Congratulations to those who have already received their VISAs, by now I know you are probably nervous and not sure what to expect, but buckle up and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. If this is your first season and you are like how I was, excited and anal, I am sure you have already started to put things aside to take with you, there are a few things that I would like to mention to you, as I know that I would have been grateful if someone had mentioned these to me while I was packing:
1. Try your best to only take one suitcase with you. I know that the allowance is two, but if you enjoy shopping and you don’t want to eventually throw away the majority of the clothes you are taking, then trust me, take a maximum of two weeks’ worth of clothes with you, you will buy new things straight away and you will be wearing your uniform most of the time.
2. If you are like me and you love your aerosol cans of deodorant or antiperspirant, buy a whole bunch and shove them in your check in luggage. For some unknown reason (and probably due to global warming or something) America doesn’t have spray antiperspirant. If you are a speed stick kind of person, you will be okay. Remember not to pack any perfumes or aerosol cans in your hand luggage, if you do, they will be confiscated.
3. Don’t waste your time packing your hairdryer. America uses a different voltage system to us and unless you have a fancy, expensive hairdryer, I doubt that it has a built in converter. They are cheap over there, you can get a lekker, colourful one for $20 and it works like a charm. If you have a GHD on the other hand, that has a built in converter and it will perfectly, all you will need to buy is an adapter which is usually around $9.
4. Buy your urgent toiletries at home and take them with you, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and a sponge. After a long flight and you only landing there in the afternoon, the last thing that you want to do is have to run to the shop just so that you can have a decent shower and using your Rands to buy those products works out to be a little more expensive.
5. If your check in luggage means something to you and you don’t want your bags ruined, I suggest getting them cling wrapped at the airport or even wrap them yourself at home, it seems expensive at R50 a pop, but consider it an investment because by the time you collect your bags in your designated city, you will find that you might have some tares, scuff marks or even a broken zip (this can also help restrict anyone breaking into your bag).
6. Avoid wearing a lot of jewelry, belts or shoes that are difficult to take on and off. Just like in the movies, when you go through security in the US, you have to take off all of your jewelry, take off your belt, take off your shoes and empty your pockets. It becomes very tiring and frustrating taking these things on and off and you don’t want to forget anything on the conveyer belt.
7. Take one of those airplane pillows with you, or even one from your bed, the airlines do allow you to carry one and they make things a hell of a lot more comfortable and easier to sleep with. If you are a difficult sleeper taking sleeping tablets because if you get no sleep during that 18 hour flight, you are going to be miserable when you land in the USA!That’s seems to be all I can think of for now, have a safe flight and I will see you all on the otherside!