Pre-Departure Tips from an Over Organized Traveler

Headshot of Emmy Hedges
Emmy Hedges
May 25, 2023

With the school semester coming to an end, a visa process in full swing and the realization that I will be working in another country in about a month, things can get a little overwhelming to say the least. Lucky for me, I am an overly organized person who thrives when things are chaotic and would like to share some of my tips for those who may be a bit stressed!

Your calendar is your best friend! 

Once I got accepted into my abroad program, I felt like a million dates and deadlines were thrown at me. These are nothing to mess around with as if you miss one, your whole visa application could be thrown off. So, to make things less stressful, I put all of the important dates and information into a calendar so I could visualize what I needed to get done on a weekly basis. It was easier to work on something each week versus having to do it all at once. 

I found that Google Calendar is particularly useful because you can include links, reminders and your events can sync to a variety of devices. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you can color code all of your events so you can more easily divide your tasks! 

Let me introduce you to Notion… 

Notion is an app where you can think, write and plan anything that comes to mind in a simple and organized way. There are certain prompts and pages that you can choose from to keep all of your information together in one place. It is also supported across the world and it can be accessed anywhere, even when abroad.

One advantage of Notion is that you can upload PDFs, Google Docs and Word documents into one space so you do not have to go across platforms to find certain files. These files can be accessed without internet/cellular connection, which is helpful when you first arrive in your host city! I ended up importing my visa application and other important travel documents into one of my Notion pages so I can easily find them if needed. 

Another way to use this app is to create an ongoing packing list in one of their “packing” templates. I find it easy to add things that I need to pack throughout the couple of weeks leading up to my trip rather than trying to think of it all at once. So, for example, I go through my day and think about what products/things I used and if I will need it during my time abroad. If I said yes, I would add it to my list. It is as simple as that! 

Set some goals for your trip!

Before I leave, I am setting some goals of what I would like to see, do and accomplish during my time abroad. I feel that once I get there, I will be overwhelmed by everything that the city has to offer. So, when I am feeling like this, I can pull out my list of goals and start from there! I have been told often that time flies while you are abroad, and the last thing I want to do with my time is have regrets that I did not do something that I totally forgot existed.

These goals can come from a variety of places! Watching YouTube vlogs, scrolling through TikToks and following local Instagram pages can give insight into special locations and activities offered in your host city. Travel blogs can be found through a quick Google search and can offer some insight, as well! 

Studying abroad is such a rewarding experience, but people often do not talk about what all it takes to prepare for this life changing journey. However, with some organization tools and goals under your belt, anything is possible, even completing a visa, a semester and travel at the same time! 

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Headshot of Emmy Hedges

Emmy Hedges

My name is Emmy and I am a senior studying Psychology and Media Advertising. I'm an avid cycler, lover of tea and concert junkie! In London, I will be interning at a marketing agency and am so excited to share all about my adventures!

2023 Summer 1
Home University:
Indiana University
Denver, CO
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