Traveling, studying, and living abroad is best when you have done your research and know what to expect. While part of the adventure in living abroad is the unexpected, we’ve put together some of the most important tips you’ll need to be aware of when traveling abroad.
With the exception of some UNL Faculty-Led program participants, the UNL Education Abroad office does not purchase airfare for individual students. Students can purchase airfare from a trusted travel agency or online. Student travel agencies can often be a good option for students because they can offer discounts, flexibility for booking, re-scheduling, and cancellations. Options include Student Universe and STA Travel.
STA Travel's Airfare Deposit Program allows you to lock in your international ticket price by paying a $300 deposit. For students who are receiving financial aid: final payment deadline is fourteen (14) days after departure, allowing you to use any financial aid refunds you may receive to purchase your plane ticket. For students who are NOT receiving financial aid: final payment deadline is seven (7) days prior to departure. To learn more, find fares, and book flights, contact STA Travel and ask about the Airfare Deposit Program!
Train travel in many countries is a popular and efficient way to get around. A railpass can save you money by offering unlimited travel for specific time periods. There are several rail plans available for travel in Great Britain and 20 countries in continental Europe. These rail passes can only be purchased in the U.S. For more information or for the most current price go to http://www.raileurope.com/index.html
International Student Identity Card
This card entitles students to obtain free or reduced rates at theaters, museums, student hotels, etc., in many countries, as well as reduced rates on trains, boats and flights. Cards are issued at Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Office of Global Engagement, located on St. Paul Avenue here in Lincoln. You must schedule an appointment in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; please list 2-3 times you are available to meet. Bring your current student ID & Driver’s License, a passport sized photo (can be printed on regular paper), proof you are a full-time student (a print out of classes from MyRed is acceptable) and $25. You can also buy the card online.
Hosteling International Membership Pass
This pass allows you to stay at any of the 4,000+ hostels which are part of the worldwide HI network for approximately $15.00 to $30.00 per night. Hostels can be historical or purpose-built buildings most often with a common area, dormitory style rooms, and cooking facilities. Make sure you do your research online and know what safety and security measures will be in place for each location. Passes can be purchased online. For further information: www.hihostels.com or www.hiusa.org.
Money and Budget
Careful budgeting, saving, and planning is extremely important before and throughout your trip. UNL Education Abroad staff can help you determine how much your tuition and program costs will be, but make sure to also consider the costs of airfare, health insurance, and the daily living expenses that you’ll incur while abroad. Another way to be financially prepared for your trip is by visiting the UNL Student Money Management Center. This gives you the opportunity to work with an advisor to learn how to best manage your financial resources, both at home and abroad.
Before traveling abroad, make sure to inform your bank where you will be traveling and find out what will be charged to your account each time your withdraw money. Some banks charge you a percentage of the total amount withdrawn, while others just charge a flat fee. Be aware of bank limits on daily withdrawals and make sure to know your PIN. ATM’s are very common worldwide and may be more convenient than traveler’s checks if you have a debit or credit card. Remember that ATM’s at your destination will give you money in the host country currency.
Cell phone technology changes quickly, so make sure to do your research on your travel destination before going abroad. Many locations around the world use cell phone systems that won’t allow you to use your US cell phone while abroad. Many students buy or rent inexpensive cell phones upon arrival. Make sure to talk with your program coordinator or friends and acquaintances who’ve traveled to your location to find out cell phone availability and pricing.
Skype is a popular option that will allow you to call home for free from your computer. If you choose to use Skype while abroad, make sure your loved ones back at home know how to use it as well, and even consider setting it up for them. They’ll love the experience of getting to see and talk to you while you are abroad!