Planning a trip

Check the table for steps you need to take when planning your trip, and refer to the details given below. 


  Step UK travel Travel abroad


Obtain department approval Not applicable  Required
2 Read country guidance Not applicable  Required
3 Check health advice Not applicable  Required
4 Complete risk assessment  Required for fieldwork  Required
5 Fieldwork safety and training  Required for fieldwork  Required for fieldwork
6 Arrange travel insurance  Required for high risk activities


7 Check expenses allowances and advances  Required  Required

Obtain department approval

Travel outside the UK must be authorised by the appropriate authority within your department, for example the Head of Department or equivalent. The normal departmental travel processes should be followed in this respect.

You should discuss any pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities that may affect your ability to travel with your department. This will allow your department enough time to give you the relevant advice and support.


Country guidance

Check in good time if

  • it is safe to travel - see the government’s latest foreign travel advice
  • there are any information security concerns - check the University's advice on protecting your data and devices
  • you are travelling to a known high risk area: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, any territories where there are current cases of Ebola
  • you are travelling to a country where trade restrictions have been imposed: Crimea (Ukraine), Cuba, Syria, North Korea, Sudan and South Sudan

If you are planning to travel to any of these countries please contact the Insurance team as soon as possible at

Read more detailed information about travel insurance referrals.


Check the government’s latest foreign travel advice for entry visa requirements for the countries you’re travelling to.

If you’re a sponsored migrant worker you should contact the Staff Immigration team for advice about travelling outside the UK for University business.


Check travel health advice

The Occupational Health Service (OHS) provides a travel clinic for health advice, vaccinations, and some antimalarial drugs. This applies to travel for University-related business only.

Contact OHS as soon as you know you will be travelling overseas for work, since some vaccine schedules require up to 3 months to gain adequate immunity.

You will need to complete a travel health assessment form and send it to OHS.

OHS will assess your trip based on the information you provide and may offer you an appointment and/or advice if required.

Read more detailed information about travel health.


Complete a risk assessment

Your department must carry out a risk assessment for each trip, regardless of whether you are travelling within the UK or overseas.

If you are travelling overseas you will need to complete a risk assessment before you apply for travel insurance. The level of detail required depends on the risk involved.


For low risk activities, for example visiting conferences in Europe or North America, no written risk assessment is needed. In such a case, registering the trip via the Travel Insurance Application and Travel Registration (TIRS) system would be sufficient.


For other types of travel, for example if it includes fieldwork or travel to higher risk areas, a documented risk assessment is necessary. It is the department’s responsibility to ensure this is done in line with the University’s overseas travel policy.


You may be travelling to a country or parts of a country where the government advises against all travel or all but essential travel. In these cases, your department must submit a detailed written
risk assessment to the University’s Safety Office.

Submit your risk assessment as early as possible to allow time for the Safety Office to gather more information if necessary.


Fieldwork safety and training

If your trip includes fieldwork you must read and follow the University’s health and safety policy on fieldwork.

You should also attend any relevant fieldwork safety training courses. The Safety Office runs several courses.


Arrange travel insurance

The University provides travel insurance for University employees, students and volunteers, travelling within the UK or worldwide on University business.

Cover is not automatic, and you need to apply. Your trip must be approved by your department before you make an application.

You may also need to

  • check the government’s latest foreign travel advice to make sure it’s safe to travel
  • submit a full written risk assessment with your application if your trip involves fieldwork or travel to a high risk country
  • contact the Insurance Team in advance if you are travelling to a high risk country to arrange additional cover - these ‘referrals’ can take up to six weeks to process
  • contact the Insurance Team in advance to arrange additional cover if your trip involves high risk activities, or if you are over 75


EHIC card

If you are travelling in the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). EHIC gives you the right
to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in those countries.

EHIC doesn’t replace travel insurance.

Travel and contents insurance

The University’s contents insurance cover extends worldwide for any item being taken abroad for business purposes and which will remain in the custody and control of the University.

You will need to contact the Insurance Team if you are taking items valued in excess of £100,000 abroad.



Check your expenses allowances in the following sections of the Expenses guide on the Finance Division website:


Expense advances

Travel expenses are usually paid in arrears. However, under certain circumstances you may qualify for advance payment of your expenses.

To request an advance payment you will need to complete a form explaining why you are eligible.

Before submitting this form you will need to

  • complete a risk assessment for overseas work
  • arrange appropriate travel insurance cover

You must give at least 5 working days’ notice if you require cash in foreign currencies or a pre-paid travel card.