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First Time Travelers

Worried about not having much (or any) travel experience? Not having traveled does not always mean that you will have greater difficulty on study abroad than more experienced participants.  A first-time traveler who is organized, open-minded, and adaptable often has a better time, learns more, and is more of an asset to the group than an unprepared or irresponsible or inflexible person, regardless of their prior experiences.

Whether you’ve never left your hometown before or have traveled abroad before but never long term, on a program, or without your family – we’re here to guide you.

From buying a plane ticket to navigating airports, read on for tips and resources. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What's a passport and how do I apply?

passport-170.pngA passport is a document issued by your national government proving your identity and nationality. Almost all international travel requires that you have and carry a passport. You can apply for a U.S. passport by following the directions on the Department of State website. Learn more. 

What's a visa?

visa-170.pngA visa is a government-issued immigration document granted by a consulate general or embassy, which allows you to legally study in a specific country for a specific date range. Typically, a visa is an endorsed sticker or stamp placed on the inside pages of your passport. Learn more. 

How do I buy a plane ticket?

startapplication-170.pngYou typically have two options for booking flights: using a travel agency or booking online. Once you are ready to make flight reservations, you are encouraged to check flight availability and fares on a variety of airlines and through various search engines. Learn more. 

What do I pack?

packsuitcase-170.pngPacking lists are totally personal, but we recommend that you pack clothes that can be worn in layers: clothes of various weights in solid colors that can be mixed and matched. Also, research cultural expectations and average temperatures in your host country to guide your packing choices. Learn more. 

How do I check in for my flight?

submitapplication-170.pngThe check-in process at airports enables passengers to confirm they will be on the correct flight, obtain a boarding pass, and check in luggage, if desired. You'll also want to make sure to check your flight status and leave for the airport several hours prior to your departure time. Learn more.

What do I do once I get to the airport?

plane-170.pngInternational airports are usually large and can be complicated to navigate. First you'll get your boarding pass and check in your luggage. Then you'll go through security and, once through, find your boarding gate. Once there, you can get some snacks and wait until you board your flight. Learn more. 

What is immigration and customs?

customs-170.pngWhen you enter a different country, you will have go through the immigration process. For the vast majority of passengers the immigration process only takes a few minutes. Once you land, just follow the signs (and other passengers) to the immigration area. Learn more. 

Identify Resources

The better prepared you are for a new experience, the more you can enjoy it and learn from it.  We suggest the following if you are applying to a program, have been accepted, or even if you would just like to be more knowledgeable about international travel.

Read

  • There are a ton of study abroad blogs out there, including GLO Blogs, and blogs about traveling abroad for the first time
  • GLO collects post-program evaluations for all programs. These are a great way to learn more about the student experience on the ground. You can search by city, country, or program name.
  • Read one book – even a short one – on the history and culture of the place(s) you will visit

Reach out to Students

  • Seek out and talk to other people who have been where you want to go.  Past and current students are available in our Connect with Students section. You can search by term, city, country, program, or name!
  • GLO also has a robust student ambassador program, many of whom identify as first time travelers under specialties. 

Talk to GLO

GLO advisers are always happy to talk about anything that comes up during the study abroad process. Email, call, or schedule an appointment whenever you need answers or just want to chat.