Whether your trip is going to last 1 week or 1 year, a safe traveler is an informed traveler. Guidebooks and travel agencies are always good sources of information, but for the most up-to-date info, the following 5 websites are the best sources:
5) The Center for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/Features/StudyAbroad/
The CDC maintains a special section of its vast and informative website specifically for addressing the concerns and questions of study abroad students. With information on everything from country-specific vaccination requirements to how to assemble your own travel health kit, this is definitely one of the first sites you should consult in getting ready for your adventure.
4) Overseas Security Advisory Council: https://www.osac.gov/pages/home.aspx
OSAC closely monitors all incidents involving American citizens overseas and is a very reliable source for current warnings or advisories regarding Americans abroad. Though some of their reports and surveys make for dense reading, they are very informative and will give you a good idea of what to look out for.
3) Federal Bureau of Investigation http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/counterintelligence/student-travel-brochure-pdf
Though some of the tips might seem a bit overly-cautious to experienced travelers, that’s the FBI’s job! Their guide to traveling safely abroad is well organized and easy to read, it also offers a range of tips on everything from dressing appropriately to protecting your electronic devices from viruses and hacking.
2) Federal Aviation Administration http://www.faa.gov
With all of the recent tragedies involving aircraft, the FAA has been even more in the spotlight than usual. The site can come across as quite technical, but is an excellent compendium of information that is updated daily. With a simple search tool on the front page detailing airport delays, and another section dedicated solely to Flight Restrictions and Regulations, this is a great site to consult at any point in your travel or planning stages.
1) US Department of State http://studentsabroad.state.gov
There are a lot of travel advice websites out there, but especially for American students the State Department site is highly organized and extremely informative. This is where you will find information on passports, visas, vaccinations, embassies, warnings, advisories, voting overseas, and what to do in an emergency. Also of great importance is their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to which anyone can register (for free). So sign up, pack your things, and hit the road! It’s time to travel.