International Travel Toolkit

Checklist for Faculty, Staff & Postdoc Leaders of Student Travel Groups

Click on the section headings to expand content.  Get a printable version here.  For general travel planning information, visit Yale’s International Travel Toolkit for Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs.


  Follow the travel policies and guidelines for undergraduates (if applicable)

  Refer to the Center for Global Education’s Resources for Program Administrators for planning help

  Remind participants to apply for their visas and passports (see Things to Do Before You Travel Abroad:  Check your Passport and Get a Visa)

  Set the trip cancelation/refund policy and make all participants aware of it

  • Advise participants to consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if the trip could be canceled due to unforeseeable circumstances (e.g., a hurricane or civil unrest)

  Schedule a group travel education session with Passport Health at 203-285-3485 or

  • Follow the instructions in the “Student Travel Groups” section of the Travel Health Services for Students website
  • Typically the cost of participating in a group travel consultation will be considerably less than the cost of an individual travel consultation

  Acquire a Purchasing Card if necessary; understand Yale P-card and Expense Report procedures

  • Work with your business manager for guidelines on proper card use
  • The Yale P-card may not work in all countries; contact Yale Procurement for assistance

  Be aware that students may disclose disabilities and mental health or medical conditions; understand your role in providing support

  Require travelers to get necessary immunizations and to understand how their health insurance will work (see Ways to Protect Your Health While Abroad)

  Determine if Yale travelers or AYA groups visited the region recently, or if Yale alumni live there

Can they provide recommendations to make planning easier for you?

  Don’t plan to rent a vehicle for you to transport the group

Look into contracting with a transportation service or use public transportation or taxis

  Complete the Emergency Contact Information sheet for each of your destinations prior to the orientation; use the information to help students fill out their emergency contact cards (see below)

Pre-Departure Orientation (about 2 weeks before travel; all participants should attend)

  Provide travelers with a detailed itinerary

  • Include flight numbers and carriers; name, address, and phone number of all accommodations; methods of travel between sites; other pertinent details
  • Travelers should give a copy to their parents/guardian

  Make sure all travelers carry an International SOS card

  • Collect copies of the completed cards prior to departure

  Designate a student to serve as alternate leader in case you are sick or injured during the trip

(if you are the only faculty or staff member leading the group)

  Urge travelers to complete the International Travel Toolkit for Undergraduate Students

  • Or discuss the orientation as a group so all travelers have the same knowledge and expectations

  Discuss crime, culture, health issues, etc. from the International Travel Toolkit for Undergraduate Students as they pertain to your destination

  Remind students they can voluntarily disclose any conditions that may require accommodations

  Discuss behavioral expectations (and potential consequences) with the participants

  • Don’t ignore this responsibility; discussing expectations as a group will generally lead to fewer problems, better group cohesion, and a more successful trip
  • Expectations of travelers should include, for example:
    • To follow Yale’s Undergraduate Regulations or other relevant behavioral policies
    • To respect their fellow travelers
    • To not partake in illegal activity or drug use
    • To not do anything that could jeopardize the group’s safety
    • To inform you of any travel independent of the group
  • Emphasize to travelers that they are responsible for their safety and for their actions

  Distribute and collect signed student Acknowledgment and Release forms

  • Hold the forms for 2 years after the trip
2 Weeks Before Travel

  Register the group’s travel (you will register for all participants)

  Obtain a cell phone for emergency use or plan to purchase one immediately upon arrival (See Things to Do Before You Travel Abroad:  Look into cell phones and communicating)

After You Arrive

  Remind participants of behavioral expectations

  Show all students the locations of the best hospitals to use and primary and secondary group meeting points (central locations where everyone should gather if a large-scale emergency affects communication)

  • Make sure everyone can find them; physically take the group to the sites if necessary

  Collect all students’ phone numbers (landline or cell) and addresses (if using homestays, for example)

  • Make sure you can reach all students
  • Mark all students’ addresses on a map

  Make sure all travelers know how to reach you by landline or the emergency cell phone

  • Be prepared to be on call 24/7 for the duration of the trip (but rely on help from Yale administrators and International SOS if there is a problem; you don’t need to handle it alone!)

  Program emergency phone numbers into your cell phone, then make sure they work

  Be sure that accommodations, transportation, and activities/excursions are safe

  • Accommodations:  working smoke detectors, door and window locks, fire escapes
  • Transportation: using licensed drivers and reputable transportation companies
  • Activities: relevant to the educational purpose of the trip, not unnecessarily risky

  Check that students have their emergency information cards in their possession

  Think about risks of the trip and your location and how you might respond to possible problems (see Steps You Can Take to Travel More Safely)

  • Then help students understand the risks and their roles in a safe, successful trip

  Assess the trip during and after, with group leaders and participants