Important information for students before your mid-semester break

Keep in mind these mid-semester break travel tips!Here are some friendly safety tips to keep in mind while you’re undertaking spring break travel from Charine John in the student life office…

Dear Students,

We know that a lot of you are making travel plans for break and beyond, and want to help make sure you are safe and secure whether at home or abroad. Here is our advice. We are sending it to you to help you, so please make sure you read this information and absorb it as you make your plans.

Before you go:

• You MUST complete the Travel form every time you make your own plans to stay away from the address on our database. You know that this is an integral part of our safety/security procedures and now have no excuse for not doing it.

• Prepare yourself as much as possible: many countries, even those in the EU, have different laws and customs from those in the UK, particularly where alcohol is concerned – you don’t want to find yourself in jail over break!

• Please be very careful around ‘el vino collapso’! It impairs your judgment and makes you think you are powerful when you are most vulnerable. Plan how you will get home before you go out, and look out for your friends.

• I know it won’t work if I get moral with you, but I can at least remind you to be sensible. What are you ingesting? Where did you get it? Do you REALLY know what is in it (and what to do if your plans go belly-up?!)

PLAN AHEAD!

• We have travel resources in the Student Life office which we are happy to lend out, and you can check websites of embassies/travel organisations.

• Make a note ON PAPER as well as in your ‘phone of the following numbers: S U London’s emergency phone (07957473159), your insurers, credit card companies and of course your travelling companions/next of kin,  the ISOS info (this is just in case you need emergency medical evacuation – otherwise you have information on your student handbook thumb drive, or contact us in the Student Life office if you need advice/referral: yes, I will be here!)

You need the numbers written down in case your ‘phone is lost/stolen.

Please remember that I am going to be on emergency phone cover over break – please don’t contact me just so that I can experience listening to you try to say my name at 3am  after 20 Sambuca, but do get in touch if it’s a real emergency (being unable to find a cab in Paris after chucking-out time is not what I am thinking of…)

• Good idea to check that your ‘phone actually works abroad! If you get a new SIM for your travels, make sure you let us know the number. If using a smart phone, do check if you need to alter your settings so you don’t incur hefty data roaming charges!

• Make copies of all important documentation – your passport and visa, for example. We can help you with that. That way you can take copies when you go out so you don’t have to carry your real passport unless the law states you have to.

• Obviously, take relevant documentation with you: passport, visa, immigration letter.

• Ditto medication – take what you need, and make sure it is legal for you to travel with what you have. Some drugs, (eg melatonin) are legal in some countries but not others.

When you get there:

• If your accommodation has a safe, use it! If not, get a money/document belt that you wear under your clothes – you’d be amazed how skillfully pockets can be picked. Carry only what you need.

• If you use an internet café, keep your belongings where you can see/feel them and don’t leave the computer unattended. Log out properly afterwards!

• Don’t wander off on your own and look out for your friends! If you find you need time away from the group, let people know where you are going and when you will be back. Honestly, spring break is no time to develop an enigma.

• Standards of safety and supervision overseas may be different from those in the United States. If you plan to hire any equipment – scuba, mopeds, cars, anything – please do all you can to make sure it is safe. People have died after falls from poorly-fenced balconies. You should also exercise caution when swimming engaging in water sports. Obey signs and flags and stay out of the water when advised to do so.

• You might think that what happens abroad stays abroad, but no! Diseases travel, and so do pregnancies. Protect yourselves.

Airport transfers

A lot of people come into the office looking for advice on getting to the airport. Often the cheapest flights leave at the crack of dawn, before tubes and trains are running. It might be that you need to take a taxi, a licensed minicab or a bus. You’ll find tons of useful information on the SU website travel section so have a look and if you can’t find what you need, don’t hesitate to pop into the Student Life office and we’ll be glad to advise you.  Please remember that we do not advise you to use unlicensed minicabs. Details of licensed minicab companies, particularly the Keen Group, who offer a special student rate, can be found on your student handbook (the USB you got during orientation) The Keen Group’s phone number is 0208 299 4455 – remember to tell them you are a Syracuse student so they will give you the Syracuse discount!  Apart from the options below, it could be a cheap option if you and your flat mates are traveling, plus you’ll have door to door service!

You could also check the Heathrow Connect service, which goes from Paddington to Heathrow in half an hour, for half the price of the Heathrow Express. For getting to airports by road, you could try www.easybus.co.uk and www.terravision.eu
Have fun, be safe, be happy!

*** Charine ***

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About Peter Bjork

Web-guy for the Syracuse University London Program
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