Study Abroad Tips

Navigating the Airport When You Study Abroad

The vast majority of people get it. But for first timers, moving through the process at an airport without parents around to ask stuff can be tough. Fortunately, it’s like riding a bike, so once you do it the first time you likely won’t forget. There are a few nuances though that I wish I’d had a heads-up on before for my first time in the aero puerto alone. Mainly:

  • Checking In
    • You should get an email from the group you fly with the night before. If the digital boarding pass is an option, you can easily receive it on your phone. Since it never hurts to have a backup, you can go print it off at a computer terminal located inside most airport entrances located by the baggage check-in. It needs to be a computer specific to the airline you are flying with though, and that can be pretty easily determined by looking at the welcome screen.
  • Security
    • It should come as no surprise that you need to go through security to get on your plane, but there are a few things you should know before you do. Be ready to take off your shoes and anything metal from your body to put in a plastic bin on the conveyor belt. That and your laptop needs to go into a bin separately. Along with the shoes, your bag of 3 oz or less liquids needs to be visible as well. Move off to the side with shoes, belts, etc. after you get the full body scan unless they give you a full body search too. Unless you can put everything back on in five seconds, you will hold up the people behind you trying to do this at the conveyer belt. It is in just about everyone’s interests for the line to move as fast as possible.
  • Getting To Your Plane
    •  This one is by far the easiest, but making sure to sit near the entrance is crucial. One time some friends and I were on our way to Vegas and nearly missed the flight because we sat one section over and didn’t hear the flight attendant announce boarding. Even if it doesn’t seem loud, the sound won’t always carry well between seating areas. Go up and make sure it’s the right gate on the TV or talk to the flight attendant.
  • Avoiding Super Expensive Stuff
    • It’ll be tempting when you walk past the 2 for 20 750’s in the strategically placed airport liquor stores, but try and resist. Almost everything there is a big rip off and you’re better off saving what you have for the actual place you’re going, as it will almost certainly be cheaper there. Hopefully, most of this stuff was already common knowledge and you’re kinda mad you read through all of it, but if not I’m glad you learned something!