5 Travel Hacks From Previous Study Abroad Students

Let’s face it: preparing for your trip abroad can be stressful and overwhelming. I remember being kind of terrified to arrive at a foreign airport alone, and to have to find my way to my accommodations. Now that I have successfully travelled to a new country alone, I can tell you that it doesn’t need to be scary (you will survive). I am also here to share some of my travel tips to provide you with some peace of mind, and ensure your travels go as smoothly as possible.

1. Order a SIM card ahead of time

Airport wifi has got to be one of the biggest jokes of all time. It’s when you need wifi the most that it’s the least reliable. If you can, order a SIM card from your host country to your current address before you leave to save you from this horror. Pack it in your carry on, so that you can pop it in once you arrive at your destination. Another option would be to get an ESIM, which is a virtual SIM card. While it might be only a temporary fix, an ESIM will at least get you through the first few days of your arrival until you can get a physical SIM card.

2. Keep copies of important documents

This might be a no brainer, but seriously, photocopy and print a few copies of your:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Proof of housing
  • Tuition receipt
  • Return ticket

I suggest not losing your passport, but if this happens, you can bring your photocopy to the Canadian Embassy in your location. It’s also a good idea to keep your copies organized and stored in various spots.

3. Purchase a luggage scale

Airport security is really cracking down on bag weight limits it seems. Get a luggage scale to save you from not only the ridiculously expensive overweight bag fees on flights, but also the humility of having to repack your bags at airport security (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything). You can find these online for fairly cheap, and they are so handy and portable.

4. Try to pack light

Obviously this is way easier said than done. It’s difficult to leave certain belongings behind, especially when you’re going away for several months on end. Nevertheless, my advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Don’t bring things like hair dryers or flat irons, as the voltage will likely not even be compatible with the voltage in another country, meaning the device could just get ruined anyways. It’s also kind of refreshing to pack strictly the essentials. Travelling will make you realize that the perceived list of “needs” isn’t actually that long.

Plus: more room in suitcase = more room for souvenirs.

5. Utilize social media

In your preparations, it’s worth checking if your host university has an Instagram account. Social media platforms can provide current information about opportunities and events at your university that you might otherwise miss. There are also accounts dedicated to sharing content about the specific location you’ll be in, such as @visitauckland on Instagram. Utilizing social media can help you gain insight into what to expect once you arrive.

Final advice:

Be flexible. The best way to prepare yourself is to embrace spontaneity. Things may not go according to plan, but that’s all part of the adventure!

Happy travels everyone 🙂

For additional questions, contact a Study Abroad Ambassador on Instagram.

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