Traveling internationally as a student is an exciting time in your life, ticking off bucket list destinations, getting the first flavor of independence from mom and dad, and maybe even ‘finding yourself.’ However, to get to the exciting, out-of-this world moments, you need to first think about the boring stuff: the documents, medical attention, and considerations that you need to make to allow you to gain entry to your chosen countries and begin the vacation of a lifetime.
Although it might not seem important to a relatively healthy and independent student, it is vital that you get insurance before you travel. There are many different types of insurance that you should consider before leaving the USA, and these include travel, and health and life insurance. These will keep you protected, and stop you from having to fork out a lot of money when abroad should something go awry. To find the right insurance for you, sites like Insurance Geek offers insider advice to help you pick the right policy.
A Visa (perhaps)
To make sure that you actually get into the country in question, you will need to check the visa requirements of the country in question. For students in the USA, you can travel to 184 countries without a visa, and these include some of the most popular vacation and backpacking destinations. However, if you want to go somewhere a little more exotic, countries such as Australia will ask you to have an electronic visa which can allow you entry for up to 90 days in a 12-month period.
An Up-to-Date Passport
This may sound obvious, but only 35% of Americans have a valid passport. The worst thing that could happen on your vacation is if you turned up at the airport with a passport months out of date, and many countries do not allow you to enter, or even apply for a visa, if your documents will become invalid within six months of entry into the country. While adult passports last for 10 years, if you were issued one as a child, it is only valid for five years before expiring. As you plan your trip, it is important that you check and apply for a passport in an appropriate amount of time, as passports can take between 4 to 6 weeks to be processed.
If you are going to an exotic, far flung country, there is a high chance that you will have to update your immunizations to prevent the spread of disease. Although many countries request that you receive general immunizations, certain countries recommend, or demand, that you have certain immunizations specific to the country. You can find out what immunizations are needed for each country online.
An International Driver’s Licence
If you are over 16 and planning to drive when traveling, look into applying for an international driver’s license, which allows you to drive in 174 countries if you are already in possession of a valid US driver’s license.