Traveling abroad is an amazing experience that should be taken to the utmost advantage once you have the opportunity. When getting ready to go travel, it can be nerve wracking to have everything planned out and each day fully anticipated. Especially studying abroad, it is vital to be fully prepared before leaving for lengthy amount of time. Aside from booking the tickets, the hotel or apartment accommodations, and planning daily adventures, there is another very important aspect to consider: safety. In order to enjoy the experience to the fullest, being aware of some important safety tips will make the trip go a lot smoother and help to avoid any possible emergency situations.
Scan your travel documents
It is absolutely vital to scan your passport when getting ready to travel. In addition to your passport, it is recommended to also scan any forms of credit cards or identification you will be taking with you abroad as well. Traditionally, it was always suggested to photocopy the documents and carry them along with you. However, in preparing for worst case scenerios that bags will turn up stolen or lost, than having photocopies of the documents will render themselves useless. With today’s technology, the best way to prepare yourself is to scan the passport digitally so you always have the ability to access it if any issues come up.
Set Up Travel Insurance
This is especially important if you are studying abroad since you will be there for typically four months. In this long period of time, it is important to prepare for any accidents or illnesses. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars visiting a hospital for a common cold, this will save a ton of money in case anything unfortunate happens abroad and you need to seek immediate medical attention.
Don’t leave your bags alone in public!
Common theft can happen anywhere in the world — this by no means is implying that abroad is more dangerous than other places. However, it is essential to be especially aware of your belongings when you are traveling in foreign places. Unfortunately, tourists can easily be spotted and taken advantage of. Therefore, when you are out and about, make sure you have your bags on your person at all times. Be diligent on not leaving them next to you or in open space where someone can easily grab it. This applies to being at a restaurant or a cafe, make sure the bag is on you so you can feel it if someone tries to take it unknowingly.
Know your way when in a taxi
From personal experience of being abroad, you can get a taxi driver who will try to jerk you around. As previously mentioned, unfortunately, people do try to take advantage of tourists. It is not bound to happen everytime, but it is important to be aware that taxi drivers do sometimes take extremely long or inefficient roads in order to be able to charge more for rides. Our suggestion would be ask a concierge or a local the best route to get to your destination. This way, when you get into the cab, you can tell the taxi driver which road to take. This avoids them taking you on a long road where you are at risk of being overcharged. Another suggestion, always carry a map!
Keep your money in separate places
This suggestion is similar to the suggestion of scanning your travel documents. In case a bag does get stolen or goes missing, it eliminates the risk of losing everything at once. Do not keep all your credit cards and cash in your wallet. When leaving your apartment, keep some of your cards and money stashed in different safe places. Take only what you need when leaving your space. If you do lose your cards abroad, it can be a difficult and lengthy process to replace, so you want to make sure you have a backup plan in case that does occur.
Pass on your itinerary to friends or family
This is especially important if you are traveling solo. You should always give at least one person who is stateside a rough itinerary of which cities and hotels you will be staying in while you are abroad. This way, in case something goes terribly wrong, you can easily be located. It is essential for your friends and family to know where you are if you are going to be somewhere foreign by yourself. Not everyone has a father like Liam Neeson in “Taken” but every little bit of information helps!
Trust your instincts!
Last but not least, be smart and use your head! If something about a situation doesn’t feel right while abroad, go with your gut and turn the other way. Do not go into sketchy places by yourself and be very careful about whose afterparty you are attending after a long night of partying. Strangers should not always be trusted. Have a great time when you are away but remember to not let your guard down when in foreign places.
These suggestions are not meant to scare anyone away from studying abroad. This is one of the most meaningful experience you will ever have in your life. It is important to enjoy every second of it and just to avoid any of scenario that can hinder the experience. The most important thing to remember when traveling abroad is to travel smart! Hope these suggestions have been helpful and the team at Passport Study Abroad wishes you safe travels!