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International trips for students are more popular than ever. But not so fast! It’s vital to take the time to address all considerations that go along with taking a trip beyond your country’s borders. It’s true, traveling internationally can be exciting—especially if it’s a student's first time outside of the country. But before you set sail, board the bus or spread your wings, consider these tips to ensure your international trip goes off without a hitch.

  1. Know the bathroom situation. In some countries, you may need to bring your own toilet paper, pay to use the facilities or something else beyond what students are used to. Being aware of this beforehand will be incredibly helpful when nature calls. Ask your Travel Consultant if this is a problem in your destination.

  2. Mind your health. It’s always a good idea to visit the Centers for Disease Control website several months before your departure date. It’s here that you’ll learn about any travel health notices, as well as any precautions you and your students need to take, including those regarding food, water, necessary vaccines, etc.

  3. Have up to date medical information available in multiple languages. If you and your students are traveling to a country or region where a language other than English is spoken, having medical documents available in that language—in addition to English—is vital. Knowing how to ask for help in the local language is also a good idea. Google translate can help with this.

  4. Understand how to protect yourself and students from theft. While traveling overseas can be an exciting way for students to experience new environments and cultures, they should still be aware of their surroundings and make smart decisions to protect themselves and their belongings. From having photo copies of important documents and leaving valuables at home toproperly securing your phone and camera, thorough prevention is your best bet.

  5. Register your trip with the U.S. State Department. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Doing this allows officials to know your location and itinerary in case natural disaster, civil unrest or another emergency occurs. In addition, stay connected to stay safe. Understand how to check for travel advisories and get alerts should things change. You can register your trip at

  6. Passports are a must. Ensure all trip participants have the proper documentation well in advance of the trip’s departure date. Passports are required for international travel, but vary based on age in terms of expiration length and application process: Passports for students under age 16 expire after five years, while passports for those age 16 and older expire after 10 years. Note the time for passport processing is typically six to eight weeks, though it’s best to anticipate the processing time to be longer in order to avoid any unnecessary last-minute pressure.

  7. Remind students to be respectful. Ensure students are aware of any local customs ahead of time so they (and chaperones) understand how not to cause offense. This is a great opportunity to broaden students’ cultural awareness and global perspective, so don’t waste it!

Don’t hesitate to spend some time clicking through the U.S. State Department website, where you’ll find a plethora of valuable information.

Courtesy of ETI.


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