Now that you're just about ready to take off and start your new abroad experience, there are some points that you should consider. From money to medicine, housing to what to pack, there are many things you should begin thinking about. Have a look through our pre-departure guides for you to both inform yourself and begin the pre-departure dialogue with your parents, advisors and program specialist.
Information for our semester and summer students.
Quarter course and course with travel students select here.
As the world is different so is the information regarding your program. In addition to the general pre-departure guide above, you will also find program-specific details in your online account. This information will include everything from arrival information to specific what-to-do's for that country.
Students and their families should be aware that the U.S. Department of State maintains a website for U.S. citizen students who are, or will be, studying abroad. It may be found at www.studentsabroad.state.gov and addresses the following subject areas:
- Enrolling one's presence abroad with the nearest U.S. Embassy through the STEP (Smart Traveller Enrollment Program)
- Checking country-specific conditions as well as travel warning and alerts
- Offering students travel safety and other traveling tips provided
We at the Office of International Education and Programs want to make sure that our students are as informed as possible. This includes providing you with tips and suggestions from students who have previously studied abroad with us. Below you'll find an ongoing collection of resources grouped by topic.
General travel tips
- Do your research - Visit the U.S. Department of State's website about travel abroad as a U.S. citizen. It would also be a good idea to read the country-specific recommendations for your travel destination.
- Health check - When traveling to different regions of the world, it never hurts to check the health precautions outlined by the World Health Organization, organized by country. The Center for Disease Control website is another great resource.
- Make copies of everything - Make 2-3 copies of important documents like your passport, visa, insurance cards, etc. If anything happens to these documents, you'll be glad you have copies! Leave a copy at home with your parents and carry a couple copies in various places in your luggage just in case!
- Write contact information on paper - It is important to write phone numbers, emails, addresses, etc. down on a piece of paper and carry it with you. This will be very important if your phone or computer is ever lost or stolen. Make an extra copy and keep copies in different places throughout your luggage.
- Tipping - This custom differs based on country, service, and more. It is best to do a quick search and read about the customs in your destination country before arriving.
- Ask at the hotel - The staff at your hotel/hostel can be an amazing resource. They will probably have extra maps, coupons, and suggestions for your trip. Ask them about restaurants, directions, tours, and more!
Smartphone Info and Apps
The global section of AT&T's website is a very helpful resource when it comes to figuring out what will be your best bet while traveling abroad.
T-Mobile has some international plans accessible in certain countries. Check this website to find out if your study abroad destination is one of these countries.
According to Verizon, you can use this interactive Trip Planner to help determine the global services you'll need and see if your device is covered while abroad. This lays out prices and for all kinds of services.
Helpful Apps For Smartphones
- HostelWorld: Quick and secure way to book a place to stay while on the go. Search 35,000 properties in over 6,000 destinations worldwide- including more economic options like hostels, perfect for students.
- SkyScanner: Compares the complete price, including taxes and fees. (Many sites do not include these taxes and fees when promoting cheap flights, which can be misleading!)
- GateGuru: Flight and airport information to manage your travel day. Real-time flight status with push notifications along with airport content specifically customized to your itinerary.
- TSA App: 24/7 access to the most frequently requested airport security information and helpful tips to prepare for security before getting to the airport, including knowing what items can and can't go through security in checked or carry-on baggage.
- JetLag App: Helps reduce the symptoms of jet lag. Just fill in your departure and arrival information and you will receive your jet lag reducing advice.
- EuRail App: You can map routes and see at which stops trains should be - without connecting to the internet.
- LifeLock: Electronic copy of your banking cards and personal information, credit card balances, tracking updates, etc.
- XE Currency: Offers live proprietary currency rates, charts, and even stores the last updated rates.
- Tipulator: A tip calculator to help split bills and tips while also explaining the customary tipping rules for specific locations abroad.
- Whats App: Allows you to text and talk for free as long as there is wi-fi.
- Viber: Allows you to talk and text for free between smartphone with wifi, but also between a smartphone and a computer, or just between two computers. Perfect if one person does not have a smartphone.
- Text Now: Can call anyone in your contacts after watching ads, always free to text when there is wi-fi available.
- Skype: Free chat (text, voice, and video), plus you can pay to call landlines at cheap rates.
- Jibbigo: A voice translation app that you can use online or offline. Translate your speech or text into 20+ languages.
- TripLingo: Learn essential phrases (in four slang levels!), instantly translate your voice or connect to a live translator, and get a crash course on the local culture.
- RadioLingua: Offers quick lessons in more than 20 languages.
- DuoLingo: Completely free, without ads or hidden charges- have fun while learning by leveling up and competing with friends.
- CityMaps: Detailed offline maps, in-depth travel content, popular places, and insider tips.
- HopStop: Detailed subway, bus, train, taxi, walking and biking directions, real-time transit information, official transit maps, nearby station search, and station-to-station schedules in over 600 cities throughout the world.
- PackingPro: An app that shows the seasons, weather, and fashion to wear in specific countries.
- TripList: Helps make packing lists and to-do lists for your travels.
- Travel Safe Pro: List of nearest consulates and their contact numbers as well as common local emergency numbers like police, fire, and medical help.
- ASAPP SOS: This app provides students traveling in more than 18 countries with the ability to notify emergency contacts, services or help with only one touch.
- AroundMe: Allows you to search for the nearest restaurants, banks, gas stations, book and hotel or find a movie schedule nearby.
- Viator: Helps you to find tours and day trips in your new destination.
- FoodSpotting: A visual guide to good food and where to find it. Instead of reviewing restaurants, find the specific dishes you crave and the best restaurants for them.
Air, Rail, Bus, and Travel Companies
General Low-Cost Airlines in Europe
- EasyJet: One of the low-cost airlines operating in Europe. Visit their website for an interactive map of the routes offered. Though the flights can be a good deal, especially when purchased in advance, be aware of the restrictive baggage policy.
- RyanAir: Another low-cost airline operating throughout Europe. The website features an interactive map to help plan your trip. Again, make sure that you read the baggage policies, as this company tends to be very strict and the penalty fees can be very expensive.
- WizzAir: The website features an interactive map to help plan your trip. There is also a page with helpful information and travel conditions. As always, read up on the baggage policy to make sure to avoid any delays or fees when traveling.
- Vueling: Another company offering low-cost flights across Europe. Check out the map of destinations and the baggage policy on their website.
International Bus Travel
- Eurolines: An international bus company that offers bus travel throughout Europe. This company offers a Eurolines Pass, which is a 15-day pass allowing travel between 50 different cities across Europe, handy for a vacation or a couple weeks spent exploring.
- Megabus: This company is less spread out, but does service Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands at a low-cost.
- iDBus: This low-cost bus company services various cities throughout France, Belgium, and Northern Italy. A few select cities like Barcelona, London, and Amsterdam are also included.
- Student Agency: This Czech company offers low-cost bus travel throughout Eastern Europe.
International Train Travel
- RailEurope: This website will help you find the right rail companies and tickets to accommodate your international travel. In some cases you may need tickets with more than one company in order to complete your journey due to service boundaries.
- SNCF: This company services mainly France, but ventures into Northern Italy and the U.K. Be sure to book in advance for better rates. If you're staying in France for the year, look into the getting a one-year pass, called a Carte Jeune. For a one-time fee of 50 Euro you will have access to reduced rates throughout the year.