Travel Tips For Students
This pamphlet was prepared by the Department of State's
Bureau of Consular Affairs to provide students, who are planning
to travel or study abroad, with a few reminders about safety.
Although most trips abroad are trouble free,
being prepared will go a long way to avoiding the possibility
of serious trouble.
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 vacation; it can land you
in a foreign jail or worse! To have a safe trip, avoid risky
behavior and plan ahead.
Preparing for Your Trip Abroad
Apply early for your passport and, if necessary, any visas:
Passports are required to enter and/or depart most countries
around the world. Apply for a passport as soon as possible.
Some countries also require U.S. citizens to obtain visas before
entering. Most countries require visitors who are planning to
study or work abroad to obtain visas before entering. Check
with the embassy of the foreign country that you are planning
to visit for up-to-date visa and other entry requirements. (Passport
and visa information is available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.)
Learn about the countries that you plan to visit. Before
departing, take the time to do some research about the people and
their culture, and any problems that the country is experiencing
that may affect your travel plans. The Department of State publishes
Notes on about 170 countries. These brief, factual pamphlets
contain information on each country's culture, history, geography,
economy, government, and current political situation. Background
Notes are available at www.state.gov.
Read the Consular Information Sheet. Consular
Information Sheets provide up-to-date travel information on
any country in the world that you plan to visit. They cover
topics such as entry regulations, the crime and security situation,
drug penalties, road conditions, and the location of the U.S.
embassy, consulates, and consular agencies.
Check for Travel Warnings and Public Announcements.
Travel Warnings recommend U.S. citizens defer travel to a country
because of dangerous conditions. Public Announcements provide
fast-breaking information about relatively short-term conditions
that may pose risks to the security of travelers.
Find out the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
If you are traveling to a remote area or one that is experiencing
civil unrest, find out the location of the nearest U.S. embassy
or consulate and register with the Consular Section when you
arrive. (U.S. embassy and consulate locations can be found in
the country's Consular Information Sheet.) If your family needs
to reach you because of an emergency, they can pass a message
to you through the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 202-647-5225.
This office will contact the embassy or consulate in the country
where you are traveling and pass a message from your family
to you. Remember consular officers cannot cash checks, lend
money or serve as your attorney. They can, however, if the need
arises, assist you in obtaining emergency funds from your family,
help you find an attorney, help you find medical assistance,
and replace your lost or stolen passport.
Find out what information your school offers. Find out
whether your school offers additional information for students
who are planning to study, travel, or work abroad. Many student
advisors can provide you with information about studying or
working abroad. They may also be able to provide you with information
on any travel benefits for students (e.g. how to save money
on transportation and accommodations, and other resources.)
Before committing yourself or your finances, find out about
the organization and what it offers. The majority of private
programs for vacation, study or work abroad are reputable and
financially sound. However, some charge exorbitant fees, use
deliberately false "educational" claims, and provide
working conditions far different from those advertised. Even
programs of legitimate organ-izations can be poorly administered.
How to Access Consular Information Sheets,
Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements
There are four ways to obtain Consular Information Sheets,
Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements:
Mail: Send a self-addressed, stamped business-size
envelope to: Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4811, Department
of State, Washington, DC 20520-4818. On the outside envelope,
write the name of the country or countries needed in the
lower left corner.
Top Ten Travel Tips for Students
Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas,
if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency
information page of your passport!
Read the Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements
or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you
plan to visit.
Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and
visas with family or friends at home, so that you can be
contacted in case of an emergency. Keep your host program
informed of your whereabouts.
Make sure you have insurance that will cover your emergency
medical needs (including medical evacuation) while you are
Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the
countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in
a foreign country, you are subject to its laws!
Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas and
never accept packages from strangers.
While abroad, avoid using illicit drugs or drinking excessive
amounts of alcoholic beverages, and associating with people
Do not become a target for thieves by wearing conspicuous
clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive
amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards.
Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money
to avoid violating local laws.
When overseas, avoid demonstrations and other situations
that may become unruly or where anti-American sentiments
may be expressed.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLICATION 10679
Bureau of Consular Affair