International Travel Toolkit

Checklist for Student Leaders of 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 Undergraduate Students.


  All written materials describing the trip should be approved by your group’s advisor or sponsor before being distributed

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

  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 provided 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

  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

  Designate an alternate leader in case you are sick or injured during the trip

  Make sure all travelers have an International SOS card

  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. as they pertain to your destination

  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 (the group leader) of any travel independent of the group
  • Work with your group’s advisor to develop a complete list of expectations
  • Emphasize to travelers that they are responsible for their safety and for their actions
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)

  Email the group’s travel itinerary to the Yale College Office of Student Life

  Learn the locations of the nearest U.S. embassies and the best hospitals to use

  • Best hospitals based on proximity, English-speaking doctors or translators, and Western standards of care
  • Consult International SOS for information about hospitals at your destination
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 will meet in the event of a large-scale emergency that affects communication)

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

  Make sure all travelers know how to reach you by landline or 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!)

  Know how to make emergency phone calls

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

  Yale Security (1-203-785-5555)

  Local equivalent of 911

  International SOS (215-942-8478)

  Yale Health Acute Care (1-203-432-0123)

  The nearest U.S. embassy or consulate

  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

  • Take notes to create “memories” for your organization or group, so future leaders can learn from your mistakes and successes