It’s September - a month that conjures up an assortment of images — final summer celebrations, supposedly cooler temperatures, hurricane season, and, of course, getting back into the routine of school.
Here at Glendon, for many third-year students, especially those in International Studies, September brings with it the excitement of preparing for a year (or semester) abroad. Personally, I am in the midst of last-minute preparations for a year-long exchange to England, which means I’ve had to start seriously thinking about packing and preparing myself for the long-haul flight ahead of me. So, as a way to procrastinate a little longer on actually getting to it, I’ve put together some tips and tricks for making packing and surviving a trans-atlantic flight a wee’ bit easier.
Roll, roll, roll: I’ve been using this technique for years and it has yet to fail! I typically roll as many as four pieces together, but if you’re really trying to save space, it’s best to roll each item individually. Once you have a pile of rolls, just stack and squish and you’re good to go!
Freezer bags: By now I’m sure many of you have seen the fancy packing cubes that cost a fortune. Well, since we’re travelling on a student budget, let me introduce you to a cheaper alternative - freezer bags! I find it’s especially effective for smaller items because it keeps them together in one space. Once you get all the air out it’s amazing how much space you save! Pro Tip: Sit and zip! Sit on top of the bag as you zip it closed to save even more space!
Just stuff it: Stuff smaller items, like socks, into shoes. It’s a classic packing technique, and for good reason!
Plan, Pack, and Repack: There are many ways to do this! In preparation for exchange, I’ve made a list of everything I’m bringing so I know exactly what I have (and what I may be forgetting). I’ve also been packing and repacking, basically doing a trial-run before committing. This way you not only realize if you’ve missed something, you may also realize there’s some things you can leave behind to lighten your loads (and your baggage fees!)
Wear Your Bulk: If you find you have big, bulky items that you need to bring but don’t exactly have room for, wear them! Remember you can always just stuff them under the seat in front of you without taking up (too much) of your leg room.
Tips for Surviving Long-haul Flights:
Layer Up: A carry-over tip from packing, wearing bulkier items like sweaters, coats, and boots on the plane keeps you layered and better able to temperature-control!
Dress comfortably: I will never understand people who dress up for a flight - if I’m going to be sitting for 7+ hours, I want to be comfy! Dress in layers with few buttons or buckles, bring comfy socks and a scarf that can double as a blanket, and a get a neck pillow or a small, easily squished pillow to save your neck.
Move it, move it: Get up every so often or at the very least stretch your legs while sitting - pointing and flexing your toes, rolling your ankles, etc. - just to keep things moving and avoid blood clots from sitting in a cramped space for hours on end.
Bring snacks: This is a good way to travel cheap and is especially useful for overnight flights. Bring some granola bars or other small, packaged snacks so that you’ll have enough energy for a full day when you land. Pro Tip: Be sure to check your airline’s regulations as to what foods you can and can’t bring onboard.
Sleep is NOT for the weak: Unless you’re a frequent traveller, chances are that nerves and excitement will make it hard to sleep. Having comfort items from home will help; pack a neck pillow, eye mask, and earplugs or headphones in your carry-on to make yourself comfortable. Keep in mind that for overnight flights the lights are dimmed so you should be able to get some rest (at least in theory)!
And there you have it, my five cents for packing and flying. Hopefully these tips come in handy for your next big adventure, and remember, you can always modify them to suit your own preferences. Most importantly, cherish your time on exchange because before you know it, it’ll be flying by!
Article adapted from ‘The GLOB’s Tips for Packing and Flying’, https://theglobblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/the-globs-tips-for-packing-and-flying/.