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Traveling as a College Student (During the Pandemic) – Tips & Resources

The fact that coronavirus changed the way we live is not merely a blind guess anymore. It did change everything – starting from the things that we buy and find essential for our lives, to the way we work and travel. Another thing that changed tremendously since March of this year is the way we study. Schools and universities worldwide became unrecognizable, shifting their focus to online teaching and sometimes even changing their whole curriculum to fit the new normal. However, as some university campuses are slowly opening their gates and letting their students in, it’s a matter of time when regular student life will return to the “old normal.” But staying at home and listening to lectures online created the opportunity for students worldwide to travel as they can tune in their lecture conference call from any corner of the world. But is that a good idea? How can a student travel during the pandemic while staying as safe as possible, especially if they have to travel because of their studies?  

Know where to travel

Even though we don’t have the same traveling options as last year, traveling during the pandemic is quite possible. The majority has been traveling throughout their own country, which is still recommended if it’s a leisure trip. But what if a student has to travel abroad? Before embarking on any journey, regardless of whether you’re a student or not, a bit of research on the current COVID-19 situation in each country should be in place. You should always familiarize yourself with the latest information for the specific country you want to travel to because of your studies. South Africa, for instance, has partially reopened its borders to inbound and outbound tourism. For example, if you want to visit this country, it will require a negative PCR test result that is less than 72 hours old at the time of departure. And this is the case with the majority of countries. Make sure to know which are high, medium, and low-risk countries, and choose wisely. If your county of choice is in the first category, push your trip a bit back until the situation gets better.

Minimalism and organization

If you’re an international student, it’s important to know that this is not the best time to just “go with the flow”. Being organized and structured is an excellent way to minimize any coronavirus threat. Pack lightly, and take only the essentials with you. You might also want to consider a good cardholder wallet as it is very compact and exceptionally user-friendly, especially for trips. As far as organization is concerned, there are several things you want to pay attention to. Bear in mind that students often choose the cheapest accommodation, which is something you want to avoid this time around. Instead, focus on accommodation that seems safe and, most importantly, clean. As this can cost a bit more than expected, it would be great to have a budgeting and travel expense app such as PocketGuard or Tripcoin to help you stay on budget. Speaking of apps, install a good time management app on your phone to save as much time as possible.

Stay safe and insured

Regardless of where we are in the world, staying safe and putting our safety first is the most important thing we have to do. This might seem a bit more challenging when it comes to a country we don’t know, but safety tips are the same all around the world. Use your mask and hand sanitizer as often as you can, avoid crowds if not necessary, and regularly wash your hands. However, if you have to be in a crowded space, especially if you’re going to use public transport, it’s essential to know what to do. Speaking of this, public transportation might be the most logical and cheapest choice in a foreign country, but you might also want to explore other good options, such as taxis or Ubers (if any). These might be a bit more costly, but it’s a small price to pay for your safety. Also, do not forget to make sure your insurance covers COVID-19 testing and treatment, especially if you’re an international student. This is imperative.

The disruption that the switch from live to online teaching created can indeed be overwhelming. In case you have to travel because of your studies, make sure to have everything in place for a safe flight and a safe and secure stay there. Avoid any crowds and unnecessary events, and focus on what matters instead. Stay safe and good luck!

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