Becoming international students is one of the most valuable opportunities available to college students. Student travel brings together studying in a foreign country and learning about the charm and history of that new land. However, international students must leave the comfort of their own country and fend for themselves abroad. To make that experience easier, here are student travel tips!
1. Have a signed, valid passport, and, if necessary, a visa.
Passports are required to enter and/or leave certain countries around the world. As soon as possible, apply for a passport and check the entry requirements for the country (or countries) you plan to visit.
Many countries require international students to receive special visas before entering the country. Contact the embassy of the foreign country you’ll be visiting and ask for up-to-date visa and other entry requirements.
Before you leave, please fill in the Emergency Information page of your passport. Print or scan your passport and send it to yourself, leave a print with a friend or relative, and place a copy in your bag.
Once you’re there, don’t get caught overstaying your student travel visa. Review the conditions for renewal prior to departure and regularly for any updates.
2. Read the Consular Information Sheets
Make sure you read the Consular Information Sheet while you’re browsing the embassy website. Consular Information Sheets offer up-to-date travel information on any country in the world you plan to visit. These cover issues such as immigration laws, crime and security incidents, criminal penalties, road conditions, and the location of your embassy, consulates, and consular services.
International students should also watch the news and search for alerts online. Make sure you check Travel Warnings and Public Notices. Travel Warnings suggest that citizens delay travel to the country due to hazardous conditions. Public Notices provide fast-breaking information on relatively short-term conditions that may pose risks to the safety of travelers. However, please keep in mind that just because there are problems in one part of the country, it doesn’t mean that the whole country has problems.
Spend some time on the Internet doing a bit of research on online student travel forums for the area you’re going to visit. Keep in mind that these sites for international students may or may not have the most accurate information.
After going through all of the above, keep a link with important information, phone numbers, maps, and anything else that will make your trip smoother.
3. Register your trip with the Embassy
Make sure you register your trip with the Embassy online or upon arrival in the new country.
Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page, and some details to get in touch with friends or family from back home so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Keep your host program informed of your location.
4. All international students should buy travel insurance
Many international students overlook insurance, but it is extremely important for your peace of mind and that of your family back home. Some insurance plans protect your baggage, medical costs, and cancellations, making sure you have the best care when you need it most. Just keep in mind that if you need to make a claim, you need to buy an insurance policy before you go on your journey.
For longer travels abroad through several countries, we recommend getting travel insurance from SafetyWing, our affiliate partner. This is what we bought for this year while we’re sailing the coast of Southern Europe while living full-time on our sailboat. It was the travel insurance that offered us the best coverage without breaking the bank. It can be amazing for international students.
Still health-related, you should make sure your immunizations are up-to-date for the country you’re moving to. And, if you’re bringing any medication with you, also pack copies of your prescriptions.
5. Do your homework before you leave home
Read about the places you’re planning to visit and check only the official sites to get straight facts. Also, take the time to do become acquainted with the basic rules and customs of the foreign country you want to visit before you travel.
Remember! Unrecognized behavior while in another country can do more than ruin your vacation; it can land you in a foreign prison or worse. To enjoy a safe trip, avoid any risky behavior and plan ahead.
6. Dress casually and don’t flaunt it even if you’ve got it.
Do not become a target for thieves by wearing eye-catching clothing and expensive jewelry. Instead, dress plainly, with non-descript shirts and jeans.
Also, do not carry excessive amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards for during your student travel experience. When exchanging money, only deal with authorized agents or use ATMs. And, if you have the choice, it’s better to bring debit cards instead of credit cards.
7. Take care of your stuff
Travel light and take care of your belongings. Don’t leave your baggage unattended in public areas and never accept parcels from strangers. Otherwise, you risk becoming a target for thieves and turning into an unknowing drug mule. Keep your eyes open and report anything unusual to the authorities.
8. Stay out of jail!
Learn the local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while you are international students, you must obey the laws of the foreign country you’re visiting!
When overseas, stop consuming illegal drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages. Also, stop interacting with people who do. Possession of small amounts of marijuana may be a misdemeanor in your home country, but it may be a class I felony in another. Instead of a small fine, you might be in a foreign jail for 10–20 years!
9. Check your school’s student travel tips for international students
Figure out whether your school back home provides additional information to students intending to research, travel or work abroad. Most student guides can provide you with knowledge about studying or working abroad. They may also be able to provide you with information on any travel benefits for international students (e.g. how to save money on transportation and accommodation and other resources). You can also find a lot of information online about scams and rip-offs you may encounter during student travel. Do the due diligence!
Sidney Child loves to travel and experience the world. She’s 24 years old and during college, she was lucky enough to study abroad. Sidney considers herself fortunate because she had traveled to 20 countries in the last 5 years.
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