As a college student, travelling can be an exciting and enriching experience. And it doesn’t have to be super expensive as there are affordable destinations for students to travel to as well.
So, whether you’re traveling for spring break, studying abroad, or simply taking a weekend trip with friends, here are the most important travel safety tips for college students to keep in mind and keep you safe out there.
This post is a paid advertorial. It also contains affiliate links (marked with an asterisk *). If you buy/book anything after clicking on them, this doesn’t cost you anything but gives me a little commission from qualifying purchases to help keep uploading free travel tips for you on to this blog.
Do Your Research
Travel allows you to explore new cultures, meet new people, and broaden your horizons. It is one of the best teachers you can have. However, it is important to remember that travel comes with certain risks, and it is crucial to prioritize your safety when exploring new places.
So, before you travel, take the time to research your destination. Familiarise yourself with the local culture, customs, and laws.
It will help you avoid cultural misunderstandings and ensure you don’t unintentionally offend anyone and end up with fees, travel bans or even in jail. Seemingly harmless things like having bubble gum on you in Singapore or even carrying adult toys with you to UAE could get you into real trouble.
Therefore, check all requirements on the official government pages on international travel and what is applicable and required for your specific destination.
Next, check for travel advisories and warnings from your country’s government and local authorities. There might be natural disasters that commonly happen during certain times of the year or potential for or currently happening political instability. If not, all the better.
Finally, be aware of any common scams or crime hotspots and take precautions accordingly. Tourists are often easy to spot, so don’t make it be you by looking and acting like an easy target. This reflects on your wardrobe as well.
In addition, also check for any potential safety risks in the area where you are staying and travelling. Some areas are safer than others, sometimes even depending on time of year or day.
You can, for instance, cead reviews of accommodation sites to get an idea of the vibe, ask other travellers in destination facebook groups or connect with locals on Couchsurfing and ask for their input (while also keeping in mind that they are strangers).
It’s important to stay connected with friends, family, and other trusted individuals while you’re travelling. Make sure someone knows your itinerary and schedule and how to reach you in an emergency.
You could share your booking details in a cloud with shared access so any changes are visible to everyone. Take screenshots of your taxi/uber drivers licence plates, collect house keys in public places, never tell anyone if you are by yourself, etc.
Especially for solo travellers, there are many essential safety tips to always keep in mind.
Keep your phone charged and on hand at all times, and use apps like Find My Friends or WhatsApp to stay in touch with your travel companions. If you need wifi on the go, you can get an e-sim or a portable wifi hotspot like from Skyroam*.
Travel in Groups
I absolutely love solo travel and have been to 40 countries in total, most of them by myself. It is really empowering, freeing and you can much more easily make friends as a solo traveller too! Grab someone from your hostel, visit groups like Host a Sister or connect with locals on dating or friend apps like Couchsurfing.
That being said, travelling with a group can help keep you safe, especially at night or in unfamiliar areas. I personally travelled the outback in Australia solely in groups for that reason (even though quite a bit went wrong but I don’t know what would have happened had I been alone!).
So stick together, and make sure no one is left behind. If you need to split up, make sure everyone knows the plan and has a way to contact each other.
But do not forget that searching for companions and travel buddies can take time and not all friends are compatible for a shared trip. Check out my list of what to consider in a travel buddie before you ruin a friendship.
Don’t neglect studies
You probably won’t have much time to craft your assignments. However, you can always delegate some papers by choosing a reliable writing service to save you some time and keep you on track. Check tutorbin reviews to know which companies you shouldn’t trust, for example.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When travelling, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. It means paying attention to the people and things around you and being mindful of potential safety risks. Don’t walk around scared and paranoid, just consciously take more of your surroundings in and not just be in constant awe and lose your focus.
For example, avoid walking alone at night, and stick to well-lit and populated areas. Also, be wary of anyone who seems suspicious or is behaving oddly, and trust your instincts if something feels off.
Secure Your Belongings
While traveling, make sure to keep your belongings secure. Keep your most valuable belongings tucked away safely, such as far away from outside pockets, have travel locks* for your rooms and luggage and don’t leave your passport or other important documents.
It can mean carrying a secure bag and definitely not leaving your bag unattended or hanging on only one shoulder.
Also, having an RFID wallet* can help from scammers sneily scanning your credit cards. It’s also a good idea to take photos of your important documents and store them in a secure online location, just in case.
Be Mindful of Your Drinking
Part of the fun of travel is trying new things, but it’s important to be mindful of your alcohol consumption. Don’t leave your drink unattended, or uncovered when your attention is diverted, and don’t accept drinks from strangers.
Be cautious when trying new foods or drinks, and ensure you’re not allergic to any ingredients.
Check if local tap water is drinkable. If not, you may also want to skip on eating raw food as it would be washed with tap water too.
A common sickness from this can be traveler’s diarhea (also known as Bali belly, Montezuma’s revenge, Food Poisoning or Gastro).
Finally, if you choose to drink, do so in moderation and make sure you’re in a safe and familiar environment.
Have a Plan for Emergencies
Finally, it’s important to have a plan in an emergency. Make sure you know the location of the nearest hospital and keep emergency contact information on hand. I always store local emergency numbers in my phone in advance. I learned from a tragic incident in Bali how some countries have local hospital numbers that you should know about before you need them.
If you’re travelling abroad, ensure adequate travel insurance covering medical emergencies, evacuation, and repatriation. Never ever leave for a trip abroad without your travel insurance. It has honestly saved me a bunch of times.
And having traveler’s insurance can actually mean that you get fast medical help that is much more affordable or entirely covered by your insurance. I personally take out insurance with SafetyWing* cause they also cater to longer term travel and you can get them while already being on the road in case you forgot.
Other Obvious Tips for Comfortable Traveling for College Students
Travelling as a college student can be exciting, but it can also be stressful, tiring, and uncomfortable. But there are several things you can do to ensure that your travels are as comfortable as possible.
One of the most crucial things you can do is to pack smart. Make sure to pack comfortable clothing and shoes appropriate for the climate and the planned activities. If you have all the outfits mapped out for each day, that can help tremendously. To be more spontaneous, pack things that are easily combinable (capsule looks, solid colours, similar palette, etc).
Here are some handy examples and downloadables to give you inspiration:
- What to pack for a winter vacation
- Packing list for tropical vacations
- What to pack for an outdoor adventure
Always have a charged external battery* and cable with you in case your phone runs out of juice. It can easily happen with all the photos you are taking and maps you are navigating. I always use maps.me to download offline maps, get distance calculations, public transport network overviews and get more accurate hiking trails. It’s a free app.
In addition, bring a travel pillow and foldable blanket, as well as noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to help you sleep on long flights, bus rides and even in your accommodation. You never know how quiet and dark they actually are. Comfort and rest are super important in staying healthy while travelling and also vigilant. It also helps cope better with jetlag.
Another tip is to stay hydrated and well-rested. Drink plenty of water before and during your trip to avoid dehydration, and try to get a good night’s sleep before your travel day. If you have to adjust for vastly different time zones, try going to bed a little earlier or later every day two weeks before your trip.
You can also bring snacks and light meals to keep your energy levels up and avoid unhealthy airport or roadside food options and budget better.
Lastly, don’t forget to take breaks and relax. Take time to stretch and move around during long trips to prevent muscle cramps and stiffness. Don’t squeeze in too much on your trips. You WILL be exhausted by all the new impressions alone. And it’s ok to not cover all the top 10 sights. No pressure! It’s your trip.
Listen to music, read a book, or watch a movie (download them to your phone or tablet in advance) to keep yourself entertained and relaxed when you need it.
Following these tips can make your travels more comfortable and enjoyable. So, pack smart, stay hydrated, and take breaks to make the most out of your travels!
Travelling can be an incredible experience, but it’s important to prioritize your safety while exploring new places.
By doing your research, staying connected, traveling in groups, being aware of your surroundings, securing your belongings, being mindful of your drinking, and having a plan for emergencies, you can help ensure that your travels are safe and enjoyable.
Remember to have fun, but always put safety first. And if you have any questions, feel free to comment them down below and I’ll get back to you.