Consider the following modes of transportation: car, public transportation, taxi, bicycle, walking.
Car: The majority of students traveling internationally will not have access to a car. If you do, consider the following:
- Car insurance
- Gasoline (a.k.a. petrol) Prices and any repairs necessary
- The cost of renting a car/motorcycle and legal age to do so
- Rules of the road abroad (Speed Limit, Right of Way, Seatbelt Use, Driving Age, Drinking and Drinking Laws)
- How strictly rules are enforced and followed
- Treatment of law enforcement towards foreign drivers
- Have cash and change with you at all times, in case you need to take public transportation
- Know where to buy tickets and how to utilize the company’s website
- Check out the student rate! Many cities allow you cheaper rates with you university ID
- What are the hours? How late does it run? What about on weekends?
- If there are areas/stops/lines which are not safe, avoid those areas
- Follow the same rules and use the same street smarts you would in New York or anywhere else
- Find a map of the transport system or take a photo of one on your phone or iPod so you always have one with you
- Determine where you board (front? Back?) and when to pay (when getting on? Getting off?) Do as the locals do.
Taxi: In some countries, taxi companies are less regulated, honest, and safe than one might hope. Consider the following if you hail a taxi cab:
- Find out from locals about the best cab companies. Program those numbers in your phone.
- Know where you are going. Have the address of your home lodging written in the country’s native language.
- Negotiate the price before you get into the cab.
- Trust your gut. If something seems off, don’t get into the car.
Bicycle: Buying a bicycle when you are living abroad is a great investment. Remember:
- You can purchase either a new bicycle or a used bicycle.
- At the end of your stay, sell the bike and get some of your money back from the initial purchase.
- Follow the rules of the road, including where to ride, how to signal, and if a helmet is necessary.
Walk!: It is no secret that walking is a wonderful and healthy routine to get into; it prevents diseases, builds muscle and is good for the heart. It is by far the best mode of transportation and lets you take the time to see things as you pass. You never know what hole in the wall restaurant, boutique, bar or store you might find while walking in a new area.
- Just know where you are and how to ask for help if you get lost. 🙂