Tips for Travelers and Students Studying Abroad

Please take these precautions to help keep you safe.

In case of an overseas emergency, please call the UofL Department of Public Safety at +(502) 852-6111.

    Before you go:

  • Don’t publicize your travel plans - limit knowledge to those who need to know.
  • Ensure that your passport, if needed, is good for at least three or four months.
  • Make sure visa (s) are appropriate and current for place and type of travel.
  • Take only the credit cards and personal identification that you will actually need.
  • Carry a driver’s license from your state of residence with a photograph.
  • Make a copy of your credit card and traveler’s check numbers and the telephone numbers needed to report a theft. Keep the copy in a location separate from the documents.
  • Carry all required prescriptions in their original containers. Do not try to “save space” by mixing different kinds of pills in just one container. Customs may find this confusing.
  • Carry a list of blood type, allergies, or any special medical conditions. Medical alert bracelets are a good idea.
  • Hand carry any sensitive or proprietary information. Leave all expensive and unneeded personal or professional property at home.
  • Check with your medical insurance carrier about overseas coverage.

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Before you take off

  • Make copies of your passport photo page; put a copy in your carry-on and leave a copy at home.
  • Make sure your luggage is tagged inside and out.
  • Check in early to avoid the last minute rush!
  • DO NOT transport items for other people
  • Never leave your bags unattended - anywhere!
  • Go directly to the gate or secure area after checking your luggage and avoid waiting rooms or shopping areas outside secure areas.
  • Be alert at security checkpoints. Don’t place belongings on conveyor until you can keep an eye on items being screened.
  • At many international airports, security and customs personnel will ask you questions about your luggage. Know what you’re carrying and be able to describe any electronics.

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At your hotel

  • In some foreign countries, your passport may be held by a hotel for copying or for review by the police; retrieve it at the earliest possible time.
  • Try to secure a room between floors two and seven. Some fire departments may not have the capability to rescue above the seventh floor.
  • Always check the nearest fire stairwell, hoses, and emergency telephone when checking in to a hotel.
  • Avoid hanging the “Please Clean Room” tag on your door. It is an obvious signal that you are not in.
  • Before allowing entry of hotel maintenance or other supposed hotel staff, verify with the front desk.
  • Do not leave sensitive or important information/documents in your hotel room. Hand carry and personally protect your documents, as well as laptop computers and other valuables.
  • Arrive as near to the hotel as possible and, if after dark, in a well-lit area.
  • Do not linger or wander unnecessarily in parking lots, garages, or public spaces near hotels.
  • Stay with your luggage until it is brought into the lobby or placed in your taxi.

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In case of fire

  • Locate the nearest stairwell to your room.
  • Locate the nearest house telephone to be used in case of an emergency.
  • Call the front desk and make sure they are aware of the fire and its exact location.
  • Do not use an elevator if there is a fire.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a wet cloth.
  • Stay low but alert to any signs of rescue from the street or the halls. Let firefighters know where you are by waving a towel or sheet out the window.

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On the street

  • Invest in a good map of the city you are visiting. Note significant points on the map such as your hotel, the U.S. Embassy, and a local police station.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Look up and down the street before exiting a building.
  • Learn how to make a local telephone call and how to use coin telephones. Make sure you have extra tokens or coins for telephones. In some countries you must purchase a telephone card in order to make a local call. If necessary, purchase a telephone card to use in case of emergency.
  • Ask the bellman and concierge about safe - and not so safe - areas around the city to jog, dine, or sightsee. Be aware of local traffic regulations and driving habits.
  • Keep your passport with you at all times.
  • Keep in mind that purse snatchers and briefcase thieves often work hotel bars and restaurants. Keep your purse or briefcase in view or in hand.
  • Be alert to scams involving an unknown person spilling a drink or food on your clothing; an accomplice may be preparing to steal your wallet.
  • Do not lay your wallet or purse on the shelf in a phone booth.

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Wherever you are

  • Always be aware of the location of your closest exit.
  • Always be alert for distractions that may be staged by pick pocketers, luggage thieves, or purse snatchers.
  • Consider wearing a money belt or other secure storage device; waist pouches are not advised because potential thieves will know the location of your valuables.
  • Inspect any gifts received in a foreign country before packing.
  • Keep briefcases and purses in view or in hand when using telephones. If you’re using a credit card, block the view of the key pad when entering the number.
  • Be cautious when entering public restrooms.
  • Try to use the “Buddy System” while walking home at night. It’s never wise to walk alone!

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