Overseas trips and tours

If you are planning a trip or tour outside of the UK then special arrangements apply to ensure the activity is planned appropriately. There are guidelines and policies in place surrounding when proposals must be submitted to the Union regarding overseas activities. 

In this article we will cover:

Notification Policy

You must notify the Union if you are traveling abroad according to the Activity Registration policy discussed in the Activity registration page of this training.

General Travel Advice

Before you travel abroad check your destination with the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office to see if there are any travel advisories for your destination.

It is safer to travel in groups so avoid splitting into groups smaller than two or three people. Take the same precautions you would anywhere else - don’t drink to excess, make sure you have some way of staying in contact and be careful with your possessions.

Vaccinations and Health Checks

If you are traveling abroad you may need to have vaccinations. The vaccinations you need will be dependent on the area of the world you are visiting. The Imperial College Health Centre can advise you as to which vaccinations you will need. They can also help you carry out health checks for any tours with above normal physical demands.

Travel Insurance

It is absolutely essential that anyone travelling outside of the UK on a Club, Society or Project activity has suitable travel insurance for the country they are visiting. The Club, Society or Project Officer in charge of a trip should ensure that all participants are covered by suitable travel insurance, including search and rescue cover where appropriate. Organisers should check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s current travel advice before planning or embarking on an overseas trip.

College Travel Insurance

Some Club, Society or Project trips outside of the UK which are of a representational nature may be able to make use of the College’s Travel Insurance Policy. Project ventures which have been approved by the College’s Exploration Board or Student-led Projects Review Boards may also be able to use the College’s travel insurance.

Use of the College travel insurance is subject to regular change, so please do not assume you are automatically covered. If you wish to make use of the College policy please contact the Student Activities Manager well in advance of your trip.

For Club, Society & Project trips the excess for personal property claims (such as mobile phones, cameras, iPods etc.) is £100. Participants are advised to arrange independent cover for their personal possessions as they see fit.

Cancellation or Disruption

Trip and tour organisers need to be aware that insurance companies will be unlikely to respond to travel cancellation/ disruption claims arising from a cause “which existed or the possibility of which existed and for which advance warning had been given before the date on which the journey was booked”.

It is reasonably likely that volcanic ash disruption and airline strikes will fall within this exclusion category, please consider this in the planning of the venture. Trip and tour organisers are welcome to use whichever travel insurance provider they feel most suits their needs, but all participants going overseas must have suitable travel insurance for the activities being undertaken. Pay special attention to the benefits outlined in the policy detail and areas such as rescue cover and repatriation.

Generally there is a likelihood of foreseeable travel disruption over the summer months for various reasons. Given these circumstances trip and tour organisers may conclude that it would be prudent to avoid incurring nonrefundable expenditure until as close to departure date as is reasonably practicable. This will reduce the likelihood and severity of any cancellation or curtailment claim arising.

Trip and tour organisers are encouraged to look closely at the insurance policy they will be using for their trip or tour and make participants aware of the details of that policy should the need for a claim arise. Queries can be directed to the Student Activities Manager.


You must ensure that the equipment you are taking is suitable for the activities being undertaken. While your activity may have a standard set of essential equipment; e.g. rope, harness and protection for the mountaineering club, but you may need extra equipment. For example, if you are camping you will need different gear than if you are staying in a hostel and the time of year will dictate the type of clothing and safety equipment you need. This information should be given to your members as early as possible in case they need to acquire any items.

If you are travelling abroad make sure you are not carrying any prohibited items and check the restrictions on what can be carried on aircraft, both in the hold and as hand luggage. You should also make sure your airline has given you sufficient weight allowance for your equipment.

Driving overseas

Driving overseas may be a necessity for the activities which you are proposing to undertake. Be sure to check that the driving licences of those proposing to drive are valid for the country you are going to, and be sure to check the conditions of vehicle hire contracts. If you wish to take a Union minibus outside of the UK you can only use a vehicle with 9 seats due to differential driving regulations in Europe. Union vehicles cannot be taken beyond Europe. For more information about the Union’s vehicle fleet see the Minibuses training manual.

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