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Airport Security Tips for Students First Trip Abroad

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For many students, a study-abroad program may be their first trip overseas. This experience can be intimidating, overwhelming and exhilarating - but the trip will go much more smoothly if you're prepared. For students who are traveling overseas for the first time, here are some travel tips for getting through airport security and beyond.

1. Weigh your Suitcase

First check your airline's checked-baggage policies - most have a 50-lb. weight limit - and abide by them. Airline staff will weigh your bag at check-in, and fifty-one pounds is not OK. If you want to avoid frantically moving shoes and swim fins from your checked bag to your carry-on (yes, we've been there), then weigh your bag before you leave for the airport.

2. Don't Wrap Gifts

Bringing a small gift for your host family? Don't bother wrapping it. If the Transportation Security Administration inspects your luggage, they'll unwrap the gift - and they won't bother taping it up neatly afterward.

3. Skip the Jewelry

One of the best tips for getting through airport security fast is to keep your outfit simple. Don't wear jewelry or a watch, skip the belt if you can, and make sure your pockets are empty. Got body piercings? The metal may set off the airport security scanners, resulting in a patdown.

4. Do wear Socks

If you're required to remove your shoes, you really don't want to walk barefoot on the floor where thousands of other travelers have trodden. Choose shoes that are easy to slip on and off.

Check the TSA's traveler information website for current guidelines. And a few more airport security tips to help you once you arrive at your destination:

  • Do something dramatic to mark your suitcase. Everyone's suitcase is black. And everyone ties a red ribbon around the handle. To make it easier to spot your suitcase on the carousel, decorate it to make it easily visible. The Big Tag luggage tag is one option. Or try a brightly patterned Luggage Hugger.
  • Remember that customs is not a joke. By the time you get to your destination country, you're antsy, exhausted and excited. You can't wait to leave the airport - but instead you're stuck in a mile-long line at customs. Now is not the time to start complaining loudly, punching your friends or joking about the illicit substances you have in your backpack. Customs officials won't be amused. They have the power to detain you, and they don't care if this is your first trip overseas. Follow instructions, politely answer any questions they ask you, and they'll send you on your way.

And one more thing: get travel insurance before you go. It's absolutely essential to protect your travel investment and yourself, especially if it's your first trip overseas. Allianz Travel Insurance offers plans for every budget that include cancellation and trip interruption coverage, coverage for lost or stolen luggage, emergency medical and dental coverage and emergency medical transportation coverage. Like they say, it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.


Oct 21, 2013