I believe there is a universal truth that most travelers agree upon, long flights suck. Being in a tight space for more than six hours doesn’t bring out the best in people. On December 28th my family and I left Seattle on a nine-hour flight to London in route to Dublin, Ireland. Overall, the trip was fine with some extremely stressful minor bumps in London, but we made it to Dublin and are enjoying the city as a family. Since I was stressed about traveling internationally with other people and often study abroad students travel alone, I thought it would be beneficial to write my own “Do’s and Don’ts List for International Travel”. Everything I say won’t always apply, but these are some of my suggestions based off of my experiences.
Stay hydrated! International travel is extremely taxing on the body, so drinking water is a must. From personal experience, I can tell you that headaches brought on by dehydration while traveling are brutal and can be hard to get rid of when you can’t sleep. Speaking of sleep, do your best to sleep on the plane. I don’t like flying very much so sleeping on planes is one of my greatest struggles, but even getting a couple of hours of sleep can save you when you arrive at your destination because, often, you lose a whole night during your flight. It’s easier to not fall victim to jetlag if you immediately try to associate yourself with the arrival cities clock. If you can, arrive early! After today I don’t know what I would’ve done had I arrived the morning of orientation, even arriving the night before and sleeping will help you to start the adjustment to the time change. One last “do”, bring lots of things to keep yourself busy on the flights, I did everything from watching movies to reading my travel book, having things to do helps to pass the time.
Don’t be upset by long layovers! Yes, layovers in airports suck, but when traveling abroad having more time in an airport that is new can be extremely helpful. On our way to Ireland my family had just under two hours in London-Heathrow and it was extremely stressful when we learned we had to go through customs and security. Which leads me to a joint do/don’t, do research on how customs and traveling to your city usually goes. Don’t expect it to be the same as traveling within the states. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, new airports can be confusing, especially if the country you are traveling to has a different native language then your own, but the clerks at the airline desks are usually extremely helpful. Lastly, don’t stress! I had so much anxiety about traveling to Ireland in the days leading up to my departure, but even when I didn’t feel ready I was.
Landing in Ireland is something I will never forget, pictured below are some photos I took from the plane using my new favorite photo application, Huji. From the moment I left the airport I knew I was going to quickly fall in love with the city. Everything is so green here and the locals are extremely friendly, I look forward to exploring as much of the Emerald Isle as I can during my 3.5 month stay here in Dublin.