Travel insurance provides an excellent level of protection while on your trip, but it should not be the only level of protection you have. All of your students should be aware of safety procedures in case an emergency does occur – like a natural disaster, an unstable political environment, terrorist attack, or other similar event.
Have a student check in point.
You’ll want to do occasional check in’s with your students. Be sure they know the location of this check in point and show up there when expected. It’s also a good place to have students report to in case there is an emergency that requires safety measures. They will know the way there and you can ensure that all of them are safe.
Know the location of the embassy or consulate.
If an emergency situation occurs and your students can’t make it to the check point, your next step should be meeting at the closest embassy or consulate. Tell your students, even show them, where the building is so they can get there quickly if need be.
Have students carry emergency numbers.
Not every emergency involves the need to get out of a host country quickly. Your students would fare well if they carry emergency numbers (including yours) on them throughout the trip. 911 most likely does not work where you are traveling, especially overseas, and they should understand that.
Register your trip with the embassy or consulate.
If a natural disaster or unrest should occur in your host country, you may be glad that the US government knows you are there. They will do their own head count for “known citizens”, and if you aren’t there – they will find you. Register the trip with STEP. That is the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Enrollment is easy in the program and details can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/step.html/.
Remember, safe trips come from a lot of careful pre-trip preparation and communication between administration, educators, parents and students. In case of an emergency you will be happy that you were well prepared.