Faculty and Staff Travel Guide

This guide provides a summary for key travel guidance, available support services and processes, to identify, assess and control travel risk, including risks associated with COVID-19.

Interactive Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map

Last Updated: March 30
The Canadian Government has announced an official global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. Continue to visit the travel.gc.ca website for travel information from the Canadian government. UBC faculty and staff who are currently overseas should register with the Canadian government immediately.

Visit the covid19.ubc.ca website to review the latest UBC-specific information relating to COVID-19.

Planning Travel

All University business travel must be planned, booked and undertaken in accordance with the University’s employee travel policy. Decisions about travel are based upon the regularly updated Canadian Government Travel Advice and Advisories. Travellers must review and take into account travel advisories published by other countries for which the traveller hold citizenship or residency.
We recommend UBC-related travel be booked through either UBC’s online booking tool SAP-Concur or with an advisor at Direct Travel who also manage the SAP-Concur bookings.

  • Ensure your traveller profile information, including emails and mobile phone is up to date, click here to login
  • If you don’t have a profile click here to register. You will be sent a separate email to set your password
  • Any issues with access please contact UBC Travel Manager judith.fograscher@ubc.ca 604-822-5878
  • Consider purchasing air tickets which allow for changes and future ticket credit
  • Trip cancellation insurance is for the most part not covering COVID-19. Request confirmation from the insurance provider.

Travel to high-risk destinations per the CDN Government, level 3 (Avoid non-essential travel) and level 4 (Avoid all travel) should not be considered unless exceptional circumstances apply and the travel is supported by documented risk assessment, a communication and emergency plans and pre-approval from the traveller’s Dean or VP (depending on unit). Where travel bookings cannot be made by SAP-Concur or Direct Travel, travelers can still access support provided by iSOS.

Stay Informed

Given the dynamic nature of travel risks it is essential that travellers and their supervisors continue to monitor relevant information leading up to and during travel. Travellers and supervisors can best be kept informed by subscribing and reviewing for each travel destination (country/region/city).

  • CDN Government Travel Advice and Advisories
  • International SOS (ISOS), UBC’s travel security services company
  • Travel advisories published by other countries for which the traveller hold citizenship or residency
  • UBC’s HR Website: COVID-19  

Travellers with bookings made with SAP-Concur and/or Direct Travel will automatically be provided with:

  • Destination risk alerts, travel advisors and final destination Entry/Exit Visa requirements
  • Travel itinerary disruption alerts and updates from Direct Travel

Employees can download the following apps for real-time alerts via a mobile device and have access to the online booking tool 24/7. ISOS and SAP-Concur are for UBC-related travel

The Canadian Government offers an online registration tool for Canadians travelling abroad.
Additional information regarding COVID-19 may be found on the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO). Information specific to the UBC community can be found on covid19.ubc.ca.

Insurance (trip cancelation & medical)

Trip cancellation insurance: The University does not carry trip cancellation insurance. Employees who use their own UBC issued credit card will have trip interruption insurance (i.e. a delay +4hours) but not trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation insurance is only available through insurance providers and sold through Direct Travel.

Important update: Travel insurance providers are no longer covering cancellations due to COVID-19 on any new policies. 

Travel already booked to attend Conference/Meetings: Local authorities, host organizations and conference organizers may restrict or cancel events of mass gatherings of people in response to COVID-19. Travellers should monitor closely any local requirements and announcements form host organizations for any changes.

In the event of meeting/conference cancellation travellers must ensure:

  • they contact each travel provider before the scheduled air departure dates and hotel check-in date to minimize loss and request refund or future credit if available
  • or contract Direct Travel if the booking/s were made in SAP-Concur or with an advisor at Direct Travel
  • Airline and hotel vendors cancel policies are changing in COVID-19 affected areas, inquire with an advisor at Direct Travel for the latest information


UBC Extended Health Benefits for faculty and staff plan members while travelling for business or leisure:

  • Medical Assistance: Contact Sun Life's Out-of-Country emergency assistance provider, Allianz GlobalAssistance. Click here for complete instructions. Coverage cards with emergency contact and contract number details can be printed or downloaded to a mobile device from mysunlife.ca.

UBC Mental Health Supports while travelling for business or leisure:

  • UBC Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) – faculty and staff plan members and their dependents can contact Lifeworks by Morneau Shepell (24/7) at (1-800-387-4765 in North America)and (International destinations refer to their website country phone listings). Additional resources visit UBC HR
  • International SOS: Emotional support services available for all students, faculty and staff while travelling
Staying healthy while travelling

Travellers should include health considerations in their travel planning. Plan for travel vaccinations at least eight weeks prior to departure. Consider any pre-existing conditions, fitness for travel and medications that may be required whilst travelling. Other considerations include:

  • Travellers with pre-existing conditions should consult a GP or travel doctor for confirmation of fitness for travel.
  • Consult travel advisories for general advice about health and vaccinations.
  • Consult International SOS for a pre-departure assessment.
  • Travellers should reconsider travel plans if they are experiencing illness, especially symptoms of respiratory illness.
  • Travel may be restricted during health screening at borders and transit points at any time during a traveller’s journey .
  • Travellers should follow the advice of local authorities at their destination.
  • Travellers should also minimize the risks of exposure to infections by practicing good hand hygiene
  • Travellers should monitor their health closely. If symptoms develop (fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath), travellers should arrange to see a doctor for an urgent assessment. ISOS has 24/7support available to connect travellers with local English-speaking doctors and health services.
  • Travellers and supervisors should review and take into account CDN travel advisory published information.
Travel experience

Travellers should expect to experience additional health screening at borders, including during airport transits, which may result in delayed transit times. Travellers may also be subject to quarantine or self-isolation based on requirements of local authorities. This may occur as a result of immediate past travel destinations and/or current health conditions.

Travel restrictions may be applied or changed by local authorities at destinations at very short notice, and travellers may be refused entry or have a visa cancelled upon arrival. Airlines responding to local authorities and other changing circumstances may also cancel, reschedule or re-route at short notice.

Restrictions imposed by local authorities may prevent travellers from attending or participating in planned or scheduled activities.

Direct Travel provides 24/7 support and advice on airline restrictions and ticket cancellation policies for bookings made with them, or through SAP-Concur.

Access support

Direct Travel provides 24/7 support to travellers to re-route or change flights and can provide advice on changes to flight services and airline ticket cancellation policies, provided the original booking was made through them or SAP-Concur.

  • Contact psi.travel@dt.com or 604-637-1466 or 1-844-905-3824; after hours number and access codes are located on the travel e-ticket receipt.

International SOS provides bespoke risk advice specific to individual travellers and their travel itineraries. This service is at no cost to the traveller or department and can be requested by contacting ISOS.

Sun Life – Allianz Global Assistance If you experience a medical emergency while travelling outside of Canada and you are enrolled in the UBC Extended Health Plan, Allianz Global Assistance will refer you to medical help and in some circumstances, will arrange for payment of your medical emergency expenses to the provider directly.

The information in this guide has been compiled by the UBC Travel Program. If you need further information or have any questions, please contact the Travel Program Manager Judith Fograscher or call 604-822-5878.