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Travel Safety Tips for Students

Tourist woman holding travelers map

It’s common to attend college away from your hometown, but it’s likely that you’ll want to travel back home for the holidays to see your friends and family. If this is your first year at university, it may be the first time you’ve travelled alone, which can be quite daunting. Whether you’re going just a short distance or all the way across the country (or perhaps even farther), it’s important to take measures to ensure you stay safe while travelling.

1. Take Out Travel Insurance

If you’re travelling from one province to another, you’ll need to have health insurance to cover you in the case of an accident or illness. You should also make sure you have comprehensive vehicle insurance. This will mean that you can receive any repairs to your car much faster (and at a lower cost), which will help ensure you return to university on time.

2. Keep Copies of Your Documents

Having copies of your most important documents is useful in a variety of situations. In particular, you’ll have proof of identity in case your originals are lost or stolen. Keeping copies with you is also a good alternative to carrying anything more than your driver’s license and college ID. Besides, there’s no need to make physical copies — it can be just as useful to have a scan of your documents saved to the cloud.

3. Make Sure Someone Knows Your Location

Keep at least one family member or friend updated about where you are. You could share your real-time location through an app or just check in regularly. This is a useful safety precaution even if your trip will only take a couple hours; plus, it will give loved ones peace of mind.

5. Travel During the Day

It’s much safer to travel during the day than at night to avoid hazardous conditions on the road and other dangers. If this means you’ll need to get up early, it’s worth it. In fact, since it becomes dark by the afternoon in the winter, it may even be better to split a longer trip over two days and spend the night at a hotel.

6. Don’t Hitchhike

If you lack your own vehicle or want to save money on gasoline, you may be tempted to hitchhike some of your way home. However, this is extremely dangerous, even if you travel during the daytime and are selective about whose car you get into. If you’re unable to drive yourself home, find an alternative like a bus, or ask someone from university for a ride. Just make sure that you find an option that will take you all the way home to eliminate the need to hitchhike. If you can’t make it home safely, it’s better to stay at your university over the holidays.

There are many reasons why it may not be possible to return home for the holidays. Staying on campus by yourself is a lonely experience — you’ll have a far better time if you’re living in comfortable U of Waterloo off-campus housing. King Street Towers, for instance, offers great amenities like 24-hour fitness centres, games rooms, and a rooftop fire pit. Contact us to book a tour.

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