Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements for study abroad. Programs that offer group travel options will inform admitted students of those options after acceptance.
Booking an international flight: Students may use a travel agency or on-line booking services (Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak) of their choice. While on-line booking services can be slightly more economical, it can be more difficult to change dates, or rearrange travel if disrupted, without the services of a travel agency. A resource list is below:
Return flights: Most airlines no longer permit passengers to book round-trip international tickets that have an “open” date for return. Students should make their best guess about their intended date for returning to the U.S. based on the program’s ending date, and change the return flight at a later date if necessary. Airlines often charge substantial fees for changing a return date (the amount varies from airline to airline) so students should be sure to ask the airline about their change date fees before purchasing a ticket.
One-way tickets: We strongly advise against purchasing a one-way ticket abroad for three reasons:
- One-way fares are usually much more expensive than round-trip fares.
- It is helpful for students to have a return ticket on hand in case they need to return home on short notice.
- Many countries require proof of round-trip ticket with firm return flight date when issuing student visas.
Seats & Meals: If possible, reserve the kind of seat you want (window, aisle, etc.) when you book your ticket. Special meal requests (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) should be made at the time of reservation.
International Air Travel Tips
- Baggage Weight Limitations. Students should make sure that their checked bag and carry on bags do not exceed the weight and size limit, to avoid being charged substantial fees.
- US TSA Airport Security. Check with the U.S. TSA [insert link] for details about restricted items that may not be carried in checked bags or carry on bags. Note that security regulations vary from country to country. Before flying home, check with the foreign airline regarding their security regulations when departing from an airport abroad.
- Airport Arrival Time. Most airlines recommend arriving at the airport 3 hours prior to departure for an international flight. Check with the airline for specifics.
- Protecting Valuables. Students are advised to keep their passports, ATM card, money and other valuables such as a passport in a safe spot—the Off Campus Studies Office advises using a pouch worn around the neck or a money belt.
- Proceeding immediately to the gate. After checking in for a flight, students should proceed directly to the gate. Students should avoid the temptation of airport eating and shopping until they are through all the security checkpoints and have found their gate. After checking in in the U.S., passengers are funneled through airport security and then proceed directly to the gate. In other countries (when flying internationally), passengers must first check in, then go through airport security, as well as immigration and customs. Only then are international passengers permitted to go to their next departure gate.
- Allow time for additional security screenings! At some airports (Amsterdam and Hong Kong, for example), there is an additional security screening at the gate for US-bound flights that is required by US authorities.
- Sales agents at airports. In some countries, uniformed service workers will be scattered throughout the international arrival terminal, offering things like taxi rides, luggage assistance, travel insurance or currency exchanges. Please take caution when accepting/paying for services in an international terminal. Students should consult with someone behind an official counter in the airport if they need help or have questions.
- Leaving bags unattended. For security reasons, never leave your bags unattended even while using the restroom.
Youth Hostel Cards
- Students may consider purchasing a Hostelling International Card, which can be purchased before or after arrival abroad. This card is required for some youth hostels in Europe and Australia, and can also help students find travel discounts. More information is available through major travel agencies, or on-line at http://www.hihostels.com.