Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Travel registry is vital tool for international travel

In the coming weeks, more than 470 U-M faculty, staff and students will be traveling around the globe.


More information

U-M Travel Registry
International travel policy

Natural disasters or political violence could put those travelers at risk. Reaching them quickly in a time of crisis is essential.

That’s what makes the U-M Travel Registry such an important tool for the university, explains Kim Coyne, senior adviser for international health, safety and security in the Office of the Provost.

“When our colleagues register their travel, we know where they are expected to be and how to contact them,” Coyne says. “That information is critical if we need to evacuate someone or just alert them to be mindful of their surroundings.”

In the past week, Coyne has sent email messages to U-M travelers in 13 countries including Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey. Part of her message includes this:

“We strongly encourage you to be very cautious and aware of your surroundings. We recommend you avoid crowds and immediately leave the area of any protests or demonstrations. Remember that even peaceful protests have the potential to turn violent.

“Continue to pay close attention to local media and check with local colleagues and friends regarding the situation. Please remember to stay in regular contact with your family and friends at home.”

For more than a year now, those on university-related international travel are required to have the U-M travel abroad health insurance, and to register their travel in the U-M Travel Registry.

All students from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses are required to secure U-M travel abroad health insurance whenever traveling for university-related study, research, business, internships, work, performances, athletic competitions or service activities outside the United States.

Faculty and staff traveling on university-related business are automatically covered by blanket travel abroad health insurance and evacuation plans that are provided by U-M at no cost to the individual or department.

Students, faculty and staff also are encouraged to register personal travel abroad, to help the university contact them in case of emergency situations that may arise.

Coyne says the university vividly saw the value of the travel insurance in January 2011 when violent protests erupted in Cairo, Egypt. Several U-M students studying there were evacuated and the cost of their return to the U.S. was covered by the travel abroad health insurance.