Travel Policies and Expectations

All travel, whether local, regional, domestic or international carries some level of risk. The Office of New Student and Transition Programs has established a set of policies, expectations and guidelines to minimize and reduce that risk, while a student travels with their living-learning community.

Because traveling with a Sophomore Scholars or living-learning community is a University-sponsored event, students are required to adhere to the Standards of Student Conduct, as well as all policies within the Student Handbook, including the Sexual Misconduct Policy. In addition, students are required to follow the policies outlined below, as well as all local laws in the destination.

These policies are reviewed at the required trip pre-departure meeting that occurs, at least 10 days prior to travel with the community. Students are also encouraged to review the travel reminders prior to travel.

Last updated: August 1, 2023

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  • Alcohol

    Students must abide by the laws of the country in which they are traveling in.

    If a community is traveling to a country where alcohol is permitted to be consumed by adults over the age of 18, students may consume alcohol in that host country during unstructured (or free) time in the itinerary. A student should not miss (or arrive late to) any scheduled events, become ill due to the effects of alcohol, act inappropriately or violate any local laws due to alcohol use. Further, students, under the age of 21, are not permitted to bring alcohol back with them into the United States or back to campus, as that would violate the University’s Alcohol Policy.

  • Baggage

    The New Student and Transition Programs Office does not pay for any baggage fees for students on trips, whether traveling domestically or internationally. Students are encouraged to pack lightly.

    Carry-On Luggage

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations state that carry-on luggage may not exceed 22" x 14" x 9". Each airline can also limit the size or weight of carry-on luggage.

    Specific airline carry-on baggage policies:

    Checked Luggage

    For students traveling internationally, passengers are permitted to check one bag. Students are reminded that their bag cannot exceed 50 lbs. Students should also check with the individual airline that they are traveling on for airline-specific requirements.

    Lost Luggage

    If an airline loses a student’s luggage while traveling, the faculty or staff trip leader will assist the student in filing a report with the airline. The NSTP Office can offer the student a loan to replace clothing or items that were lost; the student is expected to repay that loan prior to the end of the academic year.

    If a student loses their luggage while traveling, the Office of Living-Learning Programs can offer the student a loan to replace clothing or items that were lost; the student is expected to repay that loan prior to the end of the academic year.

    Bringing Souvenirs Back to Campus

    Students should be aware of University policy regarding items that are prohibited in University housing and not bring those items back to campus with them.

  • Behavior and Conduct

    In addition to students adhering to the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook, students traveling with a Sophomore Scholars or living-learning community are expected to:

    • Be on time, with a positive attitude and ready to depart/engage for all items listed on the itinerary or when the faculty and/or staff trip leader give verbal instructions
    • Be respectful, at all times, to the trip leaders, peers in the community, and any local hosts that the community works with while traveling
    • Be attentive when in the group and with any local hosts, including asking appropriate questions

    If a student has a Conduct Probation status, at the time of travel, they may not be permitted to travel with the community, or may be required to sign a behavior contract; the director of living-learning programs will contact students in that situation

  • Cell Phones

    Cell Phones are not required on any community trip. Students should keep a copy of the itinerary with them and if they become separated, they should be at the next scheduled event. Students should never be by themselves and always with someone else in the community, at all times (see Safety for more details).

    The NSTP Office does not reimburse students or pay for any international cell phone plans or charges. A student may always ask to use the cell phone of the faculty and/or staff trip leader, if they need to make a phone call.

  • Clothing and Attire

    While there are no "specific dress code" required to travel with a Sophomore Scholars or living-learning community, weather appropriate and modest dress is expected. Many regions or areas have cultural norms, regarding dress, that may vary from campus or what a student is familiar with. Some sites (e.g. religious sites) that students may visit may have dress codes, including requirements of long pants, covered arms or shoulders, etc. These will be discussed at the trip pre-departure meeting that occurs.

    Students should also review the packing reminders prior to travel.

  • Disabilities and Accommodations

    If a student has a need for an accommodation or a physical restriction that may impact their travel, they are encouraged to discuss that with the director or assistant director of living-learning programs so that proper accommodations can be made in the planning of the trip and itinerary.

  • Drugs

    The use of illegal drugs while traveling with a living-learning or Sophomore Scholars community is strictly prohibited, at any time, no matter the local laws of the host country. Violating this policy will result in a student’s removal from the trip and referral to their respective coordinate college Dean.

  • Flight or Itinerary Deviation

    The NSTP Office is responsible for all aspects of the trip, listed on the itinerary, from the time a community leaves campus to their return to campus. Students are not permitted to deviate from the itinerary, without prior approval from the Associate or Assistant Director of NSTP.

    Depending on the travel plans of the student or the time of year the trip occurs, a student may deviate from the itinerary to meet the group at the airport, along the travel route or at the destination. Such deviations are not covered or paid for by the NSTP Office and are the financial responsibility of the student. The University is also not liable for independent travel or deviation.

    A student must notify the NSTP Office, at least 45 days prior, of such a deviation.

  • Hotels and Accommodations

    Room Charges

    The NSTP Office pays for all hotel or accommodation charges for students while traveling with the community. The Office will not pay for mini-bar, room service, pay-per-view movies or other charges that can be charged to the room—students are able to make those charges, depending on the accommodation, but are responsible for settling the bill upon check-out.


    The NSTP Office does not pay for Internet access for students while traveling, if the hotel charges for Internet access. There are usually many cafes, restaurants or other public areas that have free WIFI or Internet access.


    The NSTP Office only reserves accommodations at reputable, safe, and clean hotels for students while traveling. The maximum occupancy of a hotel room will not be exceeded; however students may have to share a bed with another member of the community. Room assignments vary by community.

  • Items Paid for by the New Student and Transition Programs Office

    The NSTP Office commits to students not paying for the experiential learning components of the community. While traveling, this includes:

    • Accommodations (see Hotels and Accommodations for more details)
    • Meals (see Meals for more details)
    • Transportation costs, including airfare, train, bus, van or other charges (see Baggage for more details)
    • Any destinations listed as required on the itinerary that charge money. This includes, but is not limited to, museum entrance fees, tours, performances, etc.

    The NSTP Office does not cover the following expenses of students traveling:

    • Alcohol
    • Any destination not listed on the itinerary
    • Souvenirs

    If a student has a financial hardship and concerned about participating in unstructured (free) time events that the community plans themselves, they are encouraged to speak to the Associate or Assistant Director of NSTP.

  • Meals

    In an effort for the travel experience to be cost-free to students, all meals are covered by the NSTP Office.

    The NSTP Office organizes group meals for many of the meals that the community has during the travel experience. All organized group meals listed on the itinerary are required for students to attend. The NSTP Office works to accommodate specific dietary requirements or preferences, and students are encouraged to contact the office with those requests.

    In instances where no group meal is organized on the itinerary, students will be given a per diem (cash) for those meals. Students are required to sign an accounting form stating that they received the per diem and the amount received. The amount varies by the city/region/country where the community is traveling. The per diem is not meant to be spent on alcohol, souvenirs or other items—it is intended to cover a student’s meals that are not eaten as a group.

    Per Diems Rates for 2023-24

    Breakfast Lunch Dinner
    In airports $10 $10 $15
    United States and Canada $10 $15 $25
    United Kingdom £10 £15 £20
    Germany and Portugal €10 €15 €20
  • Medical Issues, Illness

    If a student becomes ill or has a medical issue while traveling with a living-learning or Sophomore Scholars community, they are required to notify the faculty and/or staff trip leader. Travel illnesses are taken seriously and can quickly escalate, so trip leaders are very attentive to illness and/or medical issues. If a student feels that they need to seek medical attention, their first step should be to speak to the faculty and/or staff trip leader.

    Health Insurance

    The NSTP Office purchases, at no cost to the student, comprehensive international travel and health insurance for the duration of the trip. Students will receive the international insurance card prior to travel. This insurance provides health coverage, traveler assistance, lost luggage, emergency prescriptions and medical evacuation. Students are given a health insurance card before leaving campus and are encouraged to carry that card with them, at all times, while traveling. The faculty and/or staff trip leaders also have a copy of each student’s insurance card.

    Required Immunizations

    The NSTP Office will notify students of any recommended or required immunizations for the travel destination, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The NSTP Office does not cover the expense of immunizations. If a student is in a financial hardship, they should contact the director of living-learning programs and accommodations may be able to be made.

    Please note: the Student Health Center does not provide travel immunizations.

  • Passports and Visas

    Students traveling internationally are required to possess a valid passport (and any applicable visas) in order to travel. They are required to complete the Passport/Visa Information Form, no later than 30 days prior to travel.

    Students who do not have a passport or who possess an expired passport, need to complete and submit their application no later than September 1, 2023. Students who require a visa for travel, need to complete and submit their application, to the respective embassy, no later than 90 days prior to travel.

    The NSTP Office will reimburse students for the following expenses, related to passports and visas:

    • Passport application and renewal fees: Maximum $145 USD
    • Visa application fees: Application fee only

    Students must submit receipts for reimbursement within 60 days of the receipt date to Kay MacDonald in the NSTP Office (located in the Boatwright Admin Wing, suite 01).

    The following expenses related to passports and visas are NOT reimbursed, unless the students has a financial hardship and it has been approved by the Director of Living-Learning Programs:

    • Expenses with receipts older than 60 days
    • Any shipping, postage, mailing, courier and/or express mail fees
    • Expedited passport and/or visa application processing fees
    • Photos for passports, visas, residence permits, etc.
    • Vaccinations, medication, and/or medical exams required for visa applications
    • Travel expenses related to obtaining a visa
  • Photo and Video Release

    The NSTP Office takes many photos and videos of students and the community while traveling. These photos are used for the University website, as well as on the Living-Learning Flickr site.

    During the trip pre-departure meeting, students are given a choice to sign a University photo release form. The release form states:

    "I authorize the University of Richmond to copyright and publish all photographs, video footage, or audio recordings in print or electronic format in which I may appear or speak that are taken by or for the University. I agree that the University may use, edit or reproduce such photographs, video footage, or audio recordings or share them with others for any purpose related to the promotion of the University and its related programs and activities. I release all claims against the University of Richmond and others with respect to the copyright, publication or use of such photographs, video footage, or audio recordings, including any claim for compensation related to their use."

  • Pre-Departure Meeting

    Students are required to attend a trip pre-departure meeting in order to travel with their community. This meeting usually occurs during class, however if a student is missing from that meeting, they are required to contact the Associate or Assistant Director of NSTP and schedule a meeting to hear the information. No student will be permitted to travel, if they do not attend a pre-departure meeting.

  • Required Forms and Request for Information

    All communities, regardless of where they travel, must complete the following forms by the deadline:

    • Informed Consent for Off-Campus Experiences (completed in BannerWeb and required for class registration)
    • Emergency Contact Information Form (to be completed no later than 30 days prior to travel)

    Communities that are traveling internationally, also have the following forms to complete by the deadline:

    Students traveling internationally also responsible for:

    • Obtaining any necessary travel documents (e.g. passport, visa, etc.)
      • Students who do not have a passport or who possess an expired passport, need to complete and submit their application no later than September 1 each year.
      • Students who require a visa for travel, need to complete and submit their application no later than 90 days prior to travel
      • The NSTP Office will provide students who require visas with supporting documentation (e.g. financial statements, itinerary, support letter)
    • Ensuring that all travel documents are valid, current, and do not expire prior to travel dates
  • Safety

    The NSTP Office takes a student’s safety as its highest priority while organizing and offering these travel experiences. During the trip pre-departure meeting, safety issues are discussed with the community, specific to the city/region/country they are traveling.

    On all living-learning and Sophomore Scholars sponsored trips, students are not permitted to be by themselves—they must always be with someone else in the group. This includes staying with the group while on structured (scheduled) events on the itinerary, as well as during unstructured (free) time that the community may have. A student that chooses to violate this policy, is subject to their removal from the trip by the faculty and/or staff trip leader.

    Students should avoid high risk activities, including street demonstrations.

    All international travel is registered with the United States Department of State by the NSTP Office. This makes the group’s presence and whereabouts known in the host country, in case it is necessary for a consular officer to contact a student or the group in case of emergency or a natural disaster.

    Students should also review the travel reminders about safety.