Tips for traveling: 4 ways to stay safe when studying overseas
The opportunity to travel abroad as a high school or college student – whether to volunteer, to study or simply to see the world – is a great experience for shaping a student’s character and awareness early in life. But what if parents don’t have the luxury of joining their children on the trip? Instinctively, parents may want to prevent their teenaged and young adult children from traveling abroad without their supervision, but this valuable experience truly can’t be passed up when the opportunity arises. Naturally, parents will still have some concerns about their children when traveling abroad. The following four tips can ease the anxiety that comes with sending a young person off alone.
1. Keep in contact
In this tech-driven age, parents are used to being able to call or text their kids virtually any time to see how they’re doing. Of course, this constant communication is trickier when the child is overseas. It may require a bit of an investment, but international calling can be made possible with some of the latest smartphones. However, if you want to save some money, consider online communication tools like email and Skype, and set up specific times of each day (taking the time differences into account) to talk to one another.
2. Gather important documents
There are all kinds of horror stories in the news about travelers getting deported for not having the right documents or being forced to stay at the airport in a foreign country because of an expired passport. One of the ways parents can look out for their children’s safety is by making sure they have all the necessary documents for traveling, while paying close attention to expiration dates. To be safe, it’s recommended that youth travelers have documents renewed if the expiration date falls even just a few months after their expected return date.
3. Purchase insurance
From the smallest head colds to major medical emergencies, students traveling abroad can potentially run into instances in a foreign country where they need to see a healthcare professional. Sans insurance, this simple need can turn into a heavy expense – unless you purchased insurance ahead of time.
4. Prepare for problems
Since parents won’t be there to advise their children about what to do in cases of emergency or just general uncertainty, it’s good to have a back-up plan ready for anything and everything from travel complications to grocery shopping. Know exactly where your child will be staying and create a list of the addresses and contact information for local police stations, fire stations, hospitals and other places your child may need to know about.
Planning for potential problems can be a bit worrisome for parents, but the important thing is to remember that these minor anxieties are worth the life-changing benefits of traveling abroad. Whether studying, volunteering or just discovering new cultures, children can have a more complete understanding of the world around them that textbooks often lack. These four steps can allow them to achieve this well-rounded worldview in the safest and most carefree manner possible.