Check out the Learning Abroad Center's Pack & Fly Travel Resources for information regarding packing, navigating the airport, technology abroad, and more!
Passports & Visas
A valid passport is required to enter your Freshman Seminar Abroad country. If you don’t have a passport, you should apply for one right away. It is never too soon to get a passport. Passports can take 4–6 weeks to process, so it’s important to begin this process early. It is best to allow for at least 8 weeks to receive your passport after sending your application. Do NOT wait to apply for your passport.
More information is available at travel.state.gov/passport.
If you have a passport, it should be valid for at least 6 months past the return date of your program. If it is not valid for 6 months past your program return date you will need to renew your passport. If you do not have your passport and it is within 8 weeks of your program’s departure, contact your Learning Abroad Center program contact immediately. More information on passports can be found here.
Visas vary by program. Students traveling on a US passport and needing a visa will be informed by your Learning Abroad Center program contact.
Non-US Passport Holders
Students who are not traveling under a US passport may have to follow different visa procedures in order to enter your Freshman Seminar Abroad country. Non-US passport holders, if you have not done so already, should contact your Learning Abroad Center program contact immediately.
Always keep your passport in a safe place. If your passport is lost or stolen, contact the local police, the American Consulate or Embassy, your program leader, and the on-site staff immediately. Make copies of the following documents so you can easily report and replace them if they are lost or stolen. Scan and email a copy to yourself for easy access, leave a copy with someone in the US, and store a hard copy in a safe place (such as your carry-on luggage).
- Visa, if applicable
- Driver’s license
- Insurance cards
- Front and back of credit and debit cards
It is important that you pack light, as you will be carrying your own luggage during the program, often for long stretches in airports, buses, and train stations. Take only as much as you can carry easily by yourself.
- Pack medications, important documents, electronics, and a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed.
- Take clothing that needs a minimal amount of care.
- Rolling your garments reduces wrinkling and saves space.
- Packing your clothing in plastic bags inside your suitcase can prevent rainwater from leaking into your clothing.
- Pack everything you want to bring, pick it all up, and walk around the block. If you are not comfortable, reevaluate what you have packed.
- Pack for the weather and note that you will be spending more time outside than usual. Check www.weather.com for average temperatures and precipitation.
- Most toiletries and personal items can be found abroad, but if you have favorite brands, you may want to bring enough for your stay.
- Consult with your program leader for specific packing needs.
Personal spending habits vary, so be aware of the cost of participation for your program, but also know yourself and your habits when budgeting for this program. Keep these tips in mind when planning for your experience and while you are abroad.
- Diversify the ways you access your money—have a debit card, credit card and some cash.
- Alert your bank that you will be abroad so they don’t freeze your account.
- Check with your bank about international fees and withdraw fees and work them into your budget.
- Make copies of your debit and credit cards in case you lose them.
- Research the exchange rate and local currency of your host country.
- Make a cheat sheet of the exchange rate to carry with you ($1=0.81 Euro, $5=4.06 Euro, and so on).
- Understand the cost of living in your host country by consulting a guidebook or Expatistan.com.
- Make a daily budget and try to stick to it!
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pickpockets exist and generally strike when you are in a crowd.
Avoid taking electric appliances such as hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons, shavers, etc., since these types of appliances will not operate without converters. Voltage is different abroad, and electricity converters often don’t work correctly and cause the appliances to malfunction.
In addition to different voltage, most countries have different outlets, so you will need to bring an adapter to plug in any appliances you pack. Most computers, cell phones, and camera chargers have the electricity adapters built in, so you will need to research the plug type and buy the appropriate adapter.