Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visa, if required. Before you leave, fill in the emergency information page of your passport.
Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visa with family or friends at home so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
Keep your emergency contact numbers with you at all times.
Be familiar with the location and contact information for your local U.S. consulate offices. They can help you in emergencies. Let others know where you are. Register with the nearest American embassy or consulate. A full listing of consulate offices, addresses and contact information can be found on the U.S. State Department website.
You should avoid traveling to any location that is presently dangerous, such as the Middle East and some parts of Africa, or for which a travel warning has been issued by the State Department. No matter where you are traveling, it is a good idea to review the State Department's consular information sheets for the appropriate countries.
Remain in contact with your resident director or the foreign student office at your university and your parents. Let them know your whereabouts and welfare so they can update others if necessary.
Familiarize yourself with and respect the laws, culture, customs and language of the countries in which you are traveling. Remember — while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.
Be alert in your surroundings and the people with whom you have contact. Be wary of people who seem overly friendly or overly interested in you just as you would be in the United States.
Never keep all your documents and money in one place or one suitcase. Wear a money belt for large sums of money and travel documents. Don’t flash money or documents in public places. Keep small bills accessible, and use them to pay for things. Be particularly discrete when displaying your passport.
When in large cities, pickpockets will be less likely to target you if you carry a smaller purse or briefcase with a shoulder strap and a secure closure, preferably a zipper. Carry it against your body and under your arm.
Be discrete about your American citizenship. Use caution when speaking English in public places. Do not wear clothing that gives away your American status. Students in foreign countries are considered targets. Avoid behaviors or clothing that might draw attention to your American nationality, such as loud or inappropriate speech, conspicuous labels, etc.
This is especially the case in locations that are typically frequented by American students. Avoid or spend little time in bars, restaurants, banks, travel offices, embassies and consulates, schools or churches that are normally identified with Americans. If you find yourself in uncomfortable surroundings, act confident and composed.
Don't put yourself in demonstration crowds or in other situations that may become unruly or where anti-American sentiments may be expressed.