Essential Safety Tips for Traveling Abroad
Studying abroad is an exciting and enriching experience, but it's important to prioritize safety when exploring new destinations. Here are ten ways to stay safe while traveling abroad:
1. Attend orientation sessions
Orientation sessions are designed to prepare you for your new environment. Attend these sessions and take note of safety tips, emergency contact information, and local customs and laws.
2. Respect local customs and laws
On that note, make sure you know the expectations and laws of your host country. Respect local customs and laws, including dress codes, social norms, and religious practices. Avoid taking photos of sensitive areas or people without their permission. A little respect can go a long way!
3. Research your destination
Before you travel, research your destination thoroughly. Learn about local customs, laws, and potential safety concerns. Make sure you know where your study abroad office, school, and dorm/host family is located.
4. Keep your valuables safe
Keep your valuables, such as your passport, money, and credit cards, in a secure location at all times. Consider investing in a money belt or other travel security accessories.
5. Stay alert in public spaces
When in public spaces, such as tourist sites or crowded markets, stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and avoid displaying expensive items or large amounts of cash.
6. Use reputable transportation
When using public transportation, choose reputable companies and avoid unlicensed taxis or buses. The best type of transportation will vary country-to-country, so make sure you do your research before arrival.
7. Avoid walking alone at night
As in any metropolitan area in the U.S., avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. Stick to well-lit, populated areas and consider using transportation or arranging for a group to accompany you.
8. Stay connected
Stay connected with family and friends at home, and consider sharing your itinerary with them if you travel anywhere new. Keep your phone charged and carry a portable charger or extra battery.
9. Be cautious of scams
Be cautious of scams targeting tourists, such as fake taxi services or "friendly locals" offering unsolicited help. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
10. Know emergency contact information
Know the emergency contact information for your program center, apartment/dorm/homestay, and the local police and hospital. Keep this information easily accessible, and make sure someone else knows it as well.
Study abroad is an incredible experience, but it's important to prioritize safety. By utilizing these strategies, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip!