Travel Tips for the Wise

When travelling internationally, either in a group or on your own, it is important to have a few travel tips to follow. Here are some of the ones that William Penn University is following in preparing its upcoming Rwanda and Tanzania trip.

  • Make lists. Before you even start packing, make a list of everything you know and want to know in regards to the trip. If you have a question, figure out who to ask – there is no such thing as a stupid question. This will help you prepare on focused items during the final days before departure, rather than run around feeling stressed right before you leave.
  • Have copies of everything. It is important for trip coordinators to have copies of each person’s passport, vaccination card, visas, flight or other transportation itineraries, and other applicable items in case something happens. It is also important for each person to have a copy of all their materials in each piece of luggage that travels and a copy for a person back home who is not traveling on the trip.
  • Know where you are going. This does mean know where you plan to be when during the trip but more importantly refers to having a basic understanding of the culture, language, time zones, and society that you will be visiting. This also includes having knowledge of what is considered common dress – to not stand out. (In preparation for the trip to Rwanda and Tanzania, William Penn University students have been learning about the Rwandan genocide and how things in the region have changed since then.)
  • Know who you are going with. Especially if you will be sharing a room with someone or be in other close proximity to trip participants for a while, it is good to try and learn about the others going on the trip. This will allow you to have a better understanding of what their interests are – possibly you may have a favorite sports team that a discussion of would help pass the time while at an airport.
  • Get travel insurance. For William Penn University’s March trip, an additional $30 fee was added to each person’s flight costs through GroupSource Travel. The $30 covers medical and travel related insurance issues.
  • Leave the valuables at home. The Amazon forest or the Galapagos Islands might not be the best place to take great-grandma’s heirloom ring. If you would be heartbroken if it was lost, stolen, or damaged – leave it at home for the short abroad experiences.
  • Know the travel rules. This is particularly important if you are traveling back to the United States from another country. If your country limits liquids you can take on your carry-on, keep that in mind when you are packing. Know the weight limits for the various stages of your transportation and stay within those limits unless you are prepared to pay a hefty fine.
  • Pending on when you are traveling or how long you might be absent, it is important to have your mail stopped, figure out who will be filling your taxes, garbage pickup, recognition from supervisor and/or teachers of absence, and other assorted things.

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