Traveling across the world for an internship can be daunting. After years of traveling around the world and visiting over 20 countries, I’ve seen my fair share of airports. Here are some of the pro-tips I’ve learned:
1. Give yourself time. If you are one of those people who can pull all-nighters to get a paper done at the last minute, awesome. But don’t do that with your packing. Pack your bags (both checked and carry on luggage) with plenty of time to spare so you can be sure that you have everything you will need. There is nothing worse than scrambling to get everything in your bag last minute. The odds that you will forget something very important are high! You should also give yourself time to get to the airport. The standard these days is to arrive 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international flight. You don’t want to start your internship program with a stressful run through the airport.
2. Make copies of everything. Have a copy of your flight information, the contact information for the local team where you are doing your internship, your passport, your visa, and anything that can and might get lost. You should also scan a copy of your passport and visa and send it to your email account as an extra back-up.
3. Bring a backpack or big purse with essentials. Taking a plane across the world is a long journey so you need to pack light, but also pack well. I recommend bringing a toothbrush to freshen up, some nice comfortable socks, and a scarf that can double as a blanket because planes are notorious for pumping the air conditioning. Take a decongestant if you have problems with your ears on planes. And never underestimate the multiple benefits of some good gum to chew as the plane lands. Now that you are comfortable, you will need some activities to keep you occupied. So bring a book and download your favorite music to your phone or mp3 player.
4. Pack an extra set of clothes in case your luggage gets lost. Unfortunately, our luggage doesn’t always appear at our final destination. If you are unprepared, this can be a total nightmare. In your carry-on, make sure to include extra clothing that can get you through a day or two in case the worst happens. You should also bring any medications you might need for the next few days.
5. Enjoy the ride. While the trip might be long, it can also be the perfect way to get mentally prepared for the adventure that you are about to jump into. Use this time to journal or read up on the history of your destination city. After the rush of packing and getting everything ready, you are finally on the plane and all that lies ahead of you is an amazing adventure!