Your First Day Abroad: 7 Things To Remember
Somewhere in Vernazza. Maybe Manarola?
In my first post from Germany “First Dates Are Awks”, I described my first day in Frankfurt and how jumbled it was. I was fine in the end, but it could have been A LOT smoother had I made some better choices.
I remember arriving at the Frankfurt airport around 2:30 in the afternoon, knowing I wouldn’t be able to check-in to my Airbnb until my host, Tom, returned from work at 6 at night. Despite having close to four hours until I needed to get to my host, I rushed myself. I got frustrated at the airport while I was trying to remember how to get to the train. I missed buses, got even more angry, and still arrived almost 2 hours early. Here’s where I messed up both before and after arriving in Frankfurt:
(1) Booking accommodation: I booked into an Airbnb with a check-in almost four hours after I arrived. I could have booked an Airbnb with an earlier check-in time, booked into a hostel near the train station, or even booked into a comfy hotel for my first night! Tip: Never use Couchsurfing for your first stop. Unless you are prepared for potential last minute cancellations and how to deal with them.
(2) Look Up Airport Information: I forgot that there was a tram that would take me from one terminal to another at Frankfurt Airport. I also ignored the signs when I first walked through. For some reason, I felt like I should know exactly where I was going because I had been there before. Had I remembered that or even looked up general info on the airport, I wouldn’t have wasted half an hour with a decent sized bag trying to wrestle with other travellers to get onto a small bus.
(3) Public Transport: I already knew exactly which trains/buses would take me to my Airbnb before I booked it. My host also helped by giving exact information. This is the one part of my first day I had right.
(4) Log Your Information: I saved the maps for all the bus/train lines for my destination. I also saved the Google map I needed to find the apartment after leaving the train station. There’s no need to go by memory! ALSO: Passport control in Amsterdam asked me for specifics as to where I was staying, and even wanted proof of correspondence with my host. Because I had screenshots of my profile and booking confirmation from Airbnb, I was able to get through quickly.
Here’s where I really am embarrassed with how I handled everything.
(1) Stay Calm/ Don’t Rush: Unless you are on a business trip there is no reason to get frustrated with yourself. Remember, this is your trip. You should be happy to be there in there first place.
I forgot this. As soon as I saw my bag I rushed to grab it, zipped the backpacks together, and started speed walking for the exit. I should have stopped for a few minutes, maybe even grabbed something small to eat, and then started on with my trip.
(2) Stick with other travellers while waiting for your bags. I met 3 guys from Edmonton who were all going to different hostels, but had to get on the same train. They helped each other get there. Stress free. I sped off ahead of them like I was in a race..
(3) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Especially at an airport, where there are hundreds of workers that can point to in the right direction!
I hit on two of those things. I rushed myself, got flustered when missing buses at the airport, and was exhausted by the time I checked in. I wasted so much energy worrying about things that had no effect on me that it almost completely ruined my first day abroad. If it weren’t for my great host in Frankfurt (Tom), it would have been a complete bust.
Lastly, celebrate! Go out and grab a beerski or two! You’ve just finished the hardest part of your trip- walking out the door and surviving a long flight.
View from my Airbnb