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Challenges While Traveling Abroad? Here Are Some Resources.

From navigating local entry visa requirements to support for an unexpected illness abroad, Duke helps university travelers overcome international travel challenges

As international travel restrictions have begun to ease in many parts of the world, many Duke students, faculty and staff have resumed global travel for academic, research and other Duke-related purposes. The university has also expanded its support offerings to help Duke travelers navigate pandemic-related international travel challenges.

“Folks are re-engaging their global partners, working at research sites that they haven’t been able to visit since 2020 and exploring new academic opportunities abroad.  This summer we’re seeing international travel numbers that rival or exceed our pre-pandemic travel volume here at Duke,” said Christy Parrish of Duke’s Global Administrative and Travel Support office


Support for COVID-related Travel Requirements and Isolation Periods

The Global Administrative and Travel Support team has long assisted Duke travelers in navigating destination-specific visa requirements and health and safety resources. Now it also helps travelers comply with local rules for entry and exit COVID testing, quarantine and symptom monitoring. The office is available to assist Duke travelers before and during international travel, and also offers an online COVID-19 Traveler Toolkit  (NETID login required).

Travelers who test positive for COVID while abroad face additional challenges. In some countries, they are required to isolate for a set period of time. In others, isolation is mandated until the traveler can provide a negative test result.

Unplanned isolation abroad can stressful: Travelers might miss return flights to the United States or connecting flights to their final destinations; they may also find themselves alone in a place where they aren’t familiar with local resources.

In such circumstances, the university provides resources accessible to any Duke student, faculty or staff member traveling on Duke business.


Worldwide Support via International SOS

Faculty, staff, students and others traveling with Duke support are covered by Duke’s International SOS (ISOS) plan.  Travelers who become ill with COVID or any other condition while abroad should call the International SOS assistance center in their region or access support via the ISOS mobile app. ISOS can help locate health providers or clinics, and even arrange visits to a traveler’s isolation location or transportation to local health providers as necessary.


Reimbursement for Unplanned Isolation-related Expenses

In an effort to help allay the potential costs of isolation abroad, Duke has purchased insurance with an “isolation benefit” that reimburses travelers for up to $2,000 in unplanned expenses and one economy airfare for return travel, in cases where a traveler has lost their ticket because of required isolation. 

This coverage reimburses expenses such as lodging, meals, and COVID-19 tests accrued during a government-mandated isolation due COVID infection abroad.  Therefore, travelers will need to have access to funds to cover costs up front and then submit receipts within 90 days.  Travelers who incur such expenses during Duke-related travel should contact Duke’s Corporate Risk Management office for assistance submitting a claim.


A Global Network of Duke Support

For travelers who must isolate abroad in places where they do not have local connections or support networks, the Global Administrative and Travel Support and Global Affairs offices can often help provide connections to Duke alumni and trusted local partners or providers the host country.  “

We have a vast network at hand to assist travelers in need,” said Eve Duffy, associate vice provost for global affairs. 

“We’ve had Duke alumni and local research partners in host locations drop off comfort food, bottled water, newspapers and wireless hotspots to our travelers in isolation.  It’s amazing how helpful and generous our global network of Blue Devils has been when we’ve had someone in their country who is alone and unable to leave their hotel room,” Parrish said. “Just having a friendly voice you can talk to can sometimes make the world of difference.