Travel smart: Staying safe while studying abroad
August 21, 2023
Have a student planning to study abroad or out-of-state this fall? Before they take off, make sure they’re properly prepared. Knowing what to expect at a destination is key; figuring out the perfect insurance plan for them before they go is also essential. The right trip protection can help bypass unnecessary financial stress, plus it’s also often required by schools, study-abroad providers and host countries.
Travel medical insurance and travel protection plans from SafeTrip by UnitedHealthcare Global offers temporary and customizable travel protection plans to fit a student’s individual needs, school program, and destination, both domestic and abroad. In addition, as not all young adults have the travel or life experience to fully cope with unexpected travel snafus, having the one-call help of our around-the-clock Emergency Response Center is a great source of information in the event of lost documents or lost medications.
“While illness and injury are two things no one anticipates during a semester at a different school, they still happen — plus there’s the possibility of lost luggage, travel delays, or worst-case scenarios requiring hospitalization, quarantining or evacuation. Protecting your student’s trip is a must,” said Dr. Amit Arwindekar, medical director at UnitedHealthcare Global.
To help your student enjoy a safer time on their semester or year away, Dr. Arwindekar recommends the following:
- Research any study abroad destinations to understand what to expect, plus learn about local health and safety laws
- Make a list of local emergency contacts, including doctors, clinics, hospitals, and embassies
- Purchase domestic travel insurance or international insurance that covers medical expenses and emergency evacuation
- Pack a travel health kit with over-the-counter medications and first aid supplies
- Consider also packing a medical alert card or bracelet if your student has any health conditions and allergies
- Make sure all immunizations and medications are up to date (the CDC offers a helpful list)
- If needed, take precautions related to mosquito-borne illnesses
- Practice safe food and water hygiene
- Be mindful of surroundings, be street-smart, and avoid risky behaviors such as alcohol and drugs
- If additional trips are planned, such as weekends or breaks in other countries, do similar research to make smart transportation and accommodation choices
- Stay informed about the latest travel advisories
Finally, staying in touch with family and friends back home is key, both from a safety and mental health standpoint. From getting a reliable cell phone plan to scheduling video phone sessions with loved ones to emails and handwritten letters, there are plenty of ways to stay connected and prevent homesickness, as well as doing important safety check-ins.
Most of all, never hesitate to ask for advice from your travel protection plan provider. These experts have years of working with students who have embarked on the same learning adventures as your young adult, and can help anticipate needs as well as assist in planning for a safer, memorable and adventurous learning experience.
Studying out-of-state or even for a semester abroad. Have your just-in-case back up plan ready with SafeTrip travel medical insurance and trip protection.