Travel Checklist

UC Davis Global Affairs Travel Checklists


With UC Davis students, faculty, and staff actively studying, researching and collaborating worldwide, there are hundreds of UC Davis travelers at any given time. Global Affairs is committed to providing travel resources and tips for safe and productive trips.

Before Traveling

  • Register your trip

  • Ensure that your passport is valid

    • Passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended return date

  • Determine what visa requirements apply to your destination

    • Please note: the University of California maintains a contract with Peninsula Passport & Visa for reduced visa and passport rates for UC travelers

  • Research your destination

    • Two resources are the Worldcue Planner and the State Department’s “Country Information” webpages

    • Service is offered free of charge to UC Davis travelers and contains a wealth of country-specific safety, security, health, cultural, political, transportation, communications, legal, financial, and weather information and guidance

    • Keep weather, crime, transportation (including road safety), and cultural/political considerations in mind
    • Always know where the nearest police station and hospital/clinic are located
    • Learn about the local culture, political/security environment, weather, geography, traffic patterns, road conditions, visas required for entry and the perception of foreigners
  • Engage with friends or colleagues who have traveled to your destination previously or who are originally from there

    • Gain insights into daily life and tips on how to ensure a safe and productive trip
  • Establish a robust and redundant communications plan (see Communications Resources)

  • Review country-specific health, food safety, and immunization requirements

  • Register your travel with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

    • Registration enables receiving critical health, safety, and security alerts directly from the local U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. consulate

  • Enter emergency contact information into your phone

  • Be prepared for local weather contingencies

    • Pack clothing to dress in layers and allows you to maintain a low profile and blend in

  • Inform friends, family, and colleagues of your travel plans

    • Let friends and family know of impromptu trips while abroad

    • Establish routine check-in times, as well as a protocol in the event that you fail to check in as planned
  • Make copies of your identity documents

    • This includes passport, visa page, and other important documents

    • Keep them in safe place (e.g., separate from the originals in case they are lost or stolen)
  • Create a “mugger’s wallet”

    •  Keep a small amount of local currency, expired credit cards, and old receipts to hand over in a potential robbery attempt

  • Know the safest methods to withdraw cash at your destination

    • While ATMs are the most efficient way to withdraw local currency in many countries, they are not always prevalent or secure

    • Research the safest methods to withdraw cash at your destination
    • Be vigilant of ATM “skimming” equipment and protect your PIN
  • Research cell/landline access and coverage

    • Consider purchasing a local SIM card and data/voice plan for your mobile phone

    • Local SIM cards/plans are generally moderately priced, especially when compared to international plans offered by U.S.-based carriers
    • If traveling to remote or rural locations, consider renting a satellite phone or radio
  • Ensure that you have the correct plug adapters and, if necessary, power converters

    • Consider purchasing a spare or external battery for your electronic devices

  • Limit the amount of data and number of electronic devices that you travel with

    • Consider traveling with a “loaner” laptop and/or phone

    • Access sensitive data only remotely via cloud-based applications
    • If traveling with encrypted devices or devices with encryption software, be aware of which countries restrict or require licenses for importation of such devices/software (e.g., Belarus, Burma/Myanmar, China, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Ukraine)
    • If you must travel with your personal electronic devices, have your IT department scan your equipment before departure for comparison upon your return to determine if your devices have been tampered with
    • If traveling with personal devices, back them up before departing
    • Do not insert hardware (e.g., thumb drives or CDs) from unknown or untrusted sources into personal electronic devices
  • Be aware of internet/WiFi availability

    • Keep in mind that some states censor certain web content, applications, social media platforms, and occasionally impose complete blackouts

    • While some virtual private networks (VPNs) can bypass some levels of censorship, they should not be relied on to work at all times
    • There should be no expectation of privacy when utilizing “government approved” VPNs
  • Inform your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans

  • Research and comply with all local laws

    • This is especially important if traveling to conduct research or traveling with materials subject to local regulation
  • Get your export control-related questions answered


While at Your Destination

  • Ensure that your phone and/or internet communications work as planned
    • Re-check communications capabilities as you relocate during your trip, especially if moving from urban to rural areas
  • Rely on trusted locals for information or recommendations
    • This could be for food/restaurants and safety/security precautions
  • Keep a low profile
    • Blend in as much as possible
  • Keep cash in multiple locations
    • If you do not need ID, credit cards, documents, or cash with you while away from your hotel/residence, leave them in a safe place
  • Familiarize yourself with emergency exits
    • Spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself to emergency exits at your hotel/residence, restaurants, place(s) of employment, etc.
    • Visualize your escape plan in the event an emergency
    • Know where the nearest hospital, police station, and embassy/consulate are
    • Time permitting, walk or drive by these locations to know where entrances are
  • Maintain situational awareness
    • Remain vigilant of your surroundings
    • Don’t walk and text
    • Whenever possible, travel with someone else
    • Keep a low profile and blend in
    • If something doesn’t seem right, depart the area
    • Avoid political protests and demonstrations
  • Keep your phone charged and travel with a spare or external battery
  • Avoid sending sensitive information
    • This is especially true for login credentials and passwords
    • Avoid connecting to public WiFi networks
    • If you must utilize public WiFi, use of a virtual private network (VPN) may afford a basic level of security
    • Do not transmit sensitive information (e.g., login credentials and passwords) via hotel business center (or other public) computers or devices
  • Do not make assumptions about privacy–at any time
    • Avoid discussing politically, culturally, or socially sensitive topics, either in-person or electronically
    • Travelers re-entering the United State have no Fourth Amendment right to privacy
    • Electronic devices are subject to search by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol


Contact UnitedHealthcare Global, the University of California’s travel insurance provider, in the event of any health, safety, or security incidents at +1-410-453-6330. Be sure to have your insurance identification number, which travelers receive when registering their travel.

After Returning

  • Contact Global Affairs to discuss any travel-related incidents
    • Or other information that may be helpful for future UC Davis travelers by calling (530) 752-4129 or by e-mailing travelsecurity@ucdavis.edu
  • Change passwords to all electronic accounts that were accessed ​​​​​​​
    • Have your IT department inspect your equipment and compare to pre-departure scans to determine if your devices were tampered with

General Travel Resources

More Information

UC Davis travelers with general travel-related questions or concerns are encouraged to contact Global Affairs at (530) 752-4129 or travelsecurity@ucdavis.edu