The following is a list of resources and general advice to support graduate students planning international travel and research.

Students are encouraged to consult with their faculty advisors, deans of students, department administrators, and research and safety professionals within their home division or school with field-specific questions and for additional support and resources.

Students may also contact Amanda Young, Director of Graduate Student Affairs in UChicagoGRAD, at with any questions or concerns.


Funding and Application Support

UChicagoGRAD Fellowship Advising: Students seeking financial support for international research are encouraged to consult with a UChicagoGRAD Fellowships Advisor. Fellowship advisors are available for individual advising appointments and can review application materials.


If you are applying for grant funding to support your research, you will likely be asked for estimates for travel expenses. Even if you are not applying for a grant, budgeting will help you know what to expect. Creating a spreadsheet for tracking expenses can be helpful.

Airfare and Lodging

  • It’s best to use trustworthy websites (e.g., airline and hotel websites or known travel aggregator platforms) and to make your initial estimates based on the average price for your itinerary.
  • If you are applying for federal funds to support international research (e.g., NSF DDRIG), you will need to comply with the Fly America Act, which requires travelers using federal funds to fly U.S. carriers when available.
  • When providing estimates for grant purposes, you should be able to document when and where you found the quotes you are using. An easy way to do this is to take a screenshot and note the date in the file title.

Ground Transportation

  • For ground transportation, include estimates for all modes of transportation that you will be using, including: transport to and from the airport (both in the U.S. and at your destination); trains, ferries, or any other transport to reach your field site if not located in your arrival city; and buses, metro, bike rentals, etc. for daily travel in-country.

Meals and Incidentals

  • It’s important to estimate meal and incidental expenses. An easy way to estimate these costs is by using federal government rates:
    • U. S. State Department Foreign Per Diem Rates are searchable by country and city. The State Department provides maximum lodging rates, as well as Meal & Incidental Expense (M&IE) rates, for U.S. officials who are working overseas.
    • When in doubt, ask your adviser or fellow students who have worked at or near your field site about average daily costs.

Related Travel Expenses and Research Expenses

  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Medical insurance that covers you while abroad (if needed)
  • Research materials and equipment
  • Research assistants and/or participant incentives (i.e., individuals you need to pay in-country)

Safety Planning and Destination Research

UChicagoTraveler: All international travel related to official university programs, events, or activities, and/or supported with University resources should be registered on UChicago Traveler. The registry allows the University to better assist students overseas, including in emergencies or times of crisis.

International Travel Emergency Assistance Program: The University partners with International SOS (ISOS) to provide assistance services for students traveling internationally on University-sponsored travel. Please review the International Travel Emergency Assistance Program website for more information about ISOS services, resources, and restrictions.

Embassy Support: US Citizens and nationals are also encouraged to register travel with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which allows the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency. International students should contact their embassy to determine if similar services are offered.

State Department “Learn About Your Destination” page: provides country-specific information on health and safety, document requirements, and more

CIA World Factbook: provides country-specific foundational knowledge on history, culture, economy, and more

Medications, Immunization, and Other Health Considerations

Assessing Potential Fieldwork Hazards

For fieldwork in remote and/or hazardous locations, it’s important to develop a field safety plan. Taking the time to compile a thorough safety plan will prepare you to more effectively manage challenges that arise in the field.

The field safety plan should include:

  • Basic trip information, including dates of travel and contact information
  • Site information, including description of site, travel and site access, security, expected weather, procedures for low and high temperatures, drinking water availability, and access to shade/shelter
  • Emergency services, including local contacts, lodging, emergency communication plan, nearest emergency department, evacuation plans in the event of an emergency, and cell phone coverage
  • Physical/mentals demands
  • Travel immunizations
  • Activities, hazards, and mitigation, including description of activities, field transportation, tools and equipment, hazards, personal protective equipment, first aid training and supplies, and other hazard mitigation
  • Insurance information
  • Personal safety and security considerations

Research Considerations and Policies

Traveling with Technology

UChicago Information Technology Services (ITS) has developed tips for traveling with electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Topics include voice and data on your cell phone plan, connecting to the Virtual Private Network (VPN), and export controls on computers that have encryption software installed on them.

Data Security

International travel comes with data security risks.  Before you travel, please review both the general recommendations about data security from ITS as well as their specific recommendations for international travelers.

Research Involving Human Subjects

Research conducted by University investigators in foreign countries remains under University purview and guidelines, including Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and approval when applicable. If you plan to conduct research involving human subjects, consult the IRB review process well in advance.


International SOS: ISOS can connect you with local resources and assist with emergency relocation if appropriate. ISOS also offers tools for pre-trip destination research and safety planning.

Student Wellness provides options for 24/7 mental health support. These options remain available to students while away from campus.

Dean-on-Call Program: The Dean-on-Call is available 24/7 to provide support and referrals to students in the event of an emergency.

Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call:  The Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call is the University administrator specifically trained in trauma-informed 40+ Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention. This administrator is available 24/7.

U.S. Embassy: provides support during emergencies; website is searchable by country.