When you dream about studying abroad, you’re probably thinking about sightseeing, delicious foreign cuisine and all the interesting people you’ll meet overseas. What probably won’t cross your mind are the logistical measures you’ll have to take before you even get on the plane. Preparing for a major overseas trip can be a drag, but it’s the sacrifice you make for having a stress-free and fulfilling experience. To get started on your plan early, read on for five tips that will have you ready to take off well before your departure date.
1. Do Timely Tasks First
Applying for a passport, visa and other necessary travel documents could take weeks, even months to become fully processed and mailed to you. Get these timelier tasks out of the way first, so you can stay busy preparing while the processing takes place. Start saving ASAP! Study abroad can be expensive, and it takes a while to build up your savings on a student’s budget.
2. Get Insurance
The issue might not cross your mind until you actually experience it, but what if you were to have a serious injury or illness overseas? Would you be covered when receiving necessary treatment? Unlike back home, you can’t just go to the doctor’s office and use your insurance card to have the visit covered.Purchasing a student health insurance plan is essential for putting your mind at ease about these potential emergencies and even basic health care needs. Not having student health insurance plans could end up costing you twice the price of the trip itself.
3. Pack Smart
Choose compact, wheeled luggage with multiple compartments to make organization easier. New models of luggage feature a special Transportation Security Administration-approved compartment for laptops, which saves you the hassle of having to remove it when going through security. Though you’ll probably be away for a while, pack as light as possible. Choose versatile clothing items and shoes to mix it up while you’re away without weighing yourself down.
4. Create a Basic Itinerary for When You Arrive
You don’t want to arrive in a foreign country with no place to stay, no idea how to speak the language, no idea where the grocery store is and no support from friends and family. To avoid having a panic attack when you land, have everything laid out before you arrive. Know where you’ll be staying, arrange for someone to transport you from the airport and know where to go for food and other basic provisions you’ll need right away.
5. Exchange Your Money
There is absolutely nothing worse than arriving at your destination without any currency vendors will accept. Exchanging at the airport or overseas often costs much higher than exchanging at your home bank, so conduct this transaction well before you leave. Doing this ahead of time can be an effective way to keep you from spending your study abroad savings.
These preparatory measures can apply to more than just students studying abroad, so learn from this experience in your future travel endeavors. Remember that it’s never too early to start! Once you’ve completed everything on the list, talk to a study abroad counselor at your school or a travel agent for some tips on what to do next.