I didn’t realize until I booked my trip that preparing for your trip abroad includes much more than just your list of items to pack. This is an important concept to get a hold of. This summer I am doing the Global Consulting Program in Pecs, Hungary.
The group I have come with had planned a week in Croatia prior to our trip and it was very important that we sort out all of our transportation and hostels beforehand. Doing this allowed us to have the correct finances in line for our trip and we were able to enjoy a relatively stress free week in the beautiful country of Croatia.
The somewhat difficult part of this was also preparing for our six weeks in Hungary as well. This meant I needed to try and pack far less than usual because I would be lugging all of my things around from train to bus to taxi and trust me it is exhausting. My advice is to pack light no matter what. Make a very descriptive list of what you absolutely need and below that make a list of what you want. Then delete the list of what you want because you don’t need it. You won’t be the one slowly trying to catch up behind the others and you will enjoy your surroundings much more. So take out those 6 pairs of sandals when you know you only need one.
Also make sure your finances are in order. I had a horrible experience exchanging my money with Chase bank. Note to self: there is a huge fee for exchanging any form of currency through them. Try to do this at the airport or at a place where you’re staying if at all possible. It will especially help for you to know the exchange rates beforehand and the currency needed in each country because you don’t want to get ripped off (some people will do this). I recommend downloading an exchange rate app. Secondly, put your money in various places of your luggage because this way you can have enough cash for a week without the risk of losing it all at once.
Lastly, make sure to let your parents know everything at all times. This includes contact information of who you’re with, locations of hostels, possibly an itinerary, a check in text when you arrive, and don’t forget the thank you because hey they’re letting you travel to some pretty incredible places. At the end of the day, detailed planning and double-checking is what makes the perfect trip. It’s okay if things go wrong, you learn from it and you’ll be far more prepared for the next trip. I know this because I am in fact the person who brought six pairs of sandals.
Courtney Denig is a Senior international business and marketing major studying in Pecs, Hungary with the Global Consulting Program. Follow her adventures and see amazing photos of her trip on instagram, @courtneydenig.