Global Engagement > Student Resources > Study Abroad > Health, Safety, & Travel > Travel


All students participating in a study abroad program need a passport valid for at least six months after your return date. If you do not have a passport or need to renew your passport, see instructions online, including an application form and required documentation. The normal processing time is six weeks, three weeks for expedited processing.

A visa is a stamp inside of your passport. This endorsement from a foreign government permits you to enter that country for a specified reason and length of time. The visa application process prior to departure can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. If you are participating on a term-long DePaul-sponsored program, read the Visa Information and Resources Page for the country specific to your program.]

Study Abroad can provide verification of your participation in an academic program if your visa application requires supporting documentation. Some countries may also require that you submit proof of medical insurance, proof of financial means, and medical information. Remember: it is your responsibility as a student and global citizen to research the entry requirements for the country to which you are traveling and obtain a visa, if required.

Choosing Luggage

When choosing your luggage, some important criteria are durability, versatility, security and comfort. Check with your airline for luggage restrictions, but in most cases you cannot bring more than one small carry-on bag and two pieces of checked luggage. Further restrictions on size may be imposed by your program directors due to the nature of the program.

Most student travelers prefer backpacks that are comfortable to wear and can easily hold all of their gear. Backpacks also allow for mobility and leave a traveler's hands free to snap photos or open doors. It's important to be realistic about the kind of travel you will be doing. If you intend to travel quite a bit on your off-time, then a backpack might be the best choice for you.

Securing Your Luggage

Make sure that your luggage has sturdy luggage tags (both inside and out) clearly indicating your name, permanent address and phone number. You should also buy locks for your luggage and even your daypack. Since key locks can be opened or picked, choose combination locks and keep the combination solutions in a secure place. Some travelers even purchase bicycle locks to secure their backpacks on luggage racks in trains or to a railing at a train station or airport. New travel security regulations do not allow you to lock your checked luggage when flying, but you should still bring a lock for use during your stay. 

Packing Tips

  • Number One Packing Rule: TRAVEL LIGHT! After you lay out all of the clothes you think you need, only take half.
  • If you cannot wear something more than one time or in more than one situation, don't bring it.
  • Choose one basic color like black, navy, brown or gray, and go from there. Don't be surprised to see students wear the same clothes more than once a week. Also, avoid clothes that wrinkle easily or are dry clean only.
  • Pack dark clothes, which will lessen the number of times you do laundry (sounds dirty but you will learn).
  • Take a limited number of shoes, but make sure that the shoes you do bring are comfortable, versatile and match most of your wardrobe.
  • Pack only small quantities of things you can purchase in your host country (i.e., soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.).
  • Depending on your destination, you might consider bringing enough contact lens solution, non-prescription medication, sun block and insect repellent to last the entire length of the program.
  • Bring enough prescription medication for the length of the program and bring a copy of your prescription.
  • Pack valuables, essential medication and important documents (passport) in your carry-on luggage. Also consider packing a change of clothes and basic toiletries in your carry-on luggage just in case your checked luggage is lost.
  • You might consider bringing: a backpack for class or day-trips, a sleeping bag for camping or hostel stays, and a dress set of clothing.
  • Do not take anything that you wouldn't want to lose.
  • Work from a list and check things off as you pack them. Create an inventory list of the items you pack in your checked baggage, in case you need to make an insurance claim on lost luggage.
  • Consult for more tips.
The following information is for your reference. We recommend that you research thoroughly the options available for your program and city of destination.

Local Telephones

You should not expect to have access to your host family's telephone for phone calls or internet access. You should always plan to use a cell phone or public phone. Keep in mind that many countries use calling cards rather than coins in the public phones. Calling cards are available locally.

Cell Phones

Similar to the U.S., cell phones have become very popular and readily available in most countries. Be aware that international rates on a U.S. cell phone can be very expensive and an international plan does not indicate that your rate at home holds true abroad. 

In many cases, a foreign cell phone can prove to be an affordable way of communication because long-term contracts are not required in some countries. You simply purchase a cell phone, SIM card and then buy minutes as you need them. 


Depending on your program, you may have mail sent directly to your home address or to the host institution. In most cases, arrangements for receiving any packages sent from the U.S. should be made with the host institution or with the local post office. Please be aware that mail can take a long time to arrive and you may not receive packages before you return to the U.S.

Email and Internet

In most countries, email and internet are widely accessible. You should expect to find and pay for your own internet access. In some cases, your host institution will provide internet access and recently more home stay families have internet access. But this is not a standard feature of home stays. 

Programs such as Skype or AIM offer audio chat options that allow users to talk or video chat with each other using a microphone and camera. These programs are generally free to download, so look into these options before you go. DePaul student e-mail accounts can be accessed from anywhere at


A personal blog may not only help you to stay in touch with family and friends, it is also a great way to document your experiences. Be advised, however, that anything placed on the web is public information and discretion should be used when commenting on people, places and events.