Semester Abroad – 30 Days ‘Til Departure

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Annalyse, a college student from Los Angeles is studying abroad in Florence, Italy. She shares tips, trips and tales from Europe.

Why do I have my best ideas and worst worries seconds before I fall into a deep sleep?  Last night as I was tossing and turning I wondered:

How am I going to keep my passport, camera, ipod, and cash safe in my pension or in hostels where there aren’t in-room safes?

Combination safety lock for luggage. TSA-approved so you can use on checked luggage.

Although I did not think of a solution last night moments before I fell asleep, the answer came to me while stuck in horrible Los Angeles traffic today. I will use small combination locks to secure the zippers on my bags when I leave the room. Airport security will not cut off TSA luggage locks and it’s easier to remember a combination than to keep track of keys. You can find them online or at a travel store. http://www.safeskieslocks.com/index.php

When I arrive in Florence, I will need local currency, the Euro, to get from the airport to my Pension, or hostel, so I better get some Euros from the bank before I leave January 1st, my big departure date! So much to do, so little time!

How will I stay in with my peers while in Europe? Should I keep my iPhone and get a European plan, or buy a cheap phone abroad and get an Italian SIM card? Friends who have studied overseas recommend going to a market after I arrive and buying an Italian phone and SIM card. They say this option is cheaper.

Money? Carry enough money in your shoe or money pouch to get you out of a tight spot. Be willing to spend this money on a cab in order to get you to a safe place or back to your lodging. Do not take unnecessary risks.

Safety? If you are being followed in the street and you feel threatened, duck into a shop and firmly tell the clerk: “I am a foreigner and someone is following me. I am frightened and need help.” If need be, have the clerk call a cab or police officer for you.

Stay tuned for more travel safety tips!

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Category: Packing Pointers, Student Travel Tips

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