Travel Smart & Stay Safe with International SOS
International SOS—the market leader for global medical and travel security in higher education—is Harvard University's new provider for travel registration and global emergency response. The International SOS program includes several exciting changes, but conveniently, the 24/7 emergency phone number remains the same: +1-617-998-0000.
"The safety and well-being of Harvard travelers is our number one priority," says Matt Etre, associate director for International Safety & Security in Harvard Global Support Services (GSS). "We're excited to partner with International SOS to improve the travel registration process, streamline our communication efforts when incidents occur, and continue to provide Harvard affiliates with medical and security assistance while abroad."
International SOS and our International Safety & Security team in GSS work together to empower travelers to mitigate risks and to provide them with appropriate resources. "Just because you're away from Harvard doesn't mean you're on your own. Whether it's mental health support, medical care, or security concerns, we'll get you the help you need," says Etre.
Medical & Security Support
With 1,000 International SOS locations in 90 countries, Harvard travelers have access to a vast global network of security specialists and primary, diagnostic, and emergency care providers.
And, Etre notes, "Just as mental health support is a vital resource on campus, we understand how critical it is to have that same support abroad when faced with unfamiliar environments or obstacles to care." International SOS has a robust emotional support program with counselors available worldwide for phone, video, and in-person appointments.
Enhanced Travel Registration Platform
International SOS MyTrips—the new travel registration platform—provides multiple ways to register international travel. Individual travelers can enter their itineraries manually or through email forwarding. Groups can continue to register through a bulk upload process with GSS.
On the back end, the MyTrips platform also provides our International Safety & Security team with greater visibility into Harvard's travel footprint, the incidents affecting travelers, and the status of accountability efforts following an incident.
Improved Communication with Travelers
Following an incident abroad, International SOS and our International Safety & Security team will proactively contact registered travelers in the affected area to check on their well-being. Depending on the contact preferences listed in their MyTrips profile, travelers will receive an email, SMS, and/or text-to-voice call asking them if they're safe and if they need help.
"In the past, we've relied mostly on email to confirm travelers' well-being," says Etre. "Having SMS and text-to-voice capabilities should improve the speed and efficiency of our accountability efforts and ensure that travelers get the help they need as quickly as possible. Of course, this also relies on travelers entering their international contact information in MyTrips."
With the International SOS Assistance App, travelers can browse country guides, sign up to receive medical and security push alerts, check-in to a location for 48 hours, and—with one tap—call for help via Harvard's dedicated hotline. And for travelers who prefer to text rather than talk, they can chat directly with International SOS case managers from within the app.
As GSS rolls out this program, we encourage Harvard students, faculty, and staff to visit the International SOS member portal to learn more about the available resources. We also encourage you to share feedback with us and with International SOS so we can continue to improve these services.
Note: As part of this new program launch, GSS has retired the Harvard Travel Registry and Harvard Travel Assist names, email addresses, and web properties.