UAB International Travel

Planning an international trip? Review the resources available to make your trip safer and less costly.

Safety Information & Resources

The University of Alabama Systems (UAS) International Travel Assistance Program is a great resource for anyone traveling internationally. The robust program helps protect and assist our international travelers engaged in Educational Travel and Business Travel abroad. The UAS recommends:

1. First, register your travel plans with your individual campus.

2. To receive destination alerts and access important medical and security information, download the International SOS Assistance App to your smartphone and carry your International SOS membership card with you at all times. For more information, visit their website here.

3. For any travel bookings made outside of your campus international travel offices or agent, please forward your trip confirmation emails (flight details, hotel reservation, etc.) to International SOS and your trip details will be processed into our system. No Subject or other information is required. You should receive a confirmation email. Please forward any changes or updates to the same address.

What to Do in an Emergency?

In a medical emergency or an immediate safety/security threat, first seek help from local authorities. Then contact the 24/7 ISOS Travel Assistance Provider for expert guidance for your specific situation.

• You can also use the “blue button” on the ISOS app or call International SOS – 1-215-942-8478

• ISOS Membership Number: 11BCAM831609 internationalsos.com

Cell Phone Use When Traveling Internationally

Whether your cell phone runs off of the UAB Corporate Contract or not, it is important to evaluate what cellular services you will need while you are traveling internationally. Every country has different rules about what cellular service providers they acknowledge and how secure data is transmitted. If your device is not properly configured to the locations you are visiting, this could mean a very large bill will be waiting for you when you return.

Also, similar to how credit card companies combat fraudulent charges, cellular service providers may even disable your phone while you are abroad if they see unusual usage.

If you are not under the UAB Corporate Contract:

Contact Your Cellular Service Provider One Week in Advance

Always contact your cellular service provider at least a week before your trip. Make a list of how you intend to use your phone/device while away and your service provider should be able to find a solution that meets your needs. Don’t forget to discuss any smartphone features like hotspots, streaming, data, etc. Your provider should be able to verify whether international travel to your destination(s) is included in your current plan or whether roaming will be available in the area.

If you are under the UAB Corporate Contract:

Contact Ed Ramsey One Week in Advance

• Ed Ramsey can be reached at eramsey@uab.edu or (205) 934-1527. Provide him with the dates of your travel, where you will be going, and what services you need. This will allow him to help craft the best plan for you.

UAB does not credit charges accrued during international travel when the process is not adhered to. In an emergency travel situation where one week of time is not possible, please contact him as soon as possible- even if you have already left the country. In this situation, he can provision the device and stop the stream of excessive charges.

Although he cannot adjust your service plan, unless you are on the UAB Corporate Contract, Ramsey cautions users on the risk of traveling without coverage, “Never assume, check. It can cost you a lot of money.”

Additional Cell Phone Use Tips and Tricks

1. When in doubt, set “roaming” to off and use your Wi-Fi. Although, perhaps not the most reliable, this may spare your piggy bank.

2. Don’t ignore alerts. Often times, cellular service providers will text you alerts if you are approaching your data limit on an international plan. Do not ignore these. Adjust your habits or call your provider to increase your plan.

3. Most plans do not support a hotspot while traveling internationally. Plan accordingly.

4. Do not join unsecure/untrusted Wi-Fi’s. This is a sure-fire way to get hacked and valuable information stolen.

5. When on a secure Wi-Fi, you can use messaging or call apps that require no data, such as the popular WhatsApp. You may want to pre-arrange with those you will be communicating with over these apps so that they can download the app and connect before your travels.

6. Cruise ships are tricky. Work with your provider and your cruise ship company to find the best plan aboard the ship and off. Don’t forget each port and country may have different rules and charges.