So I know it’s been over two months since I’ve gotten home from England, and that I really should have posted this awhile ago (after all, it’s a travel diary about my flight over there, so it’s actually been almost 3 months since I’ve written it), but I have perfectly good reason why I haven’t posted it yet! Well…kind of. This semester has been such an avalanche of homework that I’ve haven’t finished editing and uploading my England photos, and since one of my goals has been to put more images in my posts (and I hadn’t gotten all of the images edited), I couldn’t post it!
Okay, so maybe it’s not the best reason in the world, but I’m going to pretend like it’s a valid one nonetheless.
Although I’m still working on getting more of the photos edited and the travel guides written, I did get enough done so that I could finally post my travel diary! This is the first time I’ve ever written anything like this, and it’s been so awesome to go back and read over my experience of travelling solo internationally for the first time. I hope you all find this just as fun to read as I had writing it!
8:00 am: Today’s the day! My alarm goes off at 8am, which I thought would give me a decent amount of sleep (since I went to bed after midnight), but would also get me up early enough to pack a few last minute things. Ironically, I immediately turn it off and go back to bed.
8:30 am: I wake up again and realize that I should begin to get ready so I won’t have to rush later on.
10:30 am: As I wheel my over-packed suitcase into the kitchen, I realize how heavy it is, and begin to worry about how much I packed. My mom and I go through it and take a few things out, but most of it remains.
11:15 am: We leave for the airport.
11:50 am: We arrive at airport and say our goodbyes. I go inside, check in for my flight, and turn in my luggage. It weighs precisely 37.5 lbs.
12:10 pm: I go through security. As my carry-on bag comes out of the x-ray machine, the security officers look at it and say, “Well THAT’S an American bag!” because of the adhesive patch of Captain America’s shield that’s on the front, and we begin talking about Captain America.
12:20 pm: I find my gate, sit down, and immediately regret not eating lunch before coming to airport. I begin looking around for some food, but since there were very few options (unless I wanted a pre-made sandwich), I decide to eat a package of Poptarts I brought with me and wait until Chicago to eat a full meal.
12:21 pm: It’s time for me to begin the 1.5 hour wait for my flight.
1:40 pm: After playing on my phone for a long time, I realize that the battery is at 55% and that I’m relying on listening to audiobooks during the flight. I find a charging station and begin charging my phone.
1:50 pm: I board my flight. I may not have gotten to charge my phone for long, but I figure a few minutes is better than nothing.
2:05 pm: My flight takes off for Chicago.
2:15 pm: I turn on my audiobook, and immediately realize that I can hardly hear it over the noise of the engine. I immediately begin wishing for sound-canceling headphones, and remember making the same wish on my flight to and from Florida the month before.
2:16 pm: I add “headphones” on my “To Buy Before Next Flight” list.
2:24 pm: We travel at supersonic speed and arrive in Chicago in only 8 minutes! Just kidding. We were flying from the Eastern Time Zone, which made us go back an hour, so now these times are recorded in Central Time.
2:35 pm: I get off the flight and go to find my suitcase.
2:45 pm: As I arrive at the luggage carousel, I see that my suitcase has already gone past me, and I run after it as it circles around on the belt, since the belt wrapped around a huge wall and it would take forever to come by again.
2:50 pm: I print off my (new) luggage tag and re-check my luggage at the counter for my next flight, since my luggage couldn’t be transferred. (Not sure if it was because the next flight was international or if it was because the two flights weren’t made on the same reservation.)
3:00 pm: I begin waiting in line to go through the security check.
3:20 pm: I finish going through security.
3:30 pm: I exchange American currency for British pounds, and realize that even though they say “no fee”, they actually have a built-in fee created by altering the convergence rate.
3:40 pm: I begin wandering aimlessly around the airport looking for a good place to eat, since my gate number hasn’t been announced.
3:45 pm: How much is this Lunchable? $4.99? How about no.
4:00 pm: I check my phone and see that my gate number has been announced, so I decide to go to my gate and find food near there.
4:10 pm: To get to my gate, I walk through a giant tunnel that goes under the tarmac, which leads to my gate on the other side of it. The tunnel is full of moving sidewalks and lights, which probably sounds really boring, but the lights were done artistically and were actually pretty interesting to look at.
Plus, I just really love moving sidewalks.
4:20 pm: I exit the tunnel into my terminal and find an Auntie Anne’s stand. Since the prices weren’t terrible, I order some pigs in a blanket for about $7. Yes, that is more than what the Lunchable cost, but they were 10x better and much more filling, so I have no regrets.
4:30 pm: I find my gate and sit down with my food. As I eat, I begin charging my phone while listening to my audiobook, thankful that I can actually hear it.
4:45 pm: I finish my food, throw the leftovers away, and begin writing blog posts.
5:10 pm: My dad and I begin texting each other, guessing what will be served for dinner and breakfast on the plane. He guesses chicken or pasta for dinner and a cold croissant with jelly for breakfast. I guess a microwaved breakfast burrito for breakfast (as more of a joke), and make no guesses for dinner, because I’m really hoping that he’s right about the pasta.
5:45 pm: I finish writing part of a blog post, and then get the idea to do this travel diary/itinerary. I quickly begin looking back through my text messages and SnapChats to put together the times of everything I’ve done throughout the day.
7:00 pm: I become tired of sitting around, and find myself constantly looking at the clock and departure times to make sure that my flight’s time and gate hasn’t been changed.
8:30 pm: The plane begins boarding, and I get in the line for my boarding group. As we board, our passports and boarding passes are checked.
8:50 pm: I get on the plane and walk towards my seat, frequently stopping as the people in front of me stow their carry-on items. As I pass by the upgraded seats, I realize why so many people want to upgrade. (I’m not kidding when I say those seats are huge!!!)
8:55 pm: I find my seat (an aisle seat of the center row), stow my carry-on, and get buckled up. I text my parents to let them know I’m on the plane, and then turn on the screen that’s on the back of the seat in front of me. During the flight, it will display a map of our location, speed, and arrival time.
8:56 pm: I try turning off the screen, but I can’t figure out how. It’s stuck like that for the entire flight.
9:11 pm: The plane takes off from Chicago.
10:15 pm: I’m offered the choice of chicken or pasta for dinner, just as my dad predicted. I choose the pasta and am also given a bread roll and something else that I couldn’t recognize. I eat the pasta and the roll.
10:50 pm: The trash is collected, and I decide to take a nap.
11:15 pm: The flight attendants come around again, this time offering sorbet. I didn’t even know that they offered dessert on flights!
11:17 pm: I try the sorbet, but don’t like it because it’s Mango-flavored.
11:30: pm: After the trash is collected again, I’m about to attempt a nap again when the elderly couple sitting in the row next to me ask the flight attendant for an extra pillow. When she says they have no extras, I give them mine since I brought my own pillow with me.
2:20 am: I wake up from my nap out of stiffness from sitting from such a long time. I check the map, and see that we still have several hours until we land.
3:40 am: Breakfast is served, and I am given a cold croissant and jelly (once again, just as my dad predicted), a strawberry yogurt, and some orange juice. Since the yogurt wasn’t very cold, I ate the croissant and a granola bar that I brought with me.
*Switch to England time*
10:00 am: After the trash from breakfast is collected, I eagerly begin watching the map as we fly toward London.
10:57 am: We land at London Heathrow airport.
11:10 am: As soon as I get off the plane (thank goodness), I go to the bathroom to put in my contacts, since I can’t sleep in them.
11:30 am: I arrive at Immigration.
12:45 pm: I finish going through Immigration, which had a really long line, but speaking with the immigration officer took less than 5 minutes. I also mispronounce the area of the country that I would be visiting, so that was cool.
12:55 pm: I find my suitcase sitting by the carousel, grab it, and go through customs.
1:00 pm: I come out of the “International Arrivals” gate.
I don’t have the approximate times for anything after that, but once I came out of the the Arrivals gate I found my uncle, who had been waiting for me for quite some time (once again, because getting through Immigration took so long), and we drove to my grandparents house. On the drive, I was absolutely amazed at seeing the different exit signs for places I had only ever read about, like Oxford. Needless to say, I was extremely tired and jetlagged by the time I got there, and it took me about a week to actually adjust to the time difference. (Or maybe I was just sleepy all the time because it was winter. I don’t know.)
This is my first travel diary post, and it was so fun to write that I’m hoping to do more like these in the future! I’ll be posting some travel guides and maybe even a photo diary in the next few weeks, but once they’re up I’ll link them below. 🙂
Be sure to let me know what you think, and what you would like to see added the next time I write a post like this!