Tri-S Trip Preparation

map and compass on picnic table with 2 people standing by

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
Passport & Visa


If you currently have a passport, check NOW to be sure it will be valid on your dates of travel. Note that some countries will not permit you to enter if the remaining passport validity is less than six months. 


A visa permits you to visit a country for a specified purpose and a limited time. A visa is stamped into your passport and may take from two weeks to two months for issue. Visas are usually not required for travel to parts of Europe, the Caribbean and most of Central and South America. If you will be studying abroad, contact the advisor of the school you will be attending for information about securing a student visa.


Application procedure

For detailed passport/visa information, visit the website of the U.S. Department of State,

In Anderson, the Post Office at 1505 Raible Ave. (Google Map) is authorized to accept applications. 

Traveling Safely
It is essential that you read The U.S. Department of State information for the country to which you will be traveling. Visit for the country to which you will be traveling. Or visit


  • 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.

Staying Healthy

Health Insurance

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.

Health Precautions

  • 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.
Jet Lag

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.

U.S. Department of State: Travel Requirements, Announcements and Warnings; Consular Information Sheets, and more.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Travel health and immunization requirements.

Oanda Currency Converter: Find out how far a dollar will go at your destination.

World Time Zones: Find out what time it is anywhere in the world.

Weather: Learn about the weather at your destination on

Foreign Translations for Travelers: Google Translate 

Destination Guides: Lonely Planet: or Frommers:

Electricity: Find out about electricity at your destination.

Customs & Etiquette: Learn more about the customs and etiquette of the local culture from Culture Crossing or Commisceo Global.

Cybersecurity: Learn how to develop safe cybersecurity habits