Making Travel Arrangements and Booking Travel

Traveler’s Fiduciary Responsibility

Individuals traveling on behalf of the University should exercise good judgment with respect to incurring travel expenses and are expected to spend the University’s funds prudently. Travel related expenses will be paid by the University if they are deemed to be reasonable, appropriately documented, properly authorized and within the guidelines of these policies. It is the responsibility of the traveler to comply with the University’s policies governing travel. Travelers using Federal Grant funds are required to fly on US flag air carriers as stated in the Fly America Act.

For more information, please review VCU's Business Travel Policy

Mandatory Travel Agency Contract

VCU faculty and staff are required to book air and rail tickets for official business using university funds through Christopherson Business Travel’s online booking tool (OBT), or via one of the travel agents assigned to VCU. University support was garnered for the mandatory-use of the Travel Management contract for all airline and rail tickets to assist in establishing a comprehensive duty of care program. Business travelers are encouraged to utilize Christopherson Business Travel for all business related travel to receive the benefits associated with VCU’s managed travel program.

View more information about booking your travel

Passports, Visas and Immunizations

Before you travel abroad as a university employee, please consider the following:

 

Immunizations

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to determine if you require any immunizations

Destination-specific Travel Safety & Security

ASIRT Association for Safe International Road Travel

Learn about your destination and register in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

Export Control Regulations

Export Control Regulations are administered by the Departments of State, Commerce, and Treasury. These regulations control everything from encryption technology on your computer to financial transactions with certain foreign parties or governments.

The Export Control Office (ECO), part of the Office of Research and Innovation, supports the University’s travelers and can answer your questions concerning these regulations.

The Export Control Office mitigates non-compliance risk by screening foreign parties with whom the University conducts business. ECO relies on travelers to tell us the names and locations of foreign universities or vendors with whom they plan to do business on behalf of the University.

ECO tracks travel and will, from time to time, reach out to travelers asking the purpose of their travel. We do this because we need to have an idea of the business you plan to conduct for the University so that we can develop an Export Compliance Plan for you.

In Summary: If you plan to travel, know the purpose of your travel, what technology/research data you need to take with you, and some basic information on the parties you plan to do business with. The sooner you notify ECO the sooner we can get a plan in place for you.

What can you take with you?

Most items considered “tools of the trade” will be exempt from Export Control Regulations because of something called the Temporary Export Certification (TMP) Exceptions. The TMP exception can apply if the item/device is something usually used by an individual in your profession (includes laptops). You can either fill out the TMP Exception Form or contact us if you need further guidance (exportctrl@vcu.edu).

ECO and VCU’s Technology Services have established a Travel Laptop Program. The purpose of the program is to provide travelers with a pre-configured laptop with the appropriate software that is also clear of any past research data. This program is currently in the pilot stage.

If you want further information contact the ECO at exportctrl@vcu.edu or visit our Export Control webpage and remember to read our Export Compliance Policy.

Other resources

Consider export control issues

Prepare for technology security concerns

Insurance Coverage

For all Faculty and Staff:

The liability insurance afforded the university by the state covers faculty, staff and students while performing authorized activities on behalf of the university in foreign countries. It covers third-party liability for claims for bodily injury and/or property damage and professional liability. The State’s Auto Liability is excess over any valid and collectible Primary Auto Liability Insurance provided by a rental car company. Always purchase the insurance offered by a rental car company when in a foreign country.

Health insurance 

General information

 

For Study Abroad Program Directors concerning Liability Insurance Coverage:

Faculty members who are program directors for study abroad and have complied with all of the VCU Office of Education Abroad, Global Education requirements for such programs are afforded the same liability coverage in a foreign country as they would have on campus. Faculty members are covered by the liability insurance administered by the state Division of Risk Management for acts arising within the scope of their employment (meaning those acts undertaken as part of their jobs in furtherance of the educational objectives of the university, as opposed to their strictly personal conduct). Acts outside the scope of employment, or criminal in nature, are not covered.

Emergency Evacuation Coverage

AIG Travel Assist provides emergency medical, natural disaster, and political evacuation services for those who travel on VCU and VCU Health System business outside of the United States. If you suffer a serious injury or sickness while traveling on university business, AIG Travel Assist will coordinate your medically necessary emergency evacuation. AIG Travel Assist will also coordinate your emergency evacuation in the event of a natural disaster or political unrest when warranted by conditions in the host country. You will be covered for up to 365 consecutive days of authorized travel.

Additional services available through AIG Travel Assist include:

  • Travel Medical Assistance*
  • Worldwide Travel Assistance
  • Security Assistance Services
  • Identity Theft Assistance

* Note: AIG Travel Assist provides medically necessary evacuation services and other medical related assistance services, but is not travel health insurance. VCU travelers are responsible for their personal healthcare coverage both at home and when traveling abroad.   

Employees, students, and other authorized travelers of VCU and the VCU Health System who are traveling abroad on an authorized trip should bring with them an AIG Travel Assist brochure which outlines AIG Travel Assist services, or the AIG Travel Assist ID Card. Both include the following contact information:

Toll-Free/Free Phone (within the U.S.): 1-877-244-6871

Collect/Reverse Charge (outside the U.S.): +1-715-346-0859

Email: travelassist@aigbenefits.com 

Contact in the event of: 
• Emergencies 
• Eligibility verification 
• Doctor referrals 
• Medical evaluations 
• Repatriation of remains 
• Benefit plan information and payments 
• Assistance services

AIG Travel Assist brochure
AIG Travel Assist ID Card

Auto insurance coverage

When leasing a vehicle in a foreign country, you MUST purchase the collision damage waiver and liability coverage from the leasing company. Coverage will facilitate the handling of your claim and the purchase is a reimbursable travel expense. The collision damage waiver and liability protection offered by foreign leasing companies are the only optional coverages that will be reimbursed. The Office of Procurement Services offers more information regarding rental vehicles.

Note: Coverage for vehicles leased in the United States or U.S. Territories and possessions is provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Division of Risk Management. Therefore, when leasing a vehicle in the United States or a U.S. territory, the only optional coverage that is considered a reimbursable expense is the collision damage waiver associated with Enterprise/National account number XZ21184.

General recommendations for travelers before departure
  • Bring a minimum number of devices with you while traveling.

  • Back up your device before traveling; should your device be lost or stolen, your data will be stored safely elsewhere.

  • Use a password, passcode, or passphrase on your device, but do not store it with your device.

  • Set screen locks so that devices automatically lock following certain periods of inactivity.

  • Update your computer software, antivirus, and firewall before you leave.

  • Use encryption to protect all personal, confidential information on your devices before you leave.

  • Avoid bringing sensitive information such as your research intellectual property with you, if possible. If the information is needed on your trip, use encryption to protect it.

  • Consult with your IT support personnel for any additional tips before leaving.