Travel Tips and Safety Abroad
Studying abroad can be a fun and safe experience, but it is important to realize that you are subject to the laws and customs of another country.
Below are some tips and resources to help keep you prepared and safe. Although most trips abroad are trouble free, being prepared will go a long way to avoiding the possibility of serious trouble.
Research your Destination
- Become familiar with the basic laws and customs of the country you plan to visit before you travel.
- Remember: Reckless behavior while in another country can do more than ruin your experience, it can land you in a foreign jail or worse! To have a safe trip, avoid risky behavior and plan ahead.
- Apply early for your passport and, if necessary, any visas. Most countries require visitors who are planning to study or work abroad to obtain visas before entering. The Study Abroad Office can assist you with securing a passport and will assist all students in securing their visa, if one is required.
- We cannot encourage you enough to learn about the countries that you plan to visit. Before departing, take the time to do some research about the people and their culture. The Department of State publishes Background Notes on about 170 countries. These brief, factual pamphlets contain information on each country's culture, history, geography, economy, government, and current political situation.
- Other websites that may be of use when researching specific countries: International LBGTI Association, CIA World Fact Book, ...
Study Abroad will conduct a series of mandatory pre-departure training sessions for all study abroad programs which include information on the following:
- UNT Expectations about behavior, the UNT Honor Code and study abroad
- Emergency health and safety situations: What to do? Where to go? Whom to contact?
- Student and parent expectations
- UNT's health and accident insurance
- Personal health and security
- Culture shock and cultural adaptability
- Money matters and financial aid
- What to pack
Failure to attend a session could result in a student offer of admission being rescinded.
Below are some basic items to help you as prepare. More detailed information is available to you in our on-line system.
Prepare for Travel
- Ensure your credit and debit cards are opened for international use by calling your bank and card companies.
- Enable your phone for service abroad or buy a calling card once abroad for emergencies. Look up international calling codes before you depart.
- Make and print a list of phone numbers to call in the event that any one of your important cards or documents is stolen.
- Make a separate list of the contact numbers in your personal cell phone in case it is lost and leave this list at home. Make another copy to keep with you. Consolidate the most important numbers on a small card and laminate it.
- If you have any food allergies, or any other type of allergy, be sure you are aware of how to communicate this in your host country.
- Look up information ahead of time on local medical services.
- Leave copies of all important documents and lists made at home with your emergency contact, and bring a second copy with you.
- Check with your host in advance about local ground transportation and the best way to arrange and pay for this expense.
- Check with the airline and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for airline and baggage restrictions.
- Check the voltage and plug style of your destination for adapters and transformers.
- Check the internet/Wi-Fi situation of your destination to avoid bringing computer and phone technology that isn't necessary.
- Look at the weather forecast for your destination to bring the right type of clothes with you.
- Do not bring anything valuable or that cannot be replaced. Traveling makes items more vulnerable to loss, theft, and breakage.
- Bring all prescription medications in your carry-on, in their ORIGINAL packaging, with your name on it. Ensure you have the proper amount you will need for the duration of your stay.
- Only bring major credit and debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express).
- Keep your luggage with you at all times and pack lightly.
- Avoid clothes that attract attention when traveling, such as clothing with brands or words on it (particularly university logos).
- Avoid displaying large amounts of money, traveler's checks, credit cards, etc.
- Avoid telling strangers too much personal and identifying information.
- Avoid walking alone at night; stick to groups and lighted areas. Avoid deserted areas at all times.
- Use ATMs that are inside banks and need a card to be accessed. Avoid ATMs at night
- Ask your host about using public transportation in your destination to find out the best practices.
- Avoid street food. Also, find out about the safety of tap water and raw vegetables ahead of time.
- Avoid religious or political discussions as well as clothing which could associate you with such groups.
- Keep a copy of any reclamation forms that you receive or reports filed if your items are lost or stolen.
- Never consume any illegal drugs or have any illegal drugs in your possession.
- Know where the nearest U.S. embassy is and register before you depart. You can access this information at the U.S. State Department website.