Traveling with a group of friends or on your own can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Tri-S trips provide a common travel experience allowing for life-long relationships to emerge as you travel, serve, and learn. A worthwhile travel experience requires intentional preparation, a positive attitude, and infinite flexibility.
Tips for Travel
It is important that you attend all of the group pre-departure meetings. In addition to learning essential details about the trip, these times serve to build a strong, coherent team, which is essential to a successful experience.
Learn about the country and its history. Reading about the country and its history will provide a valuable context for your travel experience. The internet is an excellent source for information and current news.
Study the culture. Learn as much as you can about the people, their customs, language, and worldview. One of the most rewarding aspects of your experience will be to cross cultural boundaries of understanding.
Learn to adapt and maintain a positive attitude. Cultural differences, together with a strenuous travel and work schedule can lead to frustration and emotional stress. It is important to maintain a positive attitude and be prepared to adapt to the culture. Even though things may be done differently than we are used to, it does not mean that our way of doing things is better. Thoughtless, sarcastic remarks about ways of doing things, local traditions or accommodations can cause great resentment. Since we are guests, we must be willing to accept and understand the customs and traditions of our host country. It is always important to be sensitive to cultural norms. For example, in some cultures, shorts and some other modes of dress are often considered inappropriate. Respect for such cultural differences is crucial to the success of the experience. The experience seeks to immerse students in another culture by living with host families, sharing in local meals, participating in work projects, and worshiping with the people. It is essential to demonstrate a gracious and thankful attitude for the meals, housing, and hospitality that is offered.
Be flexible. Travel is always an adventure. Changes in travel schedules, accommodations, and work projects are inevitable. Be prepared for the unexpected. Cultural immersion will also stretch us to the limits of our physical and emotional capability. A successful experience requires that we be “infinitely flexible.”
Bags & Baggage
- Avoid overpacking. Overpacking can damage your bags and their contents. Pack only what your luggage can comfortably hold. Be particularly careful with canvas or similar soft-sided bags. Remember to leave room for purchases.
- Use appropriate luggage. Know what type of luggage is appropriate for the type of trip you are on (i.e. suitcase, hiking pack, backpack, carry on, etc.)
- Remove old destination tags. To avoid possible confusion, take off the destination tags from your previous trips.
- Make a list of luggage contents. List the contents of your bags and keep the list with you. You can help identify a misdirected bag by giving an accurate list of its contents.
- Treat fragile items with care. Pack small breakable souvenirs in your carry-on bag. Have larger breakables carefully packed for shipment. Avoid flip-top or glass liquid containers and always tighten the tops of all containers. If packing liquids, allow for expansion and only fill bottles 3/4 full. Wrap liquid containers in a plastic bag. Avoid packing aerosols.
- Use sturdy luggage. Choose luggage that is sturdy and arrange any necessary repair or replacement of older bags before your trip.
- Use external name tags. Airlines can return a misplaced bag faster if your name and address are on it. An airline ticketing location or baggage service office can provide for you a plastic shielded name-and-address tag without charge. The tag is to loop around the handle of each bag you check. Be sure your name and address are inside each bag too.
- Keep your valuables with you. Do not pack in your checked baggage: house or car keys, insulin or other medication, money, jewelry, legal documents, passports, tickets, tourist cards, or other valuable or negotiable items.
- Know that luggage requirements vary. To be safe, aim to carry one moderate-size suitcase that you will check in with the airlines. It is also permissible to carry one small bag onboard the plane, but it must fit under the seat. Pack the carry-on piece with toiletries, medications, and a change of clothing.
- Monitor the luggage you check. Wait at the ticket counter until the agent has tagged your bags. Double check to be sure the tag receipt shows the right destination. Keep the receipt in a secure, easily accessible location
- Remember that bags look alike. Do not rely on style or color when reclaiming your luggage. Match the number on the bag with your tag receipt and check your ID tag before leaving the claim area. A distinguishing decal, ribbon, or other mark is a good idea. Besides helping you identify your luggage, it will discourage other persons from picking up your bag.
Passport & Visa
U.S. Department of State Travel Information
- Leave a copy of your Tri-S flight schedule and contact number with family or friends at home in case of an emergency.
- Make two photocopies of your passport photo/signature pages, driver’s license, health insurance information, ATM/credit cards, and iNext Policy if applicable. Leave one photocopy at home with family and pack the other in a separate place from where you carry your valuables.
- Travel light! You will be able to move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand.
- Dress conservatively. Avoid the appearance of affluence.
- Avoid handbags, fanny packs and outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing.
- Leave valuable jewelry, irreplaceable family objects, electronic items, and unnecessary credit cards at home.
- Put your name, address and telephone numbers on the inside and outside of each piece of luggage.
- Carry a minimum amount of cash.
- Use credit cards to pay for larger purchases and emergencies. Do not use your credit card to make cash withdrawals. Card providers will charge a service fee for international credit card transactions.
- Use an ATM card for access to cash in the local currency. Find out from your bank or card provider if they have ATM locations in the city/country you will be visiting. Banks will charge a service fee for ATM transactions.
- Traveler’s checks can be difficult and expensive to cash internationally, but they can be replaced if lost or stolen.
- Keep a list of credit card and ATM card account numbers and the telephone number of your card provider in a separate and secure location. In the event that your card is stolen or misplaced, you can immediately call to have the card canceled and replaced.
- Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill.
- Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase souvenirs.
- Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home. Be especially cautious in or avoid areas where you are likely to be victimized. These include crowded subways, train stations, elevators, tourist sites, market places, festivals and marginal areas of cities.
- Don’t use shortcuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.
- Do not travel alone.
- Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
- Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments. Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
- Avoid scam artists. Beware of strangers who approach you, offering bargains or to be your guide.
- If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims. After reporting missing items to the police, report the loss or theft of traveler’s checks to the nearest agent of the issuing company, credit cards to the issuing company, airline tickets to the airline or travel agent, and passport to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, point to something spilled on your clothing, or distract you by creating a disturbance. A child or even a woman carrying a baby can be a pickpocket. Beware of groups of vagrant children who create a distraction while picking your pocket.
- Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse snatchers.
- Try to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. When possible, ask directions only from individuals in authority.
Anderson University requires that all participants in all off-campus programs have comprehensive health and accident insurance. For international Tri-S travelers, an iNext International Insurance Policy will be included in the cost of the trip. This coverage includes repatriation of remains and medical evacuation, as well as other benefits. For domestic Tri-S travelers, if you currently do not have health insurance, visit the Tri-S Office for options. For study abroad travelers, some study abroad programs offer the required insurance. If not, an iNext International policy can be purchased to meet the insurance requirements.
- See your doctor before you travel to discuss and ask any concerns or vaccination/immunization information. To get an idea of what may be required or recommended, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Some locations will require additional immunizations or vaccinations for yellow fever, malaria, typhoid, hepatitis, or other health risks. Information on required immunizations or vaccinations will be provided at your group meeting.
- Your physician can also recommend special medications for motion sickness, traveler’s diarrhea, possible infections, and infrequent headaches – just in case.
- Allergy sufferers…beware! Discuss your allergies with your doctor, and make sure you’re prepared for potential problems in areas where the growing seasons are reversed (such as south of the equator.)
- Get your new prescriptions filled, and make sure other regular prescriptions are refilled, so you’ll have enough for your entire trip. Keep a copy of the prescription with you when you travel. Also, be sure and have all medications in their original containers. Take medications with you on the airplane; do not pack them in your checked luggage.
- Choose your travel wardrobe for health and comfort, as well as style. One absolute must is a good pair of walking shoes. Make sure they’re well broken in before leaving home. For tropical areas, clothes should be lightweight and loose-fitting. Natural fabrics “breathe” better than some synthetics. In some areas, evenings get abruptly cooler after the sun goes down, so do bring a sweater or jacket.
- Exotic cuisine may be delightful, but a case of traveler’s diarrhea can ruin a trip. To help avoid it, be careful of what you eat and drink, especially in warm climates. First and foremost, don’t trust the water. Drink bottled beverages without ice (it’s water, too!) Salads and fruits need special consideration. Food washed in water, such as lettuce, may not be safe. Any fruit you might eat should be completely peeled. In some parts of the world, dairy products – milk, butter, and cheeses – aren’t pasteurized. Avoid them if you can. Try to avoid foods that aren’t from the region you’re visiting. And raw is risky, even under the most well-controlled circumstances. If you can’t boil it, cook it or peel it . . . don’t eat it. Eat well, but safely, and you’ll have a better chance of not getting sick.
What is jet lag?
It is the exhausted, run-down, disoriented feeling you may experience after a long airline flight, especially into a time zone very different from home. Between the stress of your new surroundings, the unusual situations of travel, and your own tiredness, it is normal to feel out-of-sorts. Here is what you can do about it!
Tips to feel your best:
- Take good care of yourself before you leave.
Eat and sleep well and move your body. Plan ahead to reduce the stress of travel day.
- Think in your new time zone.
As you board the plane, set your watch to the time at your destination.
- Eat light and stay hydrated.
The day of the flight, avoid sugar, non-prescription drugs, coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks. Eat meals low in fat and high in carbohydrates.
- Get comfortable.
Wear loose-fitting clothes and shoes to aid circulation and comfort during the long flight. Take a sweater, bring a book or magazine, and try to get some sleep.
- Move your body on the plane.
Walk around the cabin periodically. To exercise in your seat, stretch your arms overhead, gently stretch your neck, exercise your hands, raise and lower your legs, and bend over and touch your ankles.
- Get ready for the day.
When the cabin lights come on, get up, go into the lavatory and quickly freshen up. Eat the light breakfast, and don’t think about what time it is back home. Treat it like the start of the day.
- No naps.
When you get to your destination, napping will only reinforce your old body clock time. Keep moving and get some sun to help your body adjust.
- Get to bed at a reasonable time and set an alarm for the morning.
This should help you wake rested and ready for your day.
- Repeat on the return trip!
Helpful Travel Links
Passport Services: Passport information and passport application forms. travel.state.gov
U.S. Department of State: Travel Requirements, Announcements and Warnings; Consular Information Sheets, and more. state.gov/travel
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Travel health and immunization requirements. cdc.gov
Oanda Currency Converter: Find out how far a dollar will go at your destination. oanda.com
World Time Zones: Find out what time it is anywhere in the world. worldtimeserver.com
Weather: Learn about the weather at your destination on weather.com.
Foreign Translations for Travelers: Google Translate
Electricity: Find out about electricity at your destination.
Cybersecurity: Learn how to develop safe cybersecurity habits.