@heydeniz lost in Venice
You put so much time, effort, and especially money, into planning your perfect adventure. Whether it is a vacation to sit on a beach or wander the streets of and ancient city, there is nothing worse than having something go wrong. And the worst part is, it always seems like you covered everything, right? After traveling around the world and having some pretty god days, and some pretty bad ones, Hopefully this go-to list for travel safety and travel prep will have you feeling at the top of your game and prepared for anything the next time you pull out your suitcases.
All tips can also be applied to study abroad students, as well!
My number one. This is a must have for any trip out of the country when you are traveling with your passport. You should have either the Hidden belt or neck pouch for all of your travels. Take it from someone who the one time they didn’t take it, got everything stolen and will forever look at their security neck pouch and go, “curse you.” Because it really is a lifesaver. The hidden belt pouch and the security neck pouch I like both for different reasons. I think the neck works for all purposes and you can easily access it when you’re wearing anything. The belt is a little complicated when you’re wearing a dress, so you do have to go to a bathroom every time you want to get something out.
Documents Folder // Folder on Phone
The best advice I got before going abroad was to keep a folder with me at all time with hard copies of stay, visa, and extra copies of personal information. When my passport and my wallet were stolen, I had enough on me to get by and prove whom I was and what was going on.
When you are traveling internationally, I would recommend the exact same thing to anyone. Make hard copies of your itinerary, where you are staying, credit cards, passports, driver’s license, visas, and birth certificate (study abroad students should also keep copies of their acceptance into their program from their school or independent program, letter of acceptance from university you will be attending, and letter to border agency, if you are given one). Another important tactic is keeping them on your phone. It’s faster than pulling out the folder, and if you’re ever loose or forget your folder, you always have another copy on you.
Having contacts already set in your phone is a huge life saver (and time saver) and written down on a separate sheet of paper and saved in your documents folder because you never know if/when something might happen to you or a friend you are traveling with. It is better to be over prepared than underprepared. The best numbers you are going to want to have are:
• Your Emergency Contacts at Home
• Your International Program at your University’s emergency number (if they have one) and email
• Your Program Coordinator/Advisor Abroad
If you are doing an Independent Program, you should have an Emergency Number, your Program Coordinator’s Number and email, and the Program’s email
• US Embassy or Consulate’s number and address in your designated country
Locks, Locks, Locks. Put locks on your luggage and on your purse/backpack when you are walking around the city. You should wear it on your chest (trust me, I know, not attractive at all), but the locks are very effective in the sense that it makes you less of a target. Is it full proof? No. But it helps.
Photograph Everything Before Leaving
It happens, luggage gets lost. Before you leave the house take a picture of all of your luggage (your checked bags, carry-ons, etc) and the inside. This way, if your luggage does go on an adventure of it’s own, you can show Lost Luggage a picture of what it looks like and it will make their job a whole lot easier.
Okay, this may seem weird, but it’s my favorite trick. If the weather is cool enough to get away with it, layer a lighter jacket under the jacket or coat you want to wear. Put your phone, money, and anything else you want in your pockets in the pockets in the inside jacket so your pockets on the outside are empty. This way, it looks like you have nothing in your pockets. Genius.
Side note, some outdoor brands make jackets/coats with pockets on the inside now especially for passports and travel. One brand I know does this is Eddie Bauer
Small Pocket Wallet for the Day
We all probably have really big wallets that hold everything we need in them for life. When you are traveling, keep your wallet with the majority of your money and credit cards locked up or in your security neck/waist pouch. Use a small pocket wallet or coin purse to hold a little bit of spending money for the day. That way when you do need money, you are only pulling out a little from the tiny wallet that can easily fit in the inside pocket of your jacket.
There are so many apps out there for traveling you could use up all of the memory on your phone just to store them. Personally when it comes to the brand specific apps for travel, like airlines, hotels, and car rental, are up to you based on your preference of the company. Each airline and hotel offers their own reward policy if you have membership so it just depends how much you fly through them if its worth it to you to have their apps.
Here are a few of my favorite travel apps that I have used while traveling, and they’re free:
Flight, Hotel, and Student Discount Apps: Kayak.com, Skyscanner, StudentUniverse, STAtravel
*Messaging Apps: WhatsApp, Tango, Viber
Maps: CityMapper & Google Maps
Banking Apps: *Venmo (great app to use when your traveling in a large group, you can pay people faster) & Currency Converter
Transportation: Uber, Lyft, & Any Public Transportation App for large cities (The Tube in London, CTA in Chicago, Metro in Paris, etc)
In Case of Emergency Apps: *US Embassies & Consulates Overseas App & MyTSA
*My best suggestion is if you don’t know what app you want before you go, download them all. When you are traveling you can’t always download some apps because they are US based apps. You can access them anywhere, but they have to be set up in the states.
Traveling can be stressful, but hopefully while you are packing and prepping you will feel the stress fade away with a few of the tid-bits. Hope they help you stay safe and enjoy your time abroad!
xx A Traveler's Bliss
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)