The Learning Abroad Center offers products and services to make your travel planning easier.
Visit the Learning Abroad Center Resource Center in 230 Heller Hall (map) for more resources on traveling abroad.
- Passport Photos
- RailEurope Passes
- International Identity Cards
- Lonely Planet Guides: 20% with a U of MN student ID
The Learning Abroad Center offers travel advising appointments! Consider meeting with a travel adviser to help prepare you for your travels abroad. Travel advisers may also be able to help you with basic logistics, such as money matters, general transportation issues, and recommended sites to visit.
To schedule a 15-30 minute travel advising appointment contact the Learning Abroad Center at 612.626.9000 or visit our office in 230 Heller Hall (map) to schedule an appointment.
*Note: Due to the changing nature of visa requirements and processes, travel advisers are not able to offer assistance with these matters. For information on entry requirements and visas, visit the State Department website.
Obtaining Travel Documents
It is important for you to obtain the appropriate travel documents for your time abroad. Although the Learning Abroad Center does not issue passports or visas, there are a number of helpful resources available to help you obtain these important travel documents.
Online Travel Resources
Learn About Your Destination
Paperboy.com Search for newspaper links from around the globe and catch up on the current news in your destination before you go
World Hum Lots of good links, foreign newspapers, and alternative travel writing including travel blogs
CountryReports.org Information by country about geography, economy, history, culture, and customs
CIA The World Factbook Detailed information and statistics about every country in the world
Trip adviser: Get reviews and recommendations on lodging and things to see from others who have been there
Travelmag: Get ideas of places to visit and things to do from entertaining travelogues
Travel Gear and Packing
What to pack? Pack using a checklist so you ensure that you have brought all the necessities for your experience abroad. Keep in mind that you will likely purchase additional items and souvenirs while abroad, so leave extra space in your luggage or bring an extra bag. Also remember that many basic items can be purchased almost anywhere in the world. For some items, such as toiletries, it may make more sense to bring a small amount and purchase more locally as needed.
Documents and IDs
- plane tickets
- check card
- credit card
- US dollars (in case of emergency)
The following sites offer travel products for purchase:
Midwest Mountaineering: Great selection of backpacks and travel gear located right on the West Bank in Minneapolis
REI: Travel gear online or at three locations in the Twin Cities area
Amazon.com: Competitive prices on several brands of travel products
Magellans.com: Wide variety of travel products for all travelers
Health and Safety Abroad
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Get information on disease risks and necessary immunizations for your destination
World Health Organization: Keep up-to-date with global health issues and find vaccination requirements and malaria recommendations listed by country
Boynton Health Services: Information on getting immunizations and international travel for U of M students
U.S. State Department: Passport information, visa requirements, and government announcements and warnings about your destination
xe.com: Conversion rates for every currency in the world plus a useful tool that allows you to convert US Dollars to foreign currency and vice versa
letravelstore: Figure out if you need a voltage converter or adapter for the appliances you plan to take abroad
Students Abroad: A website developed by the U.S. State Department for students traveling and studying abroad
Monetos European Guide: A guide for living and traveling in Europe
Travel AgenciesUniversity Travel Services
1423 Washington Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454
www.univtravel.com Village Travel Service Inc.
2626 East 82nd Street, Suite #280
Bloomington, MN 55425
Online Travel Search Engines
Although somewhat less predictable than using a travel agent, booking online may save travelers a considerable amount of money. Online agencies may offer less customer support than the personal service given by a travel agent, so remember to read the fine print.
Check out these sites:
Discounted prices on air, car & hotels
Discounted prices on air, car & hotels
Excellent prices for many regions of the world
Discounted airfare just for students
Great listing of travel deals for students
A great site that searches multiple airlines consecutively
Consistently good prices for certain European destinations
Tips for Booking Fights
- Flight prices are highly contingent on the season—consider going during off-peak season.
- Flights are usually cheaper during mid-week travel.
- If possible, check alternative itineraries by altering the leave and return dates; Monday–Wednesday are usually the best departure days.
Online Search Engines
- Consider using a search engine to find the cheapest date/time to fly and then go to the airlines own website to book the actual tickets. Many times airlines will match or beat other prices listed online and the service/security you receive with the purchase is better when purchasing directly from the airline.
- Airfare Watchdog offers a great Q&A section with tips on finding the cheapest flights through online search engines.
- Make sure to contact at least three agencies or websites to assure yourself of the best fare.
- The greatest advantage in using a travel agent is the 'customer service' aspect. These travel agents will be able to advise you not only on the best or alternative travel options, but on visa issues that may save you time and money in the end.
- When using a travel agency, ask the agent to check the published fares, the consolidated fares, and the student fares.
- When buying tickets for extended travel, look into buying an open-ended ticket and thoroughly evaluate the airline's policies regarding changing ticket return dates.
- When flying into large cities, check flights coming into different airports for cheaper alternatives.
- If you are considering buying specific country flight passes (such as the Boomerang pass in Australia), keep in mind that often they can only be bought from the United States.
- Check airline hubs for cheaper flights, however, sometimes non-local airlines offer deals to entice potential customers.
- Homestay: Living with a family in another country will be one of the highlights of your international experience. You have the opportunity to experience the daily life of your host country from a firsthand perspective and develop lifelong ties to your host family.
- Apartment: Living in an apartment allows you to maintain your regular lifestyle, habits, and diet. The key to a successful stay in an apartment is to be mindful and respectful of your landlord's guidelines and expectations.
- Dormitory: Dormitories have the advantage of being on or near campus, and having facilities—such as cafeterias and laundry—nearby. Dormitory living also allows you to meet host country and other international students.
- Hostel: Hostels are very inexpensive places to stay and can be found in almost every city. Hostels are different than hotels in that travelers sleep four to six in a dorm-style room. This offers a great opportunity to meet other people and even become travel partners, especially for solo travelers. Hostelling in Europe is a popular option for those backpacking around the continent or making weekend getaways while studying abroad. Hostel memberships are available from Hostelling International.
Worldwide Hostel Search Engines:
Special Interests and Needs
Mobility International USA: Advice for travelers with disabilities