Safety and Security Topics

The information and recommendations on this page come from professional sources such as the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, International SOS, and others.  The International Center Risk and Safety Office aims to provide travelers with a summary of items of interest and links to the appropriate sources for detailed information.

The information on this page may change without notice

Carnival and Mardi Gras

02/04/2015

Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated in many countries. Some of the most popular celebrations take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Nice, France; Venice, Italy; Cologne, Germany; Quebec, Canada; Trinidad and Tobago; and in the United States in New Orleans and Louisiana. The dates in which the celebrations occur vary by location. The most common dates are from Friday before Lent (Ash Wednesday) through Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

See below the anticipated celebration dates for the next three years.

  • 2015 Friday, February 13, through Tuesday, February 17
  • 2016 Friday, February 5, through Tuesday, February 9
  • 2017 Friday, February 24, through Tuesday, February 28

If you will travel to celebrate Carnival and Mardi Gras, consider the following recommendations from the U.S. Department of State, the CDC and the International Center Risk and Safety Office.

Research your destination

  • The U.S. Department of State Learn About Your Destination webpage offers information on crime and security , health and medical considerations, drug penalties, localized hot spots and more.
  • Determine if you need a visa for your destination.
    • U.S. Citizens can rely on the country’s quick facts found at the Learn About Your Destination webpage and if needed, contact the embassy directly for information on how to apply for a visa.
    • Non-U.S. Citizens can explore whether they will need a visa by contacting the country’s embassy or consulate directly.
  • Monitor Travel Alerts and Warnings regularly for your destination.

Health

  • Talk to your doctor about vaccines and medicines recommended for your destination.
  • Verify you have overseas medical insurance and repatriation / evacuation insurance.   If you are traveling on University business or an Education Abroad program, check the ICRSO International Travel Best Practices webpage for insurance information.

Get ready to go

  • If you are traveling on University business or an Education Abroad program, follow the International Travel Best Practices to obtain appropriate institutional authorization, insurance and safety network through registration of your itinerary with International SOS.
  • Expect significant travel congestion. Many people are traveling during this time.
  • Make photocopies of your itinerary and travel documents to take with you, including your passport, visa, itinerary, hotel confirmation, airline ticket, driver’s license and credit cards.
  • Leave with your emergency contact copies of your itinerary and travel documents, and leave at home or in another secure place credit cards you will not use.
  • Notify your home country embassy or consulate at your destination of your trip. U.S. Citizens can notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • If you are traveling on behalf of the University and are carrying electronic devices, review the Export Control regulations and be prepared to show the signed B16-EXC form when required.
  • Pack Smart. Pack light, make sure you are not carrying banned items or substances, and have vital documents within reach.
  • Pack a travel health kit.

During your trip

  • Be transportation smart. Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
  • Follow safety and security guidelines. Check the Safety and Security section of the U.S. Department of State Country Information webpage for your destination.
  • Follow food and water safety guidelines. Visit the CDC Food and Water Safety page.
  • Follow guidelines for hot climates. Visit the CDC Travel to Hot Climates and Sun Exposure pages.
  • Reduce exposure to illness. Check the Stay Healthy and Safe section at the CDC webpage for your destination.
  • Reduce your risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Read more about how to prevent these conditions by visiting the CDC Traveler STD page.
  • If you feel sick and are traveling on University business or an Education Abroad program, contact ISOS for assistance. You may also check the CDC get medical assistance webpage.
  • Prevent mosquito bites. Visit the CDC Avoid Bug Bites page.

After your trip

  • The CDC’s getting sick after travel webpage lists some of the common health issues travelers might experience after returning home.
  • If you feel sick, check with your doctor.

Lunar New Year

01/21/2015

Lunar New Year is a traditional holiday celebrated in China and other East Asian countries.  The  Lunar New Year celebration is known as well as the Spring Festival.  It traditionally runs from Lunar New Year’s Eve through the Lantern Festival, for a period of approximately 14 days.  See below the anticipated celebration dates for the next three years.

  • 2015 Spring Festival – February 19 through March 5.  Year of the Goat.
  • 2016 Spring Festival – February 8 through February 22.  Year of the Monkey.
  • 2017 Spring Festival – January 28 through February 11.  Year of the Rooster.

If you will travel to celebrate the Lunar New Year, consider the following recommendations from the U.S. Department of State, the CDC and the International Center Risk and Safety Office.

Research your destination

  • The U.S. Department of State Learn About Your Destination webpage offers information on crime and security , health and medical considerations, drug penalties, localized hot spots and more.
  • Determine if you need a visa for your destination. 
    • U.S. Citizens can rely on the country’s quick facts found at the Learn About Your Destination webpage and  if needed, contact the embassy directly for information on how to apply for a visa. 
    • Non-U.S. Citizens can explore whether they will need a visa by contacting the country’s embassy or consulate directly.
  • Monitor Travel Alerts and Warnings regularly for your destination.

Health

  • Talk to your doctor about vaccines and medicines recommended for your destination.
  • Verify you have overseas medical insurance and repatriation / evacuation insurance.   If you are traveling on University business or an Education Abroad program, check the ICRSO International Travel Best Practices webpage for insurance information.

Get ready to go

During your trip

  • Be transportation smart.  Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
  • Reduce exposure to illness.  Check the Stay Healthy and Safe section at the CDC webpage for your destination.
  • Prevent mosquito bites.  Visit the CDC Avoid Bug Bites page.
  • Follow food and water safety guidelines.  Visit the CDC Food and Water Safety page.
  • Avoid touching birds, pigs  and other animals.  Avoid farms and poultry markets.
  • If you feel sick and are traveling on University business or an Education Abroad program, contact ISOS for assistance. You may also check the CDC Get Medical Assistance webpage.

After your trip

  • The CDC Getting Sick After Travel webpage lists some of the common health issues travelers might experience after returning home.
  • If you feel sick, check with your doctor.

Food and Water Safety

01/14/2015

Traveling to a foreign country may imply meeting different food and safety conditions.  Travelers may be exposed to diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis A, typhoid and other diseases.  By enhancing usual precautions travelers can avoid unnecessary illnesses.  The CDC offers the following resources:

Insects and Diseases

12/19/2014

Travelers may be exposed to insect borne diseases at their destination.  Some of the diseases can be very debilitating and painful, which is not the way a traveler wants to experience their trip.   Read below to find some of the most common insects to be aware of and best practices to protect yourself from mosquitoes, ticks and arthropods.

The CDC lists some of the following diseases and insects related to them:

The CDC has a very comprehensive webpage on best practices to protect yourself against Mosquitoes, Ticks and Other Insects & Arthropods.  Check it for essential details and recommendations.  Below, find a brief summary of the precautions recommended.

  • Avoid outbreaks. For updates on current outbreaks go to: www.cdc.gov/travel.
  • Be aware of peak exposure times and places. Local health officials or guides may be able to point out these out.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Minimize areas of exposed skin.
  • Check for ticks. Inspect yourself and your clothing for ticks during an outdoor activity and at the end of the day.
  • Bed nets. When accommodations are not adequately screened or air conditioned, use  a bed net.
  • Insecticides and spatial repellents. Bring your own and use with caution.

Demonstrations

12/15/2014

Demonstrations will occur many times when people want to make a point, protest against an injustice or call for change.  There is never a guarantee a demonstration will not turn violent. 

UT Dallas travelers on University business or Education Abroad programs are not allowed to participate in demonstrations.  Sometimes the host country will have laws that prohibit non-citizens from participating in protests. 

To avoid getting caught in a demonstration, be in touch with current events at  your location:

  • Download the Assistance App from International SOS.  This free application will  provide you with security alerts for the location you are in, including what areas to avoid.
  • Use the local media to keep informed of news and current events.
  • Talk to your local contacts about current events in the city.

If suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a demonstration, these are some of the things you can do to stay safe:

  • Remain calm.
  • Don’t get involved.
  • Avoid confrontation.
  • Keep aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep  your friends and colleagues close.
  • Search for shelter or a way out of the site of the demonstration.