Getting to your destination
Ensure you carry with you (in your hand luggage):
- Passport / ID documents
- Insurance documents
- Travel documents / tickets
- Local currency (cash)
- Details or directions to your accommodation
On arrival at the airport
- Be aware of pick-pockets – they often strike at this stage when travellers are distracted.
- Be careful when collecting your luggage off the luggage belt – ensure you have picked up your own luggage.
- Use luggage tags on your luggage while traveling, but be sure to remove them once you arrive to avoid your identity, address, and nationality being casually learned without your knowledge.
- If you are lost or unsure about something only approach official airport staff.
- Use the most appropriate mode of transport to travel to your accommodation. If you are getting a taxi, only use official ones. Do not respond to taxi touts. When considering the type of transport to take to your accommodation, take into account costs, risk, time of day you land etc.
- Try to have an idea of where your taxi is, how long it will take to get to your destination, and how much it should cost.
- If someone is collecting you, ensure they say your name first.
At your accommodation
- Let someone at home know you have arrived safely and make contact with the Global Opportunity Centre so we know you've arrived.
- Keep a close eye on your luggage, especially your valuables.
- Once in your room be sure to check where your fire escapes are.
- Always double-lock your door and use the security chain if there is one – especially at night.
- Check your windows are secure and if there is an inter-connecting door, ensure this is locked.
- Try to ensure you have access to a torch in case of an electricity failure.
- Put your valuables into the safety deposit box if there is one.
- Familiarise yourself with the local area.
Out and about/Staying safe
- Always carry your accommodation details/name & address (including in local language and a map) when you go out.
- Carry a copy of emergency contact names and phone numbers, including details of your country's consulate and your credit card company's hotline.
- Be aware of the local culture and customs. e.g. regarding clothes, alcohol and etiquette. Avoid discussing religion and politics.
- Speak the native language as much as possible to avoid standing out or being targeted
- Secure your backpack with a lock, especially if you are going to be in a crowded area, such as a bus or metro. Keep valuables secure and out of sight.
- Be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded or tourist areas. Pickpockets often work in groups in an effort to distract you.
- Be aware of current events, political hostility, and international affairs in your host country, as well as in the UK. Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances
- Make yourself aware of the local laws of your host country. Additionally, make yourself aware of the codes of conduct at your host university.
- Don't fall asleep on trains, buses or the metro, especially if you have personal belongings with you (purses, backpacks, etc.)
- Be aware of your surroundings. Take note of out-of-the-ordinary people or events happening around you as you walk or ride to your various daily activities and other destinations. Make changes to your route to avoid a dangerous circumstance
- Avoid walking around city streets while reading maps or guidebooks- this will single you out as a tourist and may make you a target for theft. If you need to read a map or guidebook, duck into a store or café to do so.
- If you plan to travel from your host country for weekends or holidays, always try to travel with at least one other person. You should also be sure that someone from your host university and your family at home know of your travel plans and ways to contact you in the case of an emergency.
- Be knowledgeable about the culture surrounding alcohol in your host country. Not only can excessive drunkenness make you a target, but it may also inhibit your decision-making capabilities in the case of an emergency. If you are traveling outside of your host city, or are in a place with which you are unfamiliar, it is best to stay sober to avoid getting lost.
- Drugs are illegal in almost every country, though the penalties for being caught with them vary, ranging from imprisonment to hard labour, to even the death penalty. Avoid all temptation to use, possess, buy or sell drugs.
- Keep in regular contact with the GO Centre and home
- As well as carrying sufficient local currency, it is always advisable to take a credit card in case you run into difficulties.
- Not all foreign currency can be purchased in the UK so you might need to acquire cash on arrival.
- Sterling is not always accepted for exchange in certain countries, however US Dollars are widely accepted internationally.
- Traveller's cheques can often be refused so we would recommend you consider other payment options.
Staying fit and healthy
- Refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's guidance on eating & drinking safely.
- The NHS also has an informative booklet 'Health Advice for Travellers' (t7.1) that gives information about how to get medical treatment abroad and the services you can expect to receive from a number of EEA counties and other parts of the world that have reciprocal health care agreements with the UK. The document can be accessed at this website www.dh.gov.uk. In addition the NHS website is a good place to start if you need advice on general healthcare abroad.
- Carry a basic First Aid kit with you. These are available from larger chemists such as Boots.
- If you have an ongoing medical condition that requires regular medication, take sufficient for your trip and enough for a few more days. Ensure that you take the original packaging and any other further details (such as a letter from your doctor for unusual conditions) that will help a healthcare professional identify the medication should the need arise. Don't forget to take medication that you may require on an irregular basis such as an asthma pump.
- If you wear contact lenses, take a spare pair and/or glasses.
- Drink bottled water, especially in countries where it is advised. This may mean, in certain countries, when brushing teeth.
- If the water is unsafe where you are steer clear of ice-cubes and any food which is likely to have been washed in water (e.g. salad). Make sure you eat/drink healthily and exercise if possible, to maintain general good health. Follow advice regarding what to eat/not to eat where you are.
- Take care when carrying your luggage, to avoid straining your back.
Travel can be challenging for everyone but it can be more so if you have a disability. If you have a declared disability the University has certain legal obligations in relation to your well-being. You should discuss your travel plans in relation to your disability with a member of the Disability and Dyslexia Service. You should also read the FCO's advice for disabled travellers.
In an emergency
The following advice will very much depend on the type of emergency you are dealing with e.g. medical, traffic accident, local environmental factors (such as flooding, earthquake etc), crime or terrorism etc. However, many measures will be relevant to all.
- The first priority is ensure your physical safety – take any reasonable steps necessary.
- Know who to contact in an emergency – find out the emergency services telephone number in the country where you are staying.
- If necessary, ring your emergency contact within the country (e.g. British Council, local agent, home embassy). For a list of UK embassies contact details see http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/find-an-embassy/
- If you are ill, seek assistance either through your accommodation/programmes emergency medical service or as recommended by your local contact.
- As soon as it is practical and safe to do so, make contact with your programme contact and the Global Opportunity Centre in Cardiff. If you are calling out of regular office hours the University security office (+44 2920 874444) should be your first point of contact.
- Students on programmes abroad (as part of University business) will receive travel insurance through UMAL (the University's insurers), which covers all sorts of emergencies from medical assistance to repatriation. It is well worth reading these pages and making a note of all appropriate emergency contact numbers so that you have easy access to them overseas.
- If you need to make arrangements to leave the country earlier than planned, contact the emergency telephone number for the University's travel insurance.
Emergency 24 hour contact numbers
To inform the University that you are safe and/or need assistance, call Security on +44 (0) 2920 874444.
For emergency assistance (natural disaster, terrorist attack, kidnapping etc.), call UMAL on +44 (0) 2079 027405