Traveling abroad is an adventure many classy co-eds embark upon every year with plans to see the world, learn new languages, and be immersed in another culture. One of the most important things to remember when preparing to study abroad is to have the right documentation.
Prior to traveling you should research the customs of the country you will be visiting and know what you want to see. Regardless of what country you are visiting, you need a passport and depending on the specific country, you may need a visa. Traveling without the right documentation could result in delays or detainment.
Remember safety starts at home. Make two copies of your passport identification page, itinerary, and bank cards you plan to take with you. Leave one copy at home with family or friends and pack the other in a different bag from the one you will have the originals in. Scan a copy of your documents and email it to yourself. In case you do get pick-pocketed or lose your docs you can easily access your information, head to the consulate and start working on getting replacements. Stay sharp and alert by regularly checking to see you have everything.
Know where the Consulate/Embassy is
Regardless of how much time you plan on spending in a country, know where the nearest embassy or consulate is. In case of a personal or national emergency, this is the safest place since embassies and consulates are considered American soil. At the embassy or consulate, produce your documents (or copies) and someone can assist you. Always keep a map of the city you are in.
Do not travel around a city with your original documents. Lock your passport in the hotel safe. When you’re out and about, keep the minimum on your person-cash, cards, and electronics. If you do take these out, keep them in your front pockets or in bags with zippers, not backpacks!
Other Document Safety
Withdrawing money from ATM’s abroad can be costly, so find out if your bank has a sister bank in the country you are visiting. If not, explore the different currency exchange options available so you don’t have to carry cards on you all the time.
Keeping these tips in mind can make your time abroad fabulous and memorable.