Pre-Departure ~Part One~
It’s getting real, guys.
In less than 10 days I will be flying out to start my adventure in Japan.
Many people would start their packing at this point… or maybe even a day or so beforehand. Me? Admittedly I was PACKED over two weeks ago. And by PACKED, I mean, “Wow, this bag is less than a pound away from the limit…I should probably redo this…”
Fortunately, the airline I have allows for me to have two checked bags for no extra cost. I mean, it’s not like I’m going on a 3-week vacation right? I need a second bag.
Where did I shop for luggage?
I spent a lot of time almost buying a second luggage from Burlington Coat Factory because they have amazing deals! A nice 4-wheel, ~26″, easy glide luggage was between $60 and $80, compared to it’s original price of $200+. The only reason I didn’t buy that luggage was because I was at Meijer buying Space Bags and there was one lonely roller-duffel bag left on sale for $25. It was plenty big enough too! (And it was a fun orange color – try losing that in an airport.)
For the record, I am borrowing my first luggage from my grandmother, but in the future I definitely want a 4-wheel glider!!
Now, I have two relatively large suitcases to pack for a year’s worth of living…
What did I pack?
The majority of what I packed was of course clothes! I’m not just saying this because I’m a girl. I needed (or will need) all of those close for two reasons: 1) I will be abroad for a year, and I will experience all the seasons while in Nagoya, and 2) I am considerably larger than most of the Japanese female population, so finding clothes over there will be next to impossible.
Japan is known for having hot, humid [unfortunately humid] summers. The city of Nagoya lies at 35.1815 degrees North; that same parallel is the border between Tennessee (south border), Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia (northern borders). For those who have had a chance to travel south, you will probably understand the heat better than I do. All I know is, it’s hotter than Toledo, so I need to pack appropriately. Nagoya does experience winter, but I’ve heard that there is barely any snow and the weather barely dips below freezing. Regardless, with all the climate changes that have been occurring around the world recently, I packed a winter coat.
Other than clothes, shoes, my laptop, and the expected toiletries (*deodorant is not as strong as the ones we have here in the States, so taking along a few bars is a must!*) I also packed my tennis racket, and gifts.
It is a custom in Japan to bring gifts back for your family, friends, and coworkers, when going on a trip. I visited Japan for 3 weeks in the Summer of 2011 with the group from the University of Toledo, so I have a few friends, and my host family to bring gifts to. In this case, American candies and treats are perfect for gift giving! I am taking Starburst, Salt-water Taffy, and some Baklava (more-so a representation of my Egyptian background).
As I said earlier, it is fortunate that my airline allows two free checked bags.
Any student or faculty that is planning on flying somewhere, whether it be a domestic or international flight, you must check out studentuniverse.com. Often times they have specially discounted flights for students, and these discounts are no joke. A regular flight for me, from here to Japan, would have easily cost $1,200 on a decent airline. That is only one way. On Student Universe I was able to get my flight for only $750, even when I was buying the ticket less than two months in advance. This is a great deal that you should not pass up!!
The only WARNING I have is that you should know for sure which day you need to arrive! Initially I had bought my ticket in March for September 5th, knowing only that orientation started on the 9th. I found out in July that they wanted me to arrive by the 3rd in order to set up my apartment and back account, etc. The airline I had selected did not allow simple changes: for example, I couldn’t select a different day for my ticket and pay the difference. There was a $300 fee to the airline, but the rest of the money was refunded to me and went toward my new ticket, which ended up being the same price, even though it was much closer to the day of departure. Overall, I did end up spending about $1,200 between the two tickets, but at least I didn’t make that mistake at full price…
Knowing this, I suggest that you purchase the $30-$50 insurance they offer, just in case you do need to chance your date. It will get you more money back, and it’s good for your travel as well.
I think I’ve overloaded your brains with enough information for one post. Next time I will be talking about the paperwork that went into preparing for this trip, and the ever important scholarship opportunities!!
Until then, take care~
Don’t forget, you can also follow my blog at JAPAN320 ! There will be more posts, pictures, and hopefully videos too!