Post by Allison Ross, Former University Relations Representative
Studying abroad is a nerve-wracking experience no matter what your travel background is. However, for those traveling internationally for the first time the preparation is especially important. Here are some quick tips to make sure you are prepared for your Barcelona adventure!
Banking and Logistics
Make sure you bring copies of your passport, credit cards, driver’s license and other important documents. If you happen to lose any of this personal information it is easier to cancel cards if you already have this information on hand. Similarly, leave copies of this information with your parents; it is always great to have a backup plan for the worst-case situations.
Call your credit card company before leaving, if they do not know you’re traveling abroad there is a high chance your credit card will be deactivated. With that being said, make sure you are aware of what types of fees you will be facing with using your debit or credit card. Many places in Spain do not accept credit cards, especially at the local markets, so always make sure to have cash!
Electricity adaptors in Spain are a lot more affordable to buy once you arrive. Feel free to bring an adaptor of your own, otherwise you can find them at most convenient stores. Be aware that devices such as hair dryers and curling irons have a different voltage, so it is recommended to purchase these items once you arrive abroad.
What To Pack
Packing is one of the hardest parts of traveling abroad! Some advice I found helpful while studying in Europe was to bring a backpack if you plan on traveling to other European countries. Check out the Ryan Air or Easy Jet baggage requirements, as these are the most popular student airlines. While traveling to Spain make sure you pack an extra set of clothes in your carry on as there is a possibility that your luggage will be lost – be prepared! Carry all medications you need for the semester in your carry-on in their original packages.
You will need to find outfits that can work in multiple ways. Your suitcase is not as big as you initially think, nor is the standard 50 lbs. as much as you anticipate. Bring clothes you can layer, and multipurpose but comfortable shoes. Bring something to remind you of home, but do not fill your suitcase with everything in your bedroom. Some snacks from home are always a welcome touch for the traveling as well! As a general rule, less is always more while traveling abroad.
Also make sure to check the seasonal weather before you go, and pack for that. If you plan on traveling to northern Europe while you are there, be aware of those climates as well.
Health and Safety
Sign up for embassy email alerts from the American embassy in Spain. This will keep you informed on the political situations and is an easy way to stay connected.
The most important part of traveling internationally is to be aware. Be safe, pack light, and research before you go! Common sense will get you farther than you think, trust your instincts and have fun!