Though my program does not begin until January 20th, I am leaving a few days early to make a couple of pit-stops. First I am traveling to see my sister in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and then flying to see a friend for a few days in London before arriving in Spain. Though these stops will be an exciting beginning to my travels, they create the need for special preparations. South Florida weather has highs in the 80’s while London will have lows in the 30’s. Packing with consideration to these cities requires a wider variety of clothing than just packing for the moderate climate of Granada, Spain. After meticulous planning and selection of clothes, I finally fit everything from jackets and pants to bathing suits and sandals into my checked and carry-on bags. After a quick measurement, my checked bag only weighted 48 pounds. Perfect–two pounds to spare. As I checked in for my first flight (Knoxville to Ft. Lauderdale) I noticed the small print at the bottom of the page–“40 lbs weight limit on checked bags.” OH NO! Though my subsequent flights from FL to London and London to Madrid had baggage limits of 50 lbs, my initial flight with Allegiant Air had different requirements. Consequently, on the night before my departure, I began rearranging my luggage. I would remove items from my checked bag and place (cram) them in my carry-on and backpack, measure the new weight, and repeat until I had a 39.9 lb checked bag, a stuffed carry on, and a ridiculously over-stuffed backpack. Making these adjustments was frustrating, but prepared me for inter-Europe travel with the strict rules and limits of the many discount carriers like Ryanair. One thing that expedited the packing and weighing process was my hand-held scale (similar to the one pictured). This was a present that I received for Christmas and something I would recommend to ANYONE packing under weight restrictions. I would also highly advise doing your research on your airline well in advance so you do not find yourself scrambling last  minute like I did. All in all, I am happy to have survived the packing game and to be well on my way with travels. In one short week I will arrive in Madrid and work my way down to Granada where  my true immerse experience will begin!