READER QUESTION: Airlines, Study Abroad & More

Facebook Fan VALERIE LABERGE of CHICAGO has this question:

My daughter is traveling to Austria in August. What is the best airline to use when traveling to Europe? Also, for a four-month stay, how much should she pack? I know she will want to purchase clothes in Europe!

Castle Salzburg Photo: Tourismus Salzburg

Castle Salzburg
Photo: Tourismus Salzburg

Hi Valerie…

Okay, let’s start with airlines.  Austria is a major European country so all of the major US airlines fly there (United, American, Delta, US Airways).  There are also some fantastic international carriers that fly to Austria (Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, KLM, Swiss, Alitalia).  Chances are you will start on a US carrier and then continue on one of their code-share partners.  For instance, you may fly from Chicago to London on American Airlines, but then fly from London to Austria on British Airways because American and British Airways are partners.  In any case, you can’t go wrong with one or a combination of these airlines.

Next, both you and your daughter should check out the US State Department’s Web site for Students Abroad.  The site is filled with great information on travel docs, what to do in an emergency, and more.  Also, on that site, you will learn about the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP.  This is a free service from the US Government.  You create an account and tell the US State Department where you will be traveling and where you will be staying.  In the event of an emergency or a natural disaster, even a family emergency, the State Department will know which country you are in and where to find you.  Definitely do this.

Finally, packing for four months!  Sheesh!  I have enough trouble packing for just a few weeks.  This one is harder.  Best advice – less is more.  Pack for a month and plan to recycle outfits.  Bring items than can be mixed and matched. Bring a few pairs of shoes to cover various types of events (athletic for playing tourist, heels for important events; casual for school).  You said your daughter plans to buy clothes in Europe.  Great.  Before she returns home, perhaps she can ship the clothes she brought with her, NOT her new items.  US Customs has more details HERE, but a US Citizen can ship back there personal belongings duty free (tax free).  It will certainly make room for the gifts she will be bringing back for the family.  Hint. Hint.

Last piece of advice – get a good camera to capture those European memories and while Austria is stunningly beautiful, be sure to check out neighboring countries as well (Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Czech Republic).  Hop on a train or get on a plane and see what Europe has to offer.

Happy Travels…

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