When making travelling on University business, consider the following sensible advice whilst planning your trip:
1. Check whether there are any special occasions
Such as public holidays, local elections, political conferences, major sporting events, at the destination you are travelling to. As well as affecting prices, hotel availability and traffic, security may be heightened and the likelihood of terrorist attacks may increase.
2. Make three copies of your itinerary, passport & visa.
Pack one copy separately from the originals, leave one with a University contact and one with your emergency contact / next of kin. Please note: many countries will require you to carry your passport/id at all times but having another copy in your luggage will help if your originals are lost/stolen/confiscated.
3. Email any important documents to yourself
If you lose your memory stick or your laptop gets stolen, you could still access your emails via a PC at your destination or hotel accommodation.
4. Use accommodation providers you know and trust.
If you are going somewhere new take some time to research accommodation locations and reviews online. Reputable hotels are not just for comfort, they usually also have higher security standards and good medical emergency procedures. When possible, pay your hotel room booking in advance to avoid having to make large transactions in-country.
5. Ensure you have more than one source of funds.
Do not rely on a single credit card, always have a reasonable amount of local currency, and pay whatever you can in advance (hotels, airport transfers etc).
6. If you are travelling to a country you have not been to before - do some research.
While you may have been to a neighbouring country, there will be differences and country-specific issues to consider. Remember, in addition to the UK Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice, the University has access to detailed ACE destination reports that should be referred to for higher/ medium risk trips. Contact Legal Services for further information on how to access this service.
7. Consider your arrival time in a city/country you have not been to before
Will it be after dark? How far out of the city centre is the airport? Make sure you arrange an airport pickup through your hotel or a local contact whenever possible.
8. Source a reliable travel agent with high standards of customer service.
Online companies may be convenient to use but they can be ineffective in an emergency. The University uses a preferred booking agent, details of which can be obtained by contacting the Finance Office.
9. Check the medical provision in-country before you go.
Although you will be covered by University insurance, you may not be admitted to the hospital without cash payment on arrival (even as an emergency case in an ambulance). You should use the University’s ACE destination reports to research the available medical provisions before you travel.
10. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, pack an extra pair.
When carrying your own medications, take a copy of your prescription with you and the generic names for the drugs. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first. Keep medicines in their original, labelled containers. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. It’s also a good idea to take enough medication for the duration of your trip plus 7 days (for emergencies).
11. Charge your mobile phone frequently
You don't want the battery to run out in an emergency or when you are on a long journey in-country. Programme in the numbers of local contacts and emergency contacts like the University's Insurance contact and emergency assistance providers. New airport regulations require all electronic devices to have power, so make sure you charge your phone/tablet/laptop before departing for the airport and keep your chargers in your hand luggage.
12. Take a photo of your luggage with your mobile phone camera
If it goes missing you can show the image to the baggage desk staff at the airport, making it easier to find it for you.