Student Travel Guide
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When you finally head out on your dream trip, what will you take with you? And have you followed security advice to avoid problems that could last long after your travels?

From choosing the type of device that meets your needs to finding out how it can help you make your trip safer and more fulfilling, AVG has the answers for you. With tips on:

  • Tech threats and security software and hardware
  • Handling finances while abroad
  • Apps to help you make the most of foreign travel

Free download in PDF format.

Excerpt

Whatever your digital preference, there’ll always be forces beyond your control - bad weather, unreliable transportation, tummy bugs. But when it comes to your devices there are basic precautions that can make your trip safer, richer and generally more fun.

About the author
Charlie Sanchez

Charlie Sanchez is an AVG senior content specialist. He manages the blog platform and writes a number of blogs, including community and student pieces. Having visited 40 countries and seven continents, his highlights include Patagonia, Sri Lanka and Antarctica.



Student travel has come a long way since the days of hitchhiking across Europe and calling home once every six months. These days, young travelers are as likely to keep a daily blog - complete with photos or video - as they once were to drop their parents the occasional postcard. And that’s fantastic, both for travelers and the folks left at home.

It’s that first taste of independence that students dream about and their parents envy: the gap year, the year out, the fantasy trip, the extended break before university or career - call it what you want, we’re traveling the world like never before.




Connecting

And in many ways, it’s easier than ever before. There are apps that let you find a hostel - or even just an available couch - in unfamiliar cities; to circumnavigate language barriers; currency converters to weigh up whether that bungee jumping offer is a ripoff or a good deal.


So what kind of a traveler are you? An old-school backpacker who shies away from technology? Someone content to occasionally check in at an internet cafe? Or are you fully loaded with smartphone and tablet, arranging tweet-ups with fellow travelers between Instagramming your exploits and running a travel blog?


First-time travelers far from home might want to use technology as a safety net, if only to pacify worried parents. If you’re a more seasoned globetrotter, you may want to go with the flow instead of turning to an app for every question. Conversely, the longer you’re away the more likely you’ll need to earn a living or at least manage your money, in which case a laptop or tablet could help keep you afloat.


Whatever your digital preference, there’ll always be forces beyond your control - bad weather, unreliable transportation, tummy bugs. But when it comes to your devices there are basic precautions that can make your trip safer, richer and generally more fun.


Most of all, you may never get this chance again so just get out there and enjoy it.



Charlie Sanchez


Pack it

Cables and Chargers
Get at least one universal adaptor, and possibly a power converter. Pack extra batteries, memory cards/sticks and keep things these, along with your cables and chargers, in your hand luggage. Don’t risk losing them if your checked bags end up on the other side of the world.

Protection
Consider locks or other discreet protection for your hardware, and other gear that might be useful depending on your destination, such as a case to protect from sand damage or a solar charger.


Sim Card
If you’re going to pick up a sim card in your host country, do you know if it will be compatible with your phone? Do you know where to get one and how you can pay for it?


Troubleshoot regularly
Keep tabs on what might be hitchhiking in your devices, including any USB drives, by doing regular checks for spyware, viruses and malicious software.


Backup
You know it’s essential to make copies of your passport, itineraries, confirmations, reference numbers, emergency numbers (such as for your credit card company or the local embassy) and insurance information (and you did insure any expensive equipment you’re taking, right?) But whether you decide to cut down on the paperwork by storing these on an app such as Evernote, or you’re extra cautious by doubling up, just be sure you can get to that information.



Apps

WhatsApp
Everybody’s favorite, WhatsApp, enables you to text with others who’ve downloaded it, for free no matter where you are. Available for most smartphones.

Free Zone
Free Zone locates all the free WiFi zones nearby and can connect you.



Around Me
Want a pizza but all you can see is dim sum? You may be out of luck but if it’s there, Apple’s Around Me will help you find it. Ditto for lots of things, including hotels, bars, supermarkets, gas stations and parking.

Trip Splitter
Fight the freeloader! Trip Splitter, which is free, breaks down who owes what.


Translator
Don’t get caught out treating your krona like dollars. XE Currency is free and accurate to the minute.


XE Currency
Don’t get caught out treating your krona like dollars. XE Currency is free and accurate to the minute.






Kit & Caboodle

How to make tech work for you while traveling



Cloud Services

Remote computing using a shared network. Instead of individual hardware to store and give access to a user’s data, software and computation, cloud services provide the same capabilities from a remote location, accessible from anywhere.


Dedicated Apps

Stay connected with Skype or Apple’s FaceTime or apps for Twitter, Facebook and other social sites. Mobile banking apps allow you to manage money. Technology such as Onavo (for iPhone) streams data through a cloud-based compression service for those on a limited data plan.


Social Media Storage

Storing and accessing things such as images, messaging and other shared content using social networks (ie Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr).


Call Plan

Mobile service providers can tailor coverage plans to the user’s needs, but long-term travelers will find it more economical and reliable to buy SIM cards for use in their current location.


Security Checks

Passcode or password protect any device and take care when using portable hard drives, which can become corrupted if not protected with software, such as antivirus tools, and checked regularly.


Portable Hard Drives

Portable hard drives, such as USB flash drives, to store data (content, photos, music, etc.) or web browsers for use on desktop computers, laptops, mobiles and other hardware.



Devices




Skype Zone Abroad

There’s something intoxicating about blazing trails in new places, making friends and bonding through shared experiences. Together you’re scaling the heights of Machu Picchu and surviving the lows of too much tequila. Now things are starting to get really intimate: you’re swapping memory sticks.

And, as with travel generally, pay attention. If you’re Skyping, using FaceTime or even updating your Facebook status, mind what you say and the details you divulge. You can never be too careful about who else may be in on the conversation.




Tech Ed

Hold on! Remember that sex ed lesson about all the nasty things you could catch from your partner’s previous partners if you fail to use protection? Well the same applies here. You may trust your friend, but who knows where their devices have been or what viruses they’re carrying. Play it safe by uploading to an online photosharing site, but don’t even think about swapping USBs.

That’s as sexy as the digital safety advice gets, but the rest is as important and easy to follow. Before you go, let your credit card company know which countries you’ll be visiting. Do a device health check: run a virus test; clear sensitive data, such as banking information, credit card details and social site passwords; and install safeguards, such as AVG anti-virus software and firewalls. Also backup and store anything you don’t want to lose.

Passcode protect and insure your devices, and take steps to limit the damage, such as preloading software to track them if they go missing. Also turn off Bluetooth and data roaming. Make sure WiFi hotspots are encrypted and you aren’t on a fraudulent network, especially if asked for payment. Never use an open browser and when leaving a WiFi or internet cafe session, clear your history.

Be extra cautious if you’re using public computers. A portable internet browser, such as Google Chrome or Firefox portable, helps but try to avoid online banking or other transactions where key-logging software could strip your details and your funds. Using two-step authentication, either through a card reader or an app, provides further protection.

Beware of pop-up ads - you might need to force shutdown to fend off malware - and never download or open anything that looks too good to be true. Free ringtones or wallpaper? More like free access to your personal information. Proceed with caution.

And, as with travel generally, pay attention. If you’re Skyping, using FaceTime or even updating your Facebook status, mind what you say and the details you divulge. You can never be too careful about who else may be in on the conversation.



Country Guide

What to do abroad, how to pay for it and the best time to phone home



Brazil and Australia



South Africa and Thailand


Top travel destinations for the US Students in 2013



Foreign travel usually has one of two effects: you either disappear into the experience, or you want to share every single aspect, possibly as soon as it happens. Unlike previous generations you have that choice - but remember your parents will worry, so don’t go too far off the radar.

If you’re eager to stay connected and share your adventures, there are more opportunities than ever.



Go! Travel Guide for Students


and share it

If you’re going low-tech, you can still keep in touch by picking up a SIM card or an old cellphone in your host country. Checking in via Skype at an internet cafe will please your family, keep you in the loop and help smooth the way when you’re running low on money.

On the other hand, you may be eager to keep a running commentary on all the sights, sounds and souls you encounter, in which case a smartphone, tablet or laptop will be your most loyal companion. A sturdy case and lock are good investments, but don’t advertize that you’re carrying a bunch of expensive equipment or you, and it, may be targets. Also be sure to upload your photos daily in case you lose your device or camera.

What about making technology work for you? Have a knack for sniffing out a compelling tale far off the beaten track? You could tell it on your own or another travel blog, but it’s possible a paying publication might be interested. The same goes for high-quality photos, but be sure to shrink the files for the recipient’s sake. In any case, avoid being exploitative or culturally insensitive. If you go to Cambodia’s Killing Fields, don’t be that guy who scrawls their name in a cellblock and, worse, uploads a photo of it. Some experiences are best not shared with the rest of the world.

That said, sharing is one of the fundamentals of traveling, which is where apps and social media come in handy. Crowdsource advice, arrange to meet up or keep things compact with digital travel guides and other resources. You can overdo it, though, and there’s still a lot to be said for just letting your curiosity lead you. If you get lost, so what? Isn’t that why you went traveling in the first place?


Still trying to make up your mind about what kind of experience would best suit you? A trawl through the countless travel blogs and websites dedicated to overseas volunteering or living abroad may help clarify things, and most people who have been traveling will be more than happy to talk about it, so draw on their expertise. Most of all, just get out there and find out for yourself. What are you waiting for?


With a few tips, you can make the experience even better for everyone concerned.


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