Today marks the start of my last fortnight in the UK before I catch my plane to the US. At the moment it just feels like I’m going on holiday, I mean there must be hundreds if not thousands of people travelling from the UK to Florida this summer. From the casual glance at me with my giant suitcase, I may just look like a very high maintenance holiday go-er, an over-packer. But no, I’m staying for the year, and I can’t decide whether I’m more excited or nervous!
My trip is now legal. I have an in-date passport, an in-date visa, and a whole host of other forms with confusing codes and names which are also valid and in-date. But I’m still not fully prepared. I have a “to-do” list that keeps on growing (although I do add things I’ve already done, just so that I can cross them off the list and make it seem a little less daunting!). One thing that has been a great help is Thirdyearabroad.com. They have so much advice for “before you go”, such as how to pack your whole life into a suitcase that doesn’t exceed airline baggage limits, connecting with people who are also going on a year abroad, and helpful tips and things you might not have thought about!
Here is a quick list of things I found most useful:
- Get a folder containing all your important information. Separate it into things you need to catch your flight, then pass through immigration, and finally documents you will need while your there.
- For everything you need in (1): make duplicates! I’ve gone for a photocopy of all documents I need (and even ones I’m not bringing, such as my birth certificate), and a pdf of each saved onto a USB stick.
- Research where you are going! It’s a little nicer to have a vague idea of what to expect, rather than going in blind.
- The plug sockets are obviously going to be different in the US, but to save money take one adapter and an extension lead. Genius!
- Take an empty bottle onto the plane with you, and ask the flight attendants to fill it up. As it’s my first long-haul flight, I definitely don’t want to be arriving into a hot country already dehydrated!
- Make sure that you can carry your suitcase, because there is not likely to be anyone there to help you.
- And label your case with your destination address (or home if you don’t know that one yet), just in case anything goes wrong.
- Teach your parents how to use Skype, and arrange a time to do so when you get there. It might seem excessive, but it saves you an excessive phone bill and still lets them know that you are safe.
- Make sure you have some local currency on you when you fly, so that you’re not caught short.
- Pack some home comforts. A few photos, some tea bags.. anything you think you’re going to miss while you’re away.
Look out later in the year, when I’ll be revisiting this post to give some updated tips once I’ve actually flown.
Until next time, readers!