SU Abroad wants you to be aware of some basic precautions for your travel safety and convenience. Most of these require common sense and staying alert.
- Be informed about current events: Read newspapers and listen to the TV or radio news. There are English-language and international newspapers available at the centers and at kiosks and news stands throughout the cities where are centers are located. If you have questions, check with center staff for advice and travel advisories.
- Be inconspicuous: Don’t try to draw attention to yourself by looking too “American” or by talking loudly. Try to avoid places frequented by tourists. Don’t put yourself at risk by drinking or staying out after local transportation has stopped running. Learn a few basic language phrases for each country where you plan to travel.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Use the basic precautions that are customary in any major city in the world today. Travel with a friend, if possible. Leave a copy of your itinerary with the center staff, your parents, or your hosts. While in a new city, plan your routes and walk confidently. If you are being followed or feel threatened, go into a store or other public area.
- Stay in touch with SU Abroad: You are required to fill out your center’s travel form before you leave your host city, even if it just for a weekend. Listen carefully to SU Abroad staff regarding pick pockets and specific information about safe and unsafe neighborhoods. Always carry the SU Abroad Center emergency card with you in case something goes wrong. Make sure you have a charged cell phone (with available minutes) with you at all times so that SU Abroad can reach you if needed.
Added security at international airports has increased the time necessary to check-in, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to go through security checks. All carry-on luggage will be X-rayed and possibly hand-searched. Travelers themselves may be searched. If you are bringing a laptop, iPad, or camera with you, pack them in your carry-on bag. They will be screened and possibly examined as you go through security.
If you have any questions about how much time to give yourself or what may or may not be carried aboard an airplane, contact the airline directly or check their website. In general, remember the following:
- Do not leave luggage unattended at any time.
- Do not pack valuables (passports, documents, contact lenses, medications, etc.) in checked luggage. Keep them in your carry-on bag.
- Be prepared to take your laptop or tablet from its case. Never put a computer in a suitcase.
- If you are bringing medications with you, you should have a doctor’s prescription with them for identification.
- Don’t carry your passport or money in a hip pocket, open purse, or outside pocket on your backpack. Pick-pockets mingle in tourist crowds, especially at airports, travel agencies, and American Express offices. A money belt or neck pouch is a good idea.
- Photocopy the front (data) pages of your passport, or copy the information and keep it separately.