While planning for a trip, I like to do some research on certain details of the country I’ll be visiting. Firstly, you’ll want to investigate the weather of the place you’ll be visiting. The climate of a country varies from city to city, and from season to season. This is especially important for when you begin to pack, as you’ll want to have appropriate clothing prepared. It might be difficult to get an exact layout of the weather for the weeks you will be there, but try to find information on the general climate during the correct season. Keep in mind, seasons differ across the world! A resource I have been using is weather-and-climate which is a site that gives you details on the climate and weather of every country in the world, including its regions. You should also research details like the currency and how you’re going to bring money (cash, credit, traveler’s checks). You can find more information about this in your Orientation Guide which I mention below. Doing some research about the country you’ll be visiting is a great way to start preparing, and it’s exciting to learn more about the place you’ll be spending time in!
In order to further prepare for my trip to Québec City, I visited my local library and checked out several travel books about Canada and Québec. You can also, of course, find thousands of articles about the country you’ll be staying in online, but I also like to flip through travel books because they have pages of precise information in one convenient book. You will also receive an information packet from Abbey Road that will equip you with all the information you will need for your specific trip. I was so excited when I got the email that contained my Orientation Guide! It had information in it like how to order in restaurants, public courtesy, safety, how to adjust to the foreign culture, and other useful information. This packet will be your main guide to preparing as it is specific to your trip! There will be many plan activities and experiences, but you can also research things to do for when you have free time! Watch videos or investigate articles about the best attractions, food spots, or must try experiences. At the same time, since you’ll be spending several weeks in this country, you’ll want to think more like a local. Reach out to family members who travel or live there, read blog posts, and sift past the sites that attract mainly tourists to find the places really worth visiting.
There are certainly other ways I like to prepare for a trip abroad. One thing I love to do is to start a travel journal. Keeping a journal can seem like a lot of work. Especially during the summertime, the last thing you may want on your plate more “work”. I have been keeping travel journals and scrapbooks for many years and I promise that it is completely worth it! In ten years, you’ll want to have some physical memorabilia to look back on from your trip abroad. I like to write about my day and paste in photographs and pamphlets/packets. Speaking of photographs, you may want to bring a camera during your travels to capture experiences and moments. I use a Canon camera, and I actually purchased it second hand. You can find gently used cameras online or in certain specialty shops. Bringing a camera and travel journal on your trip abroad will allow the amazing memories you’ll make to last a lifetime!
Packing is a task that is often viewed as tedious or daunting, but it can be really enjoyable and productive if you do it right! You don’t need to start physically packing until roughly a week before your trip, but I always make an online checklist to organize everything. It’s important to do this so that you can have time in advance to acquire things you need to buy or prepare. Based on your research on the climate from Step One above, decide what items of clothing from your closet will work best in the country you’re traveling to. I will be in Québec City in the summertime, so I am planning to pack plenty of t-shirts, shorts, light long-sleeves, sweatshirts, and comfortable walking shoes. When it comes to doing the physical packing of your suitcase, you want to maximize space. I like to roll softer garments and fold stiffer ones. Be sure to consider things you may overlook such as sunscreen, hair ties, extra socks, pencils for your classes, and a phone charger. Be sure to bring things like books and magazines for the evenings, before bed, or during downtime. I plan to stop by the library and bookstore and check some out before I depart! The book The Hate You Give has been on my list for a while now and I will definitely be bringing it along with me to read during my trip. It’s super important not to overpack! I am very guilty of this, but from experience, it is never worth it. You will only create more trouble for yourself! Pack lots of basics that can be mixed and matched, bring a small and sturdy toiletry bag and leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs, gifts for family, or anything you may purchase while you are away.
Ultimately, you are about to embark on an incredible experience. As cliché as it may sound, the memories you will make will last a lifetime. Whether it is your first or fifteenth time going out of the country, there are so many new things to learn, sights to see, and friends to make. You will return having experienced a new culture and possibly a new language, and it will make you a more globally aware individual. Personally, I am most excited about meeting new people my age from around the world, exploring Québec City, and becoming better at French! The immersion aspect where I’ll really be putting my French into practice as I explore the city is something I am really looking forward to. Take these tips and use them to your advantage, preparing yourself for an amazing experience abroad!