Know Before You Go!

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Smart Tips for Prospective Study Abroad Students or Ambitious Travelers

TLDR; Alright, for all you people too lazy to read, this can be summarized into 5 main points:

1. Medications

2. Where’s my Stuff?!

3. Alerts and Travel Plans

4. Be Ready to Hit the Ground Running!

5. Limit the Booze

If you are prescribed any medications, make sure that you have more than enough to last you throughout the duration of your trip.  That means check the expiration dates! Additionally, look into where you’re headed. 

You may want to meet with your doctor before travel and discuss your plans a few weeks prior to departure.  They may recommend a variety of vaccinations or even give you prescriptions to take with you as a precaution.  The most common travel illness are dermatological and gastrointestinal.  In the event you develop symptoms during your travels, with the proper prescription packed, you could hypothetically self-medicate. 

As a final point, pack first aid essentials in your carry on.  Advil, Aspirin, Band-Aids, Gloves, Tums/Pepto, Antiseptic Cream, and Benadryl are a few items worth mentioning.  Travel sized portions of these can often be found at most major drug stores. 

Where’s my stuff?!- Even while traveling within the United States, one should be mindful of a few basic points.  First, money and other valuables should be concealed on your person.  This means no wallets in the back pocket or flashy and expensive purses.  Money should be in a convenient place of access.  For example, when I travel I carry a duffle.  All of my valuables are in a zippered pocket that rests on my side while I walk.  This allows me to keep all of my belongings in one convenient location while still having easy access.  Some retailers also sell special security backpacks with zippers that lock.  This may be a wise investment if you plan on relying on mass transit.

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Planning out a trip can be a bit stressful. Especially when you have multiple destinations.  When I traveled, I would bring a folder and chronologically put my tickets, hotel/hostel confirmations, and other documents in order.  When I completed a portion of my trip, I would move the used paperwork to the other flap of the folder.  This way I was always able to quickly access the forms I needed if I was running late or had an issue.

Signing up for travel alerts via the State Department website is also not a bad idea. In doing this, if there are any emergencies, you will receive a text message or email.  Sharing your itinerary with a close friend or family member also helps to ensure your safety in the event of an emergency.

If you will be visiting multiple countries with different currencies, taking out money prior to arriving in said countries is a smart move.  How much is entirely up to you.  Just keep in mind that you may not have immediate access to funds when you arrive at your destination.  It’s also important to pack appropriate attire that corresponds to the culture of your destination.  A simple Google search should give you all the information you need on how to blend into where you’re headed as opposed to making a fashion statement!

Over indulging/binge-drinking in any situation is probably a bad idea.  In a foreign country it is an absolute no-no.  The same thing goes for any recreational drug use.  Even if those drugs are legal in that country, there is no safe way to try a drug in a foreign country.  Limiting your alcohol intake can tremendously increase your chances of avoiding a problematic situation with locals and authorities.

-Tyler Robinson

This post has been edited for grammar. All other content remains the original work of the author.