How to be fully prepared for a life-changing experience abroad (3/3)

It’s Student Volunteering Week at King’s College London and KCLSU – and we have the pleasure of featuring guest blogger and KCL Alumna, Shari Mitchell write in her last of 3 blogposts in the KCL Transformational Travel Series.

Imagine: your bags are packed, you’re seated on that flight and your only thing to do is wait for take-off…sounds great right?  

Then you have got to take massive action! No other way exists than doing the hard work it takes to achieve success. You know this, of course.

So, with a confident mindset and a heart full of hope and expectation, you can take action on the top 3 tips below. With every passing day, if you take action on these steps, you will gravitate closer and closer to your goal of working, studying or volunteering abroad.

Image of a woman holding a mug that reads "like a boss"
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

1. Research Student-Friendly Travel-Hacking Tips

We all know that travel can be quite confusing and expensive, especially if you’re going a further distance or staying in a country for a lengthy period of time. This in itself is quite a turnoff for many students. However, there are some ways that you can cut on cost and make travel preparations much easier on you and your family.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tricks and hacks you can use to make your journey an easier, more affordable one:

  • Turn on ‘Private Browsing’ to find cheaper flights online
  • Use credit cards that partner with different airlines to deliver rewards points, free baggage checks mileage, free upgrades and more great bonuses.
  • Look for city tourism cards that allow you free entry into top attractions, discounts, skip-the-line perks, free transportation, and more.
  • Don’t leave home without travel insurance
  • Fly at unpopular hours, such as early in the morning to increase your chances of scoring discounted flights
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest days to fly (but avoid all holiday periods)
  • Use pre-paid travel money cards to save on transaction fees and currency conversion rates. It is also safer to use than credit cards which can be scammed easily.
  • Create a budget that you can stick to.
Pink umbrella in the rain
Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

2. Find the Most Necessary Travel Gear

Beyond the standard camera, backpack, laptop, passport, luggage and money, there are a few necessary pieces that you should not leave without. Get your shopping list ready because these will ensure that you embark upon your journey fully prepared, and even more excited to go.

These include:

  • A universal adapter
  • Travel apps that will help with directions, language, or money
  • Travel guidesPacking cubes
  • A portable wifi hotspot
  • Space bags to save on space
  • Flashlight
  • Repel windproof travel umbrella
  • Electric luggage scale
  • Electronics organizer
  • Compression socks for long-haul flights (gotta keep that blood flowing!)

With these essential gadgets in tow, you’ll feel at ease knowing that you have everything that you need to overcome any obstacle.

Group fist bump with five people working on laptops
Photo by

3. Make Safety Your #1 Priority

Lastly, you should not go anywhere without guaranteeing that you do your best to make safety your #1 priority.

You can take action on proper security measures by:

  • Doing your research – learn absolutely everything you can about your destination(s) before going anywhere (good, bad and ugly)
  • Before you leave, make sure you tell your family and friends exactly where you will be staying and how they can reach you.
  • Book your flight to arrive during the day instead of at night so you can get your bearings easily and also feel safer as you get to your accommodation

You, your family, and your friends will feel more settled with you going abroad to work, study or volunteer to know that you’ll be safe, comfortable, and they can always know how to find you.

If you are a King’s student embarking on a global experience for further study, work or volunteering, remember that King’s College London has plenty of support and advice available for you. Discover how King’s Careers & Employability can help you make the most of your time abroad, help you build success and take the next steps in your career journey, as well as help with global work applications and host agreements. You can also reach out to King’s Student Services if you need advice for example on housing or financial aspects of your global experience, or need mental health support during your experience abroad.

I know it can be scary to take the leap on leaving your comfortable environment to experience life in a completely different place, but here’s the truth. Once you realise that you can connect with people despite differences, you can handle foreign environments, and you can create a new lifestyle in a new place, you will become a more intelligent, interesting, competent and brave individual. Don’t hesitate to embrace the discomfort of making the leap because your desire to travel is your desire to grow and become the best that you can be.


Written by Shari Mitchell for King’s Careers & Employability