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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Flights and plights

Flights+and+plights

THE TRIUMPHS AND TRIALS OF TRAVELING ABROAD—

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Traveling around Europe is relatively easy once you are placed there. Sure, Ireland is its own little island separated from the rest of the continent, but all it takes is a cheap flight on Ryanair and in a couple hours I could be practically anywhere in Europe. Of course, traveling is not always so simple.

Based on my experiences abroad thus far, I have created a professional list on the do’s and dont’s of traveling. Enjoy:

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1. Get on the right bus to the right airport. This point may seem like a no-brainer. Simple. Not a big deal. But it is quite a big deal when you are moving forty-five minutes in the wrong direction from your flight.

Surprisingly, getting on the wrong bus to the wrong airport does not make traveling easier, especially if you are trying to return from your destination. For example, missing your flight from Oslo, Norway, to Dublin, Ireland, is not something I would recommend. Flights are not always pouring in and out from Oslo to Dublin. Life becomes a bit more complex. The traveler may end up buying a ticket to London in the hopes of being able to get a ticket to Dublin. At one point, the traveler may think they have to stay the night in London. Hope is lost. Yes, make sure you get on the right bus to the right airport, adventure seekers. Save yourself a lot of grief.

2. Pack food. If you are a student, you are most likely traveling on a budget. Your dollars could be spent on wonderful experiences instead of an overpriced, mediocre sandwich, so be sure to bring a good amount of food with you on your travels. Perhaps make sure to take foods that include some nutritional value aside from just crackers and peanuts. You will start to become very hungry and feel that you are a salt balloon waiting to burst. You may then splurge on dinners, ordering large burgers with large sides and downing the feast in mere seconds, thus ruining your entire budget.

3. Invest in a map of where you are traveling. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a Sacagawea on hand whenever we are exploring new territory. It is time to accept that you are a tourist and should, therefore, grab as many different maps as it takes for you to understand where you are and where you hope to go. I would suggest grabbing a map that is in a language you understand. I also suggest that if you are in Norway, let’s say, and all the street names look like alphabet soup spilled onto your map, that you ask people for landmarks on how to get where you are going, such as, oh, I don’t know, the right airport. Without a map, you risk the chance of getting severely lost in freezing cold weather. Not that this has happened to me before. Nope. No way. I am a professional. I know what I am doing.

4. Ask for directions. The map will always fail you at some point, no matter how many different ways you turn it or squint at it or cry on it.

This portion of your travels will test you because now you get to play the game “Do American Tourists Annoy You or Make You Happy?”

Many times people are excited to help out visitors to their country with an overwhelming kindness that Americans are not sure how to handle. Other times, however, people find it disgusting that you are traipsing across their wonderful city with some trashy tourist map and muddy shoes. These people will either say they cannot help you or they will point you in the wrong direction or they will refuse to speak English when they actually can. Avoid emotionally eating your crackers and peanuts; you won’t want to spoil your dinner of granola bars later.

5. Go with the flow. Perhaps the most important item on this list is to learn to roll with the punches. So yes, you got on the wrong bus to the wrong airport. And yes, maybe you were supposed to have turned left a couple blocks back and now you’re in an unknown part of the city. Or maybe you forgot to pack socks. Instead of letting your mind drown in these mess ups and ruining your entire experience, throw your hands up and just try again.

Now you get to be very knowledgeable when it comes to rearranging new flights. Now you get to go on a new, unplanned adventure to see something you may not have originally gone to see. Now you get to buy fun socks from a different country and can always fondly look back on the time you forgot to pack socks. You may not be laughing in the moment but trust me, a few days, years, decades or eons later, this memory will have you laughing until you cry.

6. Resist buying lots of candy in the airport. No matter how downtrodden you feel, do not buy the ten-pound Toblerone. It will not make you feel better and it’s awkward to carry onto a plane. I don’t care how sick you are of crackers or how you spent too much money on your new socks. The five foot chocolate bar is not worth it.

7. Remember that it didn’t happen unless there was a selfie. Perhaps the most important tip for easy travel abroad: make sure that everyone knows you went traveling.

Sure, you say you went to Norway or Austria or Italy but how do we really know that you went? No one cares about your interesting travel stories; they just need to see your face in front of beautiful buildings, classic pieces of art and even alongside regal people. Every photo you take should include your face in it somehow. You must push the boundaries. I am not talking about the occasional nice group photo or you posing next to a palace – I mean the entire photo album should just be a sea of your face with a tiny background of where you actually were. When traveling is so easy, it is necessary to take over the world, one selfie at a time. As always, the goal is to flood social media with your experience that your fellow peers probably couldn’t care less about. You already post three times a week on your blog. You need more. You must drown people in your travels. It’s healthy, I promise.

Perhaps now you will feel inspired to go abroad or to travel the states more than you ever thought of doing. Even exploring all of Wal-Mart can prove to be an interesting adventure. Traveling is about getting lost and losing your luggage and facing language barriers. It’s also about getting on the right bus to the right airport because missing your flight from Norway to Dublin is not something I would recommend.

Again, not that this happened to me. As I said, I am a professional.

Follow these tips and I promise your next adventure will be as flawless as a unicycle in three feet of snow.

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