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Information about current travel alerts and warnings can be found at the U.S. Department of State.  Travel Alerts are posted to disseminate information about short-term conditions such as natural disasters, demonstrations or violence that pose significant risks to the security of U.S. citizens.  Travel Warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country.

Export Control

All Caltech personnel traveling on official university business are required to comply with the U.S. laws that regulate the transfer of items, information, technology, software and funds to destinations and persons outside of the U.S., as well as in some cases, to non-U.S. citizens at the university.  Traveling with certain types of high tech equipment including but not limited to advanced GPS units, scientific equipment, or with controlled, proprietary or unpublished data in any format may require an export license depending on your travel destination.Check with property management before transporting any equipment.

In the event Caltech travelers require judicial assistance for notarizing a document or other legal issues when traveling outside the U.S., the Department of State has put together information to assist you with the judicial process/procedure or locating an attorney.  Laws and procedures vary widely from country to country.  For more information, see Legal Considerations.

Safety Guidelines

Safety guidelines when traveling in the U.S or abroad:

  • Be on the offensive, rather than the defensive. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stick to well-traveled streets, and try to walk in groups at night
  • Have a cell phone on you for emergencies and don't forget to pack the charger.
  • Keep doors locked.
  • Don't carry valuables, even in a backpack or locked luggage.
  • Use the same precautions abroad that you would in any U.S. metropolitan area.
  • Become aware of cultural taboos in the countries you plan to visit.
  • A smile, eye contact, certain clothing, or the way you carry yourself can connote different meaning in other cultures.
  • There are restrictions on photography in certain countries.
  • Know the language or hire an interpreter.
  • If traveling foreign know the location of the nearest US embassy, make copies of your important documents, passport and identification and keep in a safe location



Consider renting or buying a cell phone to use while traveling if you do not already have one.  If traveling internationally, verify that the cell phone provides international coverage.  Additional options include purchasing a phone card or international calling card.

Internet access is fairly convenient when traveling in the U.S. or abroad for sending and receiving emails.  If you do not have access to email, hotels or cyber cafes provide computer facilities with internet access.

Emergency Contacts

Provide emergency contact information, flight itinerary or conference location with your family/friends and supervisor before leaving. Take a list of emergency resources with you while traveling, including contact information for family/friends or supervisor, the travel agency, airline, hotel, conference/meeting arranger, family doctor, insurance carrier and any other emergency contacts. If an emergency occurs while traveling internationally, call the U.S. State Department's Overseas Citizens Services at 888-407-4747 (from overseas call 202-501-4444).