My friends’ and I held up our passports and boarding passes for a picture before our trip to Italy last year. Spoiler: see tip #6 for how we kept our passports safe!

My study abroad trip to France with the College of Communications is approaching quickly and I’m nervous and excited. Last summer, I went on vacation to Italy with three of my best friends and to prepare for that trip I met with some of my Mom’s friends who I consider to have plentiful knowledge about going abroad. Along with recommendations of things to see and places to go, I found the information they gave me concerning safety while abroad to be most helpful. This time, I’m taking what I learned from them and applying it to this trip. Currently I’m trying to complete all the online assignments for my trip, shop for some outfits that are perfect for France, and keep my safety in mind. If you’re thinking of going abroad, it is essential to keep a few of these things in mind. Following these guidelines will give you the best shot at having a fun and safe experience!

  1. Notify your bank when you are going way Nothing is worse than being on your dream trip and having your credit card be flagged for fraud because you forgot to call your bank. 
  2. Get RFID blocking cases for your credit cards and your passport Swiper no swiping!                                                                                 Getting these cases will protect you from identity theft and if you take good care of them, you can save them for your next trip like I did for mine!
  3. Decide on an international phone plan. It’s so important to consider what type of phone plan you will get for your time abroad. Although this might seem obvious, I think it is easy to let slip through the cracks. For my trip last year and my trip this summer, I chose to participate in the ten dollars a day international plan from Verizon. Hopefully I’m just as pleased with it as I was last time!
  4. Don’t spend all your time abroad looking down! On my previous abroad experience I took a lot of pictures but I was mindful to not be on my phone too much, as it is vital to be checked in and aware of your surroundings. Absentmindedly sending a few snapchats can give a pickpocket just enough time to grab the euros you were planning on using to buy some macaroons and coffee later.
  5. Don’t keep all your money in one placeFor example, if you take out 500 euros(something you should do in advance before you go) you can separate these into different parts of your bags or put some of it in a safe that your hotel or wherever you’re staying might have. You don’t need all that money out with you each day as you embark on various adventures. If you’re not sure how much to bring out with you, consult with a friend who is on your trip with you.
  6. Bring a few extra color copies of your passport                                                              In case your passport is stolen or lost, it’s a great idea to bring along a few color copies of your passport. You can start by putting one in your carry-on, one in your checked bag and maybe one in your purse(which should always be a crossbody).

I hope you find these tips helpful, especially if you haven’t been abroad before! Fingers crossed they work just as well for me this time as they did in Italy! Stay tuned for updates on how I balance the fun of travel as well as staying studious! Hint: it will probably be with help from coffee, or should I say le cafe?