The following guidelines were created with first-time international travelers in mind. SSSAdmits are strongly encouraged to follow the recommendations outlined below in a timely manner to ensure smooth travels.
1. Notify your bank that you will be out of the country and give them your specific travel dates. Doing this ensures that your ATM card will not be cut off due to fraud suspicions. This is usually done with a simple phone call to their 800 number and should be done at least two weeks before your travel date.
2. Set an automatic reply on your email letting people know that you are out of the country and will have limited internet access.
3. Get all needed prescriptions ahead of time (such as inhalers, allergy medications and any other medicines that you rely on regularly)
4. Attend to your housing needs. Cancel leases, pay rent and/or complete your housing paperwork for the fall semester prior to your departure. Also, if you have pets or plants, arrange for someone to take care of them while you are away.
5. Set up automatic bill payment for any recurring bills (such as credit cards, car payments or cell phone bills) because you might not have reliable internet connection on the day that your payments are due.
6. Provide contacts to trusted friend and family members in case they need to reach you while you're abroad (contact numbers can be found here)
7. Register with the U.S. State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Registering with the State Department's STEP site is the safest way to make sure that the state is aware of your whereabouts in case of an emergency (such as a natural disaster, political uprising or lost passport). STEP registration is mandatory for all SSSA participants.
8. Plan transportation to and from your departure airport. After buying your plane ticket, make sure that you have a reliable way of getting to and from the airport. SSSA has arranged for all participants transportation to and from the airport in Ghana, however you are responsible to make sure that someone (this could be a family member, friend or shuttle service) will be able to take you to the airport in time from your departure flight and will be around to pick you up when you get back from Ghana.