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Baggage Allowances & Packing Tips from a Rookie World Traveler

45.4 kilos... 100 pounds
a suitcase; duffel bag; backpack & carry-on.



1. SPACE SAVER BAGS ARE DANGEROUS

The countdown on my clock reminded me it was FINALLY August 2nd! Time to grab my suitcase, have one last brunch with my family, and then head to the DFW Airport. I had been so happy that I was able to fit 4 months of my life into one suitcase, however, this feeling quickly faded when the gentlemen helping me grab my bags from the car muttered, "OH, you're going to be paying for this guy"... he then told me because my suitcase was too heavy it would be $200 overage fee to check it. My mother and I were horrified, as we were at a loss as to what to do. I flew LAN airlines and I knew I was allowed two checked bags so with no hesitation (I had 4 hours before my flight left) my mother and I raced to Walmart and bought a cheap duffel bag!

 Crisis Averted:
Duffel Bag: $25        Overage Fee: $200 
*lesson: pack lighter & use space saver bags with extreme caution
My suggestion is make sure you have a lightweight suitcase... my big suitcase weighed 10 pounds alone. I love space saver bags, they organize and keep your clothes wrinkle free, so don't be afraid to use them just make sure to weigh the suitcase before you leave for the airport!

2. DOWNLOAD TEXTING APPS BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Why? because once you land in your international destination you WON'T have signal. Meaning you CAN'T confirm your number because you can't receive the the application's text with the code needed to confirm! Long story short: just download before you leave. ALSO... for iPhone/iPad users make sure you turn your iMessaging on before you leave the states. I keep mine off to save data in the states and didn't think to turn it back on before I left. iMessaging is another way to text another iPhone through Wifi while abroad! The only problem is that it takes 24 hours to confirm and must be done in the states with signal. 
 
Look into these apps for your study abroad:
 
TO COMMUNICATE BACK HOME:                            MY FAVORITE APPS:
A. WhatsApp                                    A. Oanda (Currency converter)
B. Google Talkatone                           B. Postagram (Send postcards home)
C. Viber                                                     C. WorldLens (Translates signs/menus)
only suggestions- you only need one      offline translator for the country
 
3. RESEARCH YOUR BANKS INTERNATIONAL FEES 

Over the phone, my bank told me I was all set for my adventures abroad, side note: make sure you tell your bank you're traveling or else they might cancel your cards. What my bank didn't tell me was that to withdraw money it was going to be a $5 international fee plus the $6 ATM fee and that's only to withdraw money. Every time I use my card for purchases, e.g. bus tickets or expensive items, my bank charges me 3% of the total purchase price. Needless to say by the end of the trip I'm going to have spent around $300 on international fees from my bank alone... literally how much it costs to fly round trip from Santiago, Chile, to Lima, Peru. For the rest of my international adventures, I plan on opening up a Charles Schwab account when I get back to the states!
 
Educate yourself about international banking here:
http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/how-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling/ 

 

4. MY PACKING SUGGESTIONS
 
- Clothes: Clothes are expensive in Chile so make sure you keep that in mind when packing. I brought 76 pounds of luggage to Chile and I'm thankful I did. I haven't bought clothes yet = more money on traveling! But don't overkill on packing either! PACK A HAPPY MEDIUM :)
-Multiple Warm Jackets: At least2-3, unless you come in summer, it will be very cold and you will wear one everyday. Also bring a dressier one you can wear out! I bring a cardigan everywhere I go!

- Two or Three Pairs of Tennis/Walking Shoes: I LIVE in my Sperrys. I also brought fashion boots, Uggs, tennis shoes and closed toe flats... all which I wear... A LOT.

- 1 or 2 spiral notebooks: unless you don't mind quad ruled.

-Toiletries: Don't over pack because Chile has a store similar to Walmart with a lot of American products called Lider. 

-Small Luggage Locks: You'll want to lock your backpack- a girl in CEA had her entire wallet, after she had just withdrawn $500, stolen out of the deep pocket of her backpack.

-A Spanish Book: I thought I would be able to buy one here but NO bring one from the states! 

- A "Travel Wallet" for your passport and boarding passes. Search "travel wallet" on Amazon and find the one that suits you!

 

- Hair Dryer / Straightener: I bought a dual voltage hairdryer before I left and it works perfectly here, so does my straighter. Just as long as they are dual voltage, they will be safe.

-Leggings: I wish I would have packed more than 2 pair.

 

-Backpacking Backpack: it's so much easier to travel with a backpacking backpack over a suitcase. You can find good deals here: http://www.sunnysports.com

-Gloves/Scarves: I'm still occasionally wearing scarves at night and it's spring. Do yourself a favor!

-DON'T Buy a Converter: mine broke within a week of arriving. Instead just wait until you get to Chile and you can buy an adapter for $1000 pesos = $2 dollars. Use this website if you have NO idea what I'm talking about: http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm
 

 

*look up the season you're coming in, seasons here are opposite of the states: pack accordingly*
 
 

5. TWO WEBSITES YOU MIGHT WANT 

(1) http://www.hotspotshield.com/ will allow you to block your IP address while abroad and scramble your Chile IP address into a. U.S.A IP address, thus allowing you to watch shows online from channels like ABC or CBS. 

(2) http://www.wiziwig.tv/ will allow you to FREELY watch your favorite college football team live! GIG 'EM AGGIES!

¡Salud! Danielle Banks is the Fall 2013 CEA MOJO in Viña Del Mar, Chile. She is currently a senior at Texas A&M University.
 

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