Traveling abroad can be deeply rewarding for Harvard students, faculty and staff. It also requires careful planning, even for seasoned travelers. Each destination requires a different strategy for staying safe and for responding to small inconveniences and serious emergencies.
Use the menu on the left to access important travel tools and resources. The “Before you go” and “While you’re abroad” tabs include reminders of some steps you need to take to prepare for a safe trip and to stay safe while you’re away.
- Register your trip
Register your itinerary in the Harvard Travel Registry so that the University and Harvard Travel Assist can locate you and provide assistance in an emergency. Remember to update your registration throughout your trip if necessary (e.g. local cell phone number, changed travel plans). This step is required for students, and strongly recommended for all Harvard travelers.
- Visit the Harvard Travel Assist website
Print a Harvard Travel Assist card and familiarize yourself with the services and eligibility criteria. Review the destination specific medical and security information available, as well at the listings of local emergency services. Always contact the local equivalent of "911" in case of a life-threatening emergency, then contact Harvard Travel Assist at +1 617 998 0000.
- Obtain the appropriate travel documents such as a passport and/or a visa
These requirements vary by country, length of stay, purpose of travel, and the citizenship of the traveler. The process of applying for and receiving a visa can be lengthy, so it is important to plan ahead and get started well before your planned departure date. For more information visit Visa and Passport Services.
- Complete Travel Waiver and Health Clearance Form (if applicable)
Your program leader or funding source will provide you with a Travel Waiver and/or Health Clearance Form if needed. Common versions of these forms are also available in the Student Travel Forms section.
- Register your trip with the embassy of your country of citizenship
Embassies can provide some assistance to their nationals in an emergency. U.S. citizens can register at https://step.state.gov/step/.
- Review your health insurance coverage
Harvard Travel Assist is not health insurance. Make sure your health insurance covers you in your destination country(ies). Check the Resources and Checklists section for links to more information about HUGHP and HUSHP coverage while abroad.
- Obtain a pre-travel health consultation
See your health care provider about one month before your trip for recommendations based on your health and your destination. If appropriate, he or she may administer vaccinations, perform baseline tests, and prescribe medications or other preventive measures.
- In an emergency
- Call the equivalent of "911", if appropriate
- Call Harvard Travel Assist: +1 617 998 0000
- Update the Harvard Travel Registry
- Register new side trips and updates to your itinerary
- Keep contact telephone or mobile phone numbers up to date
- Update in-country emergency contact information
- Keep an eye on country specific hazards and how to stay prepared by visiting:
- Report incidents