I have recently made the plunge into studying abroad in Germany this summer. In order to so, I have had to brave three airports so far. I had booked my flight through Condor, an airline company based in Germany that offers many destinations during the holiday times. I purchased the cheapest flight, which including a total of 3 connecting flights. To get to Berlin, Germany, the flight path included a stop in Calgary, Canada, and in Frankfurt, Germany, before finally arriving in Berlin.
I have recently returned from studying abroad in Germany for 5 weeks. I learned many things about the culture, the people, and the food of the country. While Germany itself was a fascinating place, before getting there I had to brave traveling through foreign airports alone. At first, it may seem a little daunting, but honestly, it isn’t anything to worry about or fuss over. So, I wanted to put up a list of 5 tips for braving the airport alone, what to bring and not forget, and tips for the plane ride.
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1. Pack your carry-on (and checked luggage) the day before, if not earlier!
This step is undoubtedly the most important. You do not want to wake up the morning of your flight to find yourself scrambling to find those socks you need so much, that cute sweater, or you passport. Make sure everything is packed by the night before and set out clothes for the next day. I recommend wearing comfortable clothes, especially for international flights. The flights can be long, cold, and dry. You want to make sure you are comfortable in your seat as you may not be able to get up as often as you would like. I would recommend wearing compression socks for long flights. These socks aid in blood flow of your lower leg and help reduce pain in them as well. Also, check out the TSA guidelines for what is allowed in your carry-on, as well as the 3-1-1- liquid rule.
2. Arrive at airport 2-3 hours before your flight time.
Arriving early to the airport would appear to be a no-brainer, but I have met travelers that did not arrive to the airport until 1.5-1 hours before their flight. I stress arriving early just in case there is some kind of issue at the airport and the lines are taking much longer than they already do. My first flight out from Germany was at 8:30 AM and my friends flights were at 8:00 AM. We arrived right before 5:00 AM and were stuck in the check in line for about an hour and a half. This was due to a disturbance in airport security the day before that was still impacting flights for the next day. So, be on the safe side and get to the airport early.
3. Pack comfort items in your carry-on and watch those liquids.
Be sure to pack items that will provide you with comfort on your flight. For me these items include: over-ear headphones, lotion, candies, iPad, 3DS, water bottle, and vaseline. I do highly recommend bringing lotion, or some kind of moisturizer, on the flight because the air in the plane’s cabin can get so, horribly dry. I also used vaseline right around my nostrils to keep them from getting to dry. Along with comfort items, I am kind of lumping in snacks as well. The economy food options are not always the greatest and you will be charged for the premium options available. So pack in those snacks you crave and keep them close on the plane. Watch out for peanuts though, I have been on a flight where someone did have a peanut allergy and the entire cabin was asked not to consume food items that contained peanuts, which I thought was good of the airline to do. Also, follow the TSA’s guidelines for packing liquids. You may be required to take the liquids out while making your way through security.
4. Keep your passport and boarding pass handy!
I do recommend purchasing a travel size wallet to keep your passport, boarding pass, and credit/debit cards handy throughout your journey. You will often be asked for your boarding pass when going through security, making purchases at the airport stores, and when boarding the plane. The passport is very important for traveling to other countries, not so much for domestic flights.
5. Take deep breaths and ask for help when you need too!
This is the best advice I can give you. After you’ve made all your preparations and your arriving at the airport, don’t forget to breath! Traveling can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. You can chose what parts you’ll remember later and what will affect your mood that day. Carry the energy you hope to receive from others. You want to have a great trip and have fun? Then carry that energy with you. Get excited about your destination and enjoy the journey it’ll take to get there.
Those are my tips for braving the airport. I do hope you found them useful in someway for your future travels. Thank you for reading! Keep Wandering!