Studying abroad programs are an opportunity to have new experiences and learn about other cultures. Traveling during spring break and summers is also a way to develop friendships and to have new experiences to enhance your collegiate experience. However, during these trips, it is important for students to take the necessary precautions to stay safe on their trip. Here are some tips for travel:
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Traveler’s Health site at least a month prior to the trip so that you can learn about any potential health risks that exist at your destination. Schedule appointments to get necessary vaccinations and medicines.
- Consider investing in travel health insurance, which protects travelers abroad with international health insurance plans.
- If you are on prescription medications, check the CDC website to see if they are allowed in the country where you will be visiting. Be sure to pack enough of the prescription for the entire trip.
- Review sanitation standards in the country you are visiting. Only drink water you know is clean. If you are unsure about water conditions, drink only water that is bottled and sealed, or boiled.
- Research beforehand. Learn about the country you will be visiting and observe appropriate customs and laws as a guest in that country.
- Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the US Government. This program is a free service for US citizens who are traveling or living in a foreign country and will help the Department of State assist citizens in emergency situations.
- Become acquainted with the area where you are staying. Save numbers for local hospitals, emergency services, law enforcement and the American Embassy.
- Learn key phrases in the native language so that you can communicate, especially in an emergency.
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, and try not to travel alone.
- If you are studying abroad with other students, share contact information with them so that you can keep in touch. Let them know your whereabouts if you do venture out alone.
- Avoid traveling to a country listed on the US Department of State’s Travel Warning list.
- Be protective of documents such as passport and identification. Make copies and keep them in a secure location in case you need to replace them.
- Research the area you are traveling to and location emergency services. Store emergency service numbers in your cell phone.
- Do not pack expensive items. Extravagant items and jewelry make you an easy target for theft.
- Give family members the location where you will be staying and contact information for others traveling with you. Share emergency contact information with your travel companions as well.
- Make copies of your itinerary, license, passport, and credit cards to bring with you on your trip. Having copies will make it easier to get replacements in case anything is stolen or lost.
- Put your name and telephone number on your luggage in case it is misplaced or lost.
- Utilize the buddy system, especially at night.
- Do not travel or go out with people you do not know and trust.
- Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts and avoid areas or situations that may be potentially dangerous.
- Never leave personal items or electronics unattended.
- Drink responsibly and legally, especially when you are in a foreign place.
- Never accept food or drinks from strangers.