Most students who have the opportunity to travel internationally do so only after having studied about that country’s language, culture and more for many months or years. In that way, the trip becomes the culmination of a growing wealth of knowledge that the student holds in his or her mind about that country.
For this reason, international student trips are definitely something to get excited about. Whether traveling with a small study group or a large school group, your student trip should undoubtedly be something to remember for a long time.
Of course, for students, parents and teachers alike, student safety during the trip should be priority one. You can never be too prepared when you travel.
If you are interested in student trips to international destinations (using Japan as an example), here are 7 safety tips to consider:
1. Each student should have a travel buddy when riding on any domestic transportation systems:
Just as scuba divers always dive in pairs, so students traveling internationally for the first time should have a travel buddy with them whenever the group is on the move – either en route to or from Japan or traveling domestically within the country. Before your group departs for Japan, be sure each student has a travel buddy assigned to him or her.
2. Rent a cell phone once you arrive:
In order to stay in touch with the group while in Japan, getting a cell phone is smart move. Unless your own cell phone will work in Japan (check with your carrier before your trip), you will want to rent a cell phone upon arrival. You can do so using a picture ID and a credit card at airport kiosks.
3. Make sure the trip’s chaperone or organizer gives clear instructions when traveling from one place to another:
The times during which students can be most prone to having problems while traveling are when they are in transit in-country from one place to another. Japan’s rail system is magnificent – but also very complex. Many signs are only written in Japanese. The organizer needs to constantly be giving clear instructions – including backup plans – at each step of the way.
4. Designate meeting places when visiting attractions:
When visiting a temple, shrine, or other attraction in Japan, make sure to designate easily-recognizable meeting places where the whole group can convene at a certain time. This is a good way to collect any stragglers who may have gotten lost.
5. Check the U.S. Embassy website for travel alerts:
The website of the U.S. Embassy in Japan offers regular travel alerts and updates. Be sure to check there regularly to be kept abreast of any unfolding situations of which you should be aware.
6. Avoid areas notorious for crime:
Roppongi in Tokyo and a handful of other places in Japan’s large and midsize cities are known for criminal activity. Learn these places – and avoid them if at all possible.
7. Be aware of your surroundings:
This final tip is one of common sense: just remain aware of your surroundings – including being aware of the other members of your group – as you travel in Japan. This is the easiest way to stay safe and have a great trip.
Consider these 7 safety tips as you travel internationally on a student trip.