Before you get on your way to a new and exciting country, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re aware of certain things.  After speaking with so many people who have travelled internationally, and after extensively travelling across the United States myself, I have picked up on a few of these “tricks of the trade.”  Here are a few of my favorite quick tips to help you prepare for all of your travels.

  1. Pack light—well, not too light, but don’t forget to leave room in your bags for any new clothes or souvenirs you may buy while abroad.
  2. Know your itinerary (at least have a basic outline).  In my experiences, it’s always handy to have a list of places you would like to see.  Or, make your list elaborate to the point where you have to experience new and exciting things!
  3. Be aware of your finances at all times.  Things happen, but personally I would not like to lose money for any reason.  Just don’t overspend, there’s no need to exceed your limits if you’ve planned accordingly.  And always be wary of pick pocketing; places with higher tourism are stereotyped to have higher rates of stealing.
  4. Have insurance that covers you for any medical issue that arises.  It’s important to know what you will have to cover for any medically related expense.  You can usually get expanded medical through your own provider while you’re travelling internationally, but if not, then check with the program you’re studying abroad with.
  5. Remember to keep updated on any conditions that may threaten your itinerary or your safety. This could be simply weather-related or it could be something bigger such as a riot.  Be aware of all your current events for the area you’re travelling to and you’ll do fine.
  6. Make sure to pack enough “techie” stuff to keep in contact and take photos—everything from cameras, cell phones, and all of the chargers and cords that these things need. Those of us who don’t have the option to travel want to experience new places too!
  7. Last, but not least, know the area basics of your trip.  If you know the location of where you stay, the transportation in the area, and the well-travelled areas in the neighborhoods you’re visiting, then you should (unless you have a knack for getting into a jam) complete your trip quite safely with out any mishaps.
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