you are lucky enough to have free movies (I did and it was the best thing ever), but not all flights will have this feature.
For the flight I downloaded movies on my iPad, I brought books with me (both personal and school books), and I made sure that I had a lot of downloaded music for the flight. Check out Amazon Prime’s video collection that you can download for the flight:
Depending on the timing of your flight, I suggest also taking a nap during your flight (or if it is an overnight flight sleeping the whole time). Once you get off of the flight you will have to adjust to the normal time schedule so plan to relax on the plane. Check out this pillow to make your nap on the plane more comfortable:
Tip #5: Schedule Pick-Up Ahead of Time
While the cab service in Rome is very organized, they may not have space for all of your bags in their trunk. If you travelled with friends it is a good idea to share a van.
You can schedule the van ahead of time. The driver will be there waiting for you with your name on a card. The driver will help you with your bags and will know where you are going ahead of time.
The driver makes the process of getting from the airport to your campus much easier.