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Northwest Missouri State University

Travel Tips

Travel Tips for Students By Northwest Study Abroad Alumni

Lodging Tips

Depending on what season you are traveling, depends on the rate.


If you book online, you will be charged a fee that you don't get back. Sometimes it is better to call or email the hostel directly, or just show up. If you plan to just show up, check the calendar of events, and make sure nothing major is going on there.

You have a better chance of just showing up and getting a room during low to mid-season. (Jan to mid-April). During high season, you will need to book your hostel in advance through email, online, phone (late April-Sept).

Choosing Your Hostel

When choosing a hostel, check out others' reviews online or in books. Pick one that is "rated" high in areas of importance to you and which seem popular among college students. Do not choose a hostel, just because it is cheap.

When booking a hotel or hostel online, make sure to check location compared to distance from the city center, train station, or other sites you are interested in.
Public transportation may stop early and make it complicated or expensive to get back at night if you are far from your hotel. You may be better off to pay a little more to get a location that will offer you more freedom and is easier to find.

Safety in the Hostel

When sleeping in hostels, sleep with your purse/wallet on you or under your pillow. Anything of major value to you put in a locker that you rent in the hostel, or do not travel with it at all. Otherwise, keep it very close to you.

Rooms can be private or hold up to 30 people. The best rooms are 4-10 people, because you have more privacy, and less of a chance something will happen. Normally people traveling alone will stay in these rooms. Big groups will stay in the larger rooms and tend to be louder and more obnoxious.

What To Pack

Remember! you will be hauling your luggage by yourself through the airport, customs, buses, trains, taxis and when finding your room or house.

Just because there is a weight limit, doesn't mean you have to meet that amount! Pack UNDER the weight limit, so you have room to bring stuff back!

Suggestion: Pack one large suitcase, one small suitcase and one backpack. Don't fill your large or small jam-packed, because you will be bringing stuff back.

The small suitcase or backpack should be small enough or large enough, respectively, so you can use it to travel on short trips or weekends.

Pack like you are going somewhere for about 2 weeks and no more.


(Meaning - these exact amounts or LESS!)


Luggage Allowances

Airlines have very specific weight allowances for luggage, that you should always considering when packing for your program abroad.

It is important to note that going over the weight limit will result in the airline charging you for excess, oversize and overweight luggage.

Type of Baggage Number Allowed Size Allowed
(length + width +height)
Maximum Free
Weight Allowed
Carry-on 1 45 in / 114 cm 40 lbs / 18 kgs
Checked 2 62 in / 157 cm (each) 50 lbs/ 23 kgs*

*There is a $25 USD charge for each bag weighing 51-70 lbs.

Money Matters


Debit Cards

Credit Cards

Foreign Currency

Travelers Cheques


Communicating Back Home

While you are overseas, you will need to take care of certain civil, financial and legal matters in the United States. Advance planning in these areas will make life easier.

Power of Attorney

Giving a family member or trusted friend power of attorney, while you are abroad, is a good idea. Power of attorney gives that designated person the power to act on your behalf in case a legal document requires your signature while you are away. This is especially important if you receive financial aid. Checks that you receive to cover educational costs must be endorsed by you before they can be deposited. It may also be helpful when completing and signing other financial aid forms, such as your FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid), that must be taken care of while you are gone. Check with the student legal services office on your campus to obtain this document. You can also give someone power of attorney by simply writing what duties that person will be allowed to perform on your behalf and having the paper notarized.

Absentee Voting

If elections are going to take place in the United States while you are overseas, you can still take part in the election process by completing an absentee ballot. You must, however, register to vote before you leave home. Contact local election officials to obtain information on absentee voting, including whether you need to have your ballot notarized at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Filing Income Tax

If you currently pay income tax and will be out of the United States during spring semester, you can request an extension of the deadline for filing federal, state and local tax returns. If you choose to file from abroad, then you can request your family or friends to send you the necessary paperwork. You can also find out if the closest American embassy or consulate has forms. The embassy and consulate staff may also be able to find someone to help you complete the forms.