Travel is one of the most exciting things young people can experience. When studying abroad, travel can broaden the horizons and change people in ways that simply must be seen to be believed. Plus, it can be a ton of fun. While traveling abroad is a remarkable experience, there are some risks involved. Not every student knows what to do when they set out on their own for parts unknown. And, that doesn’t mean that students have to go out there blind; we have some great hints and tips that will help those traveling abroad to be safe, be smart, and have a great time.
No matter where you travel, it’s always good to be aware of your surroundings. If something seems off, or someone is giving you bad vibes, clear out. Get to a safe spot or make sure you have people watching your back. Don’t wander in unsafe neighborhoods, or separate from the tour group. Be smart, be aware, and never risk your safety — it’s just not worth it in the long run.
Getting caught unaware while abroad can be a terrifying experience for students and parents alike. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself aware of what’s going on. You can sign up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which provides you with tons of updates and information about the country you’re visiting. If a crisis occurs while you’re away from home, this program will send updates to your phone and give you the info you need to stay safe.
Everyone needs a break once and a while, especially when it comes to studying! Stepping out for a drink (or a few) is fine, and depending on where you are, drinking may be culturally accepted. In some countries partying is the norm — so pace yourself and don’t try to catch up with the locals who’ve kept a high tolerance for alcohol. Traveling abroad is not the place to drink more than your usual limit, or lose control and make a fool of yourself. Besides the embarrassment of being an out-of-control tourist, you could be putting yourself in a truly dangerous situation. Criminals target tourists who have over-imbibed; protect yourself and stay smart, no matter the situation.
Know Your Address
No, we don’t mean your home address. Find out the address of wherever you’re staying, and keep it with you at all times. Write it down, and learn how to say it in the local language. Identify some local landmarks so that if you get lost, you have a chance of finding your way back. This will all prove useful when traveling; public transit will seem a lot less intimidating, and whatever happens, you’ll be able to get back to your lodgings at the end of the day.
Keeping in touch with the people back home is a key part of safety when traveling abroad. Your family and friends will want to know that you’re having fun and taking care of yourself. Luckily, there are a few apps out there designed to keep you connected with the people you love most. Download apps such as Skype and WhatsApp, they’re free while using WiFi and are a better option than making pricey phone calls during your entire trip. Be sure to look into the best apps for your phone that will keep you connected even if your wifi fails. You can even share your location with family and friends for a limited time so they can keep an eye on you — no matter how far away you may be.
Do Your Homework
Don’t dive into a new environment without doing your research beforehand. Before you set out on your adventure, do some research. Find out the local language and culture, and what currency is being used. Learn about customs in the area and the best ways to get around. The more information you have at your disposal, the more time you can spend enjoying your adventures — and less time worrying about staying safe while traveling abroad.
Have any other tips for student travelers? Let us know in the comments below!