General Travel Guidelines

Whether you are a seasoned or first-time traveler, there are a number of steps you can take to increase your health, safety, and security abroad.

The sections below contain recommendations from International Safety and Security to improve your study abroad or travel experience.

Basic Travel Tips

  • Notify your bank that you are traveling abroad.
  • Store photocopies of your important documents in a safe place.
  • Follow local, national and international news reports closely.
  • Know your emergency resources both on-site through your program or host country.
  • Should you lose your passport during the program, specific guidelines for replacing lost or stolen can be found on an embassy or consulate’s website.


  • Share your itinerary and contact information for your program with your parents.
  • In the event of an emergency, communicate directly with your family members.

Consulates & U.S. Embassies

  • It is useful to know the location of the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate in each location on your program or personal itinerary.
  • In addition, Illinois strongly encourages everyone to register their study abroad program, research abroad, or personal travel with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
  • The U.S. Department of State also provides a list of 911 equivalent phone numbers for countries around the world. In case of emergency, that list can be found here

Legal Issues

  • Remember that you are under the legal jurisdiction of your host country.
  • Infractions that are minor in the United States could be assigned a much higher penalty in another country.
  • Illegal drug and alcohol use could land you in jail.
  • In the event that you are arrested abroad, you may wish to contact the local U.S. Embassy.
  • Illinois does not provide legal counsel to students abroad.

Road Safety

  • Transportation related incidents are the leading cause of injuries to foreigners abroad.
  • Be cognizant of different traffic patterns and road culture.
  • Do not assume pedestrians will be given the right-of-way.
  • Familiarize yourself with the main source of transportation in your host country.
  • Illinois does not recommend that students drive while abroad.
  • Illinois also does not recommend hitchhiking.

Sexual Assault

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to providing a safe and welcoming campus environment free from discrimination based on sex, which includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, sexual harassment, dating violence, and domestic violence (collectively referred to as sexual misconduct).” We Care

International Safety and Security is a non-confidential resource that provides support for students who experience sexual assault while abroad. The office can also direct you to the appropriate campus resources if you would like to file a formal report on an incident.

If you, or someone you know, has been sexually assaulted you can locate a list of international resources here

Situational Awareness

  • Research and observe social and cultural norms.
  • Consider how you present yourself in public.
  • Be aware of your personal belongings and keep valuables secure, especially in close tight spaces and on public transportation.
  • Do not leave your luggage unattended in public.
  • With demonstrations and protests becoming increasingly common overseas, Illinois strongly discourages students from attending such events–regardless of how attractive or exciting they may appear–as they have the potential to turn violent quickly.
  • Abide by your program’s rules or risk dismissal.

When to call Illinois

  • Hospitalization–if you are admitted to a hospital or have to visit for a serious reason (not just a cold).
  • Contact with local enforcement–if you are arrested, detained, or questioned by local police let Illinois know.
  • Sexual assault or harassment–if you feel unsafe or that you need support.
  • Security concerns–civil and political unrest escalating. If you feel that you are in danger–call local police and then notify Illinois.