Cultural Experience | Resources

Things You Need to Know Before You Travel

Excitement builds as you get closer to your trip and you think you’re prepared….but what do real study abroad students say you need to know before you go? Advice from the College Tourist team:

Caroline H: For me the most important thing to bring is definitely my camera as well! Other than that I always have something to write with me- a notebook and pens to write down memories, number, checklists, places people to tell you about, scribble on the plane…you never know! I usually bring something to read as well, a travel magazine, a thin book, poems anything really to keep me busy when I have to wait for something ! And lastly Photos from home and other places that I’ve been to- i usually just have them in my phone but it makes it so easy to chat and connect with other people!
Photo taken in Australia on the last day of high school when we went swimming in our uniforms!


Meghan R: The only four things you need when traveling are your passport, money, cellphone and a camera! The first three are pretty self-explanatory because you need them to get around, but you need a camera to capture the memories! No one needs to buy a postcard if they have beautiful pictures they took themselves of their travels. Picture from Capri after riding the Monte Solaro chairlift to the top. 🙂


Courtney J: Pack light!! And be spontaneous! Only packing the bare necessities gives you the opportunity to change plans on the fly or just go with the flow. See what your accommodations provide. If they provide towels, then you won’t need to bring one. In a lot of airports in Europe, you can check your suitcase for a layover! I was studying abroad so I wanted to bring more than a backpack of clothes, but when I traveled around with a friend after, I only had to carry my backpack!

Yejin C: Be flexible, trust yourself and your friends, and just remember it’ll all become priceless memories when you look back after! Sometimes, traveling can be daunting, and it doesn’t go as you expected, but my travel taught me to be flexible with situations I was facing. Just take a deep breath, trust yourself, and your friends that you are with on the road. And even if that situation you are facing might be scary and you just want to get over with, when you look back after you are done with the journey, you will miss everything. So enjoy that hardships that you face during your travels! 🙂

Carson S: Write things down. My memory for details is the absolute worst, so when I started out on my first trip I found that after a while the details of all of the wonderful places I had been started to get a little blurry, and I really regret not writing things down. Things like the names of people I met, or conversations that I had with interesting people along the way. How I was feeling each day. Even the vividness of the colors, sounds, and smells I was surrounded by in each particular place. So, I started to write down everything. I personally have kept journals where I write stuff down and tape in photos/ ticket stubs/ etc. , but it could be so much as making a note in your phone. Writing things down really gives you a chance to reflect on where you are and what you are experiencing, and also gives you a beautiful thing to look back on when your travel ends.

Carson S: Stash some extra cash. To cover yourself in case of an emergency make sure you have some cash tucked away in a few different places. If you lose your wallet, your card stops working (which reminds me, make sure you let your bank or credit card company know when you are traveling abroad, just a good a habit to get into especially when you plan on visiting more than one place), or even if you get somewhere and really want buy something but they don’t take cards, you will be glad you did.

Carson S: Stay in a hostel. I know some people are super skeptical about them but if you try it at least once or twice I promise you will love it. There is sort of a stigma for them being gross, or scary, but it is usually quite the opposite. Obviously they are a cheap means of accommodation which is a perk its self, but a lot of times they are in amazing locations and super cool buildings, and also offer free breakfasts and have good dinner and drink meals at night. They are a great way to meet new and interesting people to tourist around with, a super big plus if you are traveling alone. The hostel staff has a ton of knowledge and hacks about ways to see the city, and the hostel its self often offers free guided tours and pub crawls. If you are not comfortable with the whole adult-slumber party vibe there are always all male or all female accommodations, and even private rooms for much cheaper than most hotels. Some of my favorite travel stories begin with the people I met in a hostel!

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