Cultural Experience | Packing Lists

Abroad Prep: What to Know Before You Go

Tips and tricks when preparing for your adventure abroad.

Traveling abroad is an opportunity that is filled with new experiences, adventures, and challenges. It is a chance to explore the world outside the bubble of your hometown, learning new cultures and gaining new, different perspectives on life. The whole experience is equally exciting and scary and chances are, the nerves will start to set in a few weeks before your leave.

To calm some of these nerves and make for a smooth transition between countries, follow this list of abroad preparation tips in the weeks leading up to your trip. This will ensure that you are ready for any new challenge or adventure you face!

Credit card and money

A few days before you depart for your trip, remember to call you bank and tell them where you are going and how long you will be gone. Notifying them beforehand will ensure that they don’t put any holds or blocks on your card for unusual charges, this way you can spend and indulge without worry! It may also be a good idea to exchange some money to the country’s local currency before leaving, this way you escape some of those hefty exchanged fees and you are prepped in case you run into an airport emergency.

Make sure your passport is up to date

This one seems like a no-brainer but it would really suck to have to deal with an expired passport while abroad. So save yourself the headache, before you leave make sure that your passport is updated and won’t expire while you’re on the trip or up to six months after you return from your trip.

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Cute passport covers add style and personality!

Plan out your top 5 list 

Before you leave, take time to sit down and plan out your top 5 list. This could be different places you want to visit or things you want to see and do while abroad! Planning this list beforehand will help you to budget both your time and money so you can check off every number on the list and maximize fun!

Get plug adapters

This is one that most people don’t think about (at least I didn’t on my most recent trip!) but it is especially important for electronic junkies. Plug adapters allow you to charge and use your electronic devices in other countries. These adapters are relatively cheap and can be bought and popular drug and department stores like Walgreens or Target. Remember, you can’t post your awesome Instagram shots if you can’t charge your phone!

Check the weather 

There is nothing worse than being on a trip and being unprepared for the weather. Pro tip: check the forecast for the week(s) that you’ll be away so you’ll be prepared for any unexpected or unusual weather patterns that may arise. I realize that this is next to impossible if you’re gone for a whole semester; in that case, it’s all about layers! My two best packing tips are lots of staple pieces and lots of layers so you can mix and match lots of outfits and you are prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way.

Learn some basic words and phrases

9 times out of 10, going abroad will mean experiencing a new language. It is important to take time before arriving to familiarize yourself with that language. I’m not saying you have to be fluent, but you know, learn the important stuff like “please,” “ thank you,” “do you speak English” and “where is the bathroom?” Trust me, those last two will definitely come in handy. Learning a few, everyday words and phases will definitely help you get around and it’s the respectful thing to do, it will show locals that you are trying to fully immerse yourself into their culture.

Abroad Prep, what to know before you go

Emily Allen

University of Maryland | 9 stories

Hi everyone! My name is Emily Allen and I'm a junior communications major with a focus in public relations at the University of Maryland, College Park. As much as I love Maryland, I love getting out and exploring the world more. This job is pretty prefect for me considering I love creative writing, traveling, and taking artsy photos.

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