Tips For First Time Travelers

Having been to all of the places I have been at by the age of 21, I am extremely lucky. I don’t deny that. I fly often and have traveled widely across the eastern United States and Europe. A lot of this traveling were done through backpacking, hostel hopping and working away. Sooner or later, I’ll post about all of my destinations, but until that happens here are some of the tips that I’ve picked up along the way.

  1. If you’re flying domestically during a time that is not the holiday season or the summer (ie. not June-August or over Christmas), book at least one month in advance. If you’re flying domestically during the summer or the holiday season, book three months in advance.

  2. If you’re flying internationally during a time that is not the holiday season or the summer, book nine months in advance. If you’re flying internationally during the holiday season or the summer, book 11 months in advance for the cheapest rates.

  1. The cheapest days to fly are from Tuesdays to Thursdays, so book during that time if you can.

  2. Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it up when you get through security -- airport water is really expensive.

  3. Never wear jeans on a flight that lasts over 2 hours. It’s seriously so uncomfortable and hard to take off to pee in those tiny airplane bathrooms. I highly recommend leggings and an oversized sweater if you’re going the fashionable route, but if you don’t care about looking nice on your flight wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Planes are always cold, so even if you’re traveling in the dead of summer, bring a jacket.

  1. Always have a good internet-free playlist saved. I have yet to fly on a plane with WiFi, so don’t count on being able to stream anything. Download some music or rent a movie from iTunes, besides they usually don’t cost more than $3 for a 48 hour rental and are totally worth it on a long, boring flight.

  2. Bring along a book that you’re okay leaving behind at your destination. It leaves space for souvenirs and it’s a good past time on a long plane, train or bus ride.

  3. Bring an inflatable neck pillow, it saves tons of space and, in my opinion, is more comfortable than a plush one. Just don’t inflate it until you’re in the air. Seriously, the change in air pressure will make it expand a lot and possibly explode. Trust me, been there.

  4. In your carry-on, always have a change of clothes, a toothbrush, a granola bar and a phone charger. There’s always the chance that your luggage may not arrive on time and you don’t want to wear the same outfit that you wore on your plane ride for an entire two days.

  1. If you have a layover, make sure it occurs in the same country you’re departing from. I traveled from Rome to Philadelphia with a layover in Atlanta and had to go through customs in Georgia, USA, which was incredibly stressful and caused me to nearly miss my plane. Avoid customs until you reach your destination to breeze through the midpoint airport faster, unless you want to be sprinting through an unfamiliar airport.

  2. Always have currency for where you’re headed. Most countries will accept your debit card, but you never want to use it in an unfamiliar boutique or hole-in-the-wall shop. Small tourist traps like these are notorious for credit card fraud, so use cash.

Safe travels, collegiettes!