Main content
Follow these tips for successful international travel
travel banner

Emory’s Global Safety and Security team offers helpful recommendations for those preparing for university-sponsored international travel.

As spring approaches and you begin to make travel arrangements — whether you’re studying abroad, conducting research, attending a conference or engaging in community service — it's important to review a planning checklist prior to any travel sponsored by Emory University. 

Your safety and well-being are invaluable. That’s why the university’s Global Safety and Security team is readily available to offer global travel guidance to all Emory University travelers (faculty, staff or students). This includes conducting pre-departure travel briefings, addressing any health or security concerns, and equipping you with the necessary tools and resources to respond to an emergency while abroad. By properly planning and preparing, you can minimize disruptions and travel with ease, regardless of your destination.  

Check out these tips to implement on your next international trip.

1. Familiarize yourself with International SOS services.

When on Emory-sponsored travel, book with an Emory-approved agency so that your itinerary is automatically registered with International SOS. If travel is booked anywhere else, you will need to manually input all travel segments and lodging details into MyTrips by using the Assistance App or the MyPortal website.

2. Review the destination on the International SOS portal and request a medical and security briefing.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Before embarking on your travel, it is important to research the destination and familiarize yourself with current events and destination-specific religious or cultural practices. Oftentimes, we focus more on the excitement of the trip than the need for safety and security. International SOS can provide an easy-to-read briefing document containing the latest medical and security information, including potential risks, so you can make informed travel decisions.

3. For Emory-sponsored travel, schedule a pre-departure travel briefing with one month prior to the trip.

The Global Safety and Security team is here to provide guidance and best practices for safe international travel. In addition to addressing safety and security concerns, pre-departure travel briefings include an overview of resources available to you during your travels.

4. Assess your health.

Review your immunization and medication needs. Emory TravelWell Center is a great resource for Emory employees, or you may visit your primary care doctor. Students should consider booking an appointment at the Travel Clinic within Student Health Services. Although Emory-sponsored travel provides emergency evacuation and emergency medical coverage through International SOS, you are responsible for all non-emergency healthcare costs. Please review and ensure you are informed of the international coverage for your primary health insurance plan.

5. Create a personal emergency plan.

How will loved ones contact you? Do your loved ones know who to contact at Emory if something happens to you? Do you have an emergency contact who can advocate and/or make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable?

When you have answers to these questions, your loved ones will be more at ease knowing you have a personal emergency and communication plan. Remember, however, that choosing an emergency contact is more than simply listing a friend or roommate’s name. This person will have the responsibility to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf, if needed. For example, if you are unconscious and need medical attention, your emergency contact would be asked questions about your care. If you have any specific wishes, an estate plan or an advance health directive, be sure your emergency contact person is aware. Also ensure that your emergency contact or loved one has a valid passport in case they need to travel to your host country due to a medical emergency.

6. Bring proper documentation.

Being denied boarding is not a pleasant experience. Do you have all the required documents for travel? Have a paper copy of all documents placed somewhere accessible on your person and securely in your carry-on, including confirmed hotel accommodations, valid passports, vaccine cards and any required visas or permits. Be ready to present these documents when requested.

7. Finalize details.

Before arriving at your destination, register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) with the U.S. Department of State (if applicable). The U.S. Embassy may be engaged for certain emergencies. If you are traveling with a non-U.S. passport, please research whether the country of issuance has a similar travel notification program. Ensure you have all your travel documents, including any pertaining to country-specific COVID-19 entry requirements. Give copies of your travel documents to your emergency contacts.   

Recent News