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Preparing for International Travel

The University proudly supports its students, faculty, and staff who travel the world. Whether someone is a seasoned traveler or taking a first trip abroad, careful preparation and planning can lead to a safe and successful travel experience. Here are some pre-departure and risk awareness steps you can take to help make your journey a safe one:

Contact International SOS for Advice and Information

The University has a membership with International SOS, a medical and travel security services company. International SOS provides travel, medical, and security advice before and during travel, as well as emergency help, 24/7 worldwide. All University travelers engaged in full-time educational or research activities while traveling internationally are covered under the International SOS evacuation and repatriation plan at no additional cost. 

The University’s International SOS membership number is 11BSGC000067. Use this to login to the International SOS website or use when contacting International SOS by phone (in the US, the number is 1.215.942.8226). Travelers should carry the International SOS membership card while traveling. The card includes important contact information, including phone numbers for the four International SOS call centers. Obtain an International SOS card by printing a card from the International SOS website.

Travelers can use the International SOS website to view country guides and online medical and security reports, and sign up for email alerts, which can provide helpful emergency information while traveling. Travelers can also call the International SOS Assistance Center at no cost for pre-travel information. A free International SOS phone consultation presents an opportunity to gain familiarity with the services available while traveling internationally. 

Before calling International SOS, make a list of relevant questions about health, safety, and travel to countries where travel will occur.  Suggested topics to cover include:

  • Vaccination requirements and recommendations
  • Traveling with prescription medications, including customs requirements
  • Traveling with a pre-existing medical condition and physician recommendations
  • Availability of needed medications at your destination
  • Night-time safety precautions
  • Current security situation
  • Common safety concerns for travelers
  • Tips to avoid common scams and petty theft

Please note that the International SOS plan is available only for University-related international travel. Persons traveling on personal matters before, in the midst of, or after University-related travel are strongly encouraged to purchase additional membership benefits at a personal cost to avoid any possible gaps in coverage. The International SOS website offers coverage at a discount off the normal rate when the University’s membership number (11BSGC000067) is entered when logging into the site.  This discounted coverage is also available for family members traveling with the student, faculty, or staff.

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Prepare for the Unexpected

All University travelers should be prepared for possible emergencies and should consider the components of an emergency management plan in advance of travel. In addition, persons responsible for a group of travelers, such as program leaders, must develop a written emergency management plan in advance of international travel. Any emergency management plan should include the following components, as appropriate to the particular travel, maintained in a readily accessible manner when in writing.

  • A plan to maintain all necessary documents, such as passports, visas, proof of international health insurance coverage, proof of vaccinations, and an International SOS card
  • A list of emergency contacts and a plan for reaching out to those contacts
  • Contact information for the local U.S. (or appropriate) embassy, local law enforcement, and information on local International SOS-approved medical facilities and medical practitioners
  • A plan for coordinating an evacuation
  • A communications plan with redundancy, keeping in mind that communications often break down in a crisis; landlines, wireless communication, and the internet may not work in an emergency situation
  • A plan for arranged meeting points and/or safe havens for various scenarios, particularly if communications fail
  • A plan for provisions – the acquisition of food, water, and other essential items

Contact the International Travel Risk Analyst, the Office of Internationalization, or the Office of International Education for additional information.

In addition, the University has developed an internal crisis management plan that serves as a guide for University handling of emergencies involving University students, faculty, and staff whose academic or business activities involve international travel. For more information, contact the International Travel Risk Analyst, the Office of Internationalization, or the Office of International Education.

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Review Online Resources

Here are some online resources that will help with your pre-departure and risk awareness preparations:

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