Checklist for Researcher Travel Abroad

Preparing to travel for an international research project? Use this handy checklist to keep track of the many steps necessary to ensure a successful research trip.

6-12 Months Before Leaving 

  • Research the region and country using the Travel Planner.  Contact UCSF researchers with experience in the area.
  • Review the requirements for Medical Clearance and Vaccinations
  • Ensure the UCSF IRB has been fully approved, as well as all the partner institution reviews. Human subjects review at international universities and govenmental sign-off are a long process. Consult with someone who has traversed the process to familiarize yourself with procedures and timeline.
  • Stay aware of funding resources, check the Clinical HUB, and additional funding opportunities at UCSF.
  • Passport should be valid for 3 months beyond your date of return.

4-6 Months Before Leaving 

3 Months Before Leaving 

  • Will you use your cell phone? Buy a local one? Buy a phone card? Bring your computer? What will you need, and what can you carry?
  • At your bank: get your PIN, discuss limits and fees, check ATM locations, provide them your itinerary. Ensure they have a footprint in country.

1 Month Before Leaving 

  • Confirm your travel itinerary 
  • Confirm housing arrangements. Communicate this information to your departmental staff.
  • Research the basic living conditions. Where will you eat? How is water being supplied? What is the best mode of transportation?
  • Compile and scan travel documents. Passport, visas, travel insurance, state and UCSF ID, emergency contact information, and immunization records. Store copies online and with a staff person. If you carry the hard copies, do not check them in your luggage, and store them in the hotel safe.
  • Review  What to Pack and assemble a Travelers’ Health Kit.
  • Become familiar with dress standards, religious practices, and codes of conduct between sexes. Purchase gifts for your hosts.
  • Research ATM access in your area, currency exchange information, and whether travelers checks are acceptable.
  • Download ATM app, Onavo, Lonely Planet app.
  • Talk to your phone service to set up travel service.

1 Week Before Leaving 

  • Confirm travel arrangements and itinerary. Check the bag limits on each leg of your trip.
  • Carry small cash to convert at the overpriced airport exchange.  Some customs areas insist that you have local currency before leaving the airport. Keep reserve US cash for the trip home.

Last updated: August 17, 2016