Restarting Travel & Study Abroad Checklist


Jul 9, 2021

After over a year of closed borders and quarantines, the world is starting to reopen again. The pause in travel has given us time to consider how to travel more mindfully, sustainably, and consciously. As we head back out into the world, let’s strive for travel experiences that have long-term, positive impacts, for ourselves and for the planet.

Read on for 6 tips for restarting travel and study abroad, organized by The GREEN Program Team!

1. Review local travel restrictions

The GREEN Program attracts students and young professionals from around the world. Depending on where you live, your country’s travel restrictions could differ. That’s why you should consult your local government website for COVID-19 travel restrictions and travel advice before making travel decisions.
For United States travelers, the U.S. Department of State at outlines a “Before you Go” traveler’s checklist. This also includes details on the required documents to travel, such as a renewed passport. You can also enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.

2. Understand global travel requirements

Each country has developed or is in the process of developing, its own rules and regulations regarding visitors entering the country and vaccine requirements, which will be updated throughout the year. Some countries are more or less restrictive with their entry requirements than others, which is why you should check exactly what you need to do upon arrival. For example, for our participants to enter Iceland, they will need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or proof of prior infection (PCR/Anti-body Test) in order to opt out of the quarantine requirements.
All of this information and more can be found online by searching “travel restrictions” at your destination. If you’re traveling from the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

3. Book flexible airline tickets & travel insurance

A flexible flight ticket is one that allows for changes or cancellations without a fee, with a smaller-than-usual fee, or another condition that makes it easier for the traveler to change their plans. Many airlines have agreed to eliminate change fees altogether in response to the uncertainty the pandemic has created. Be sure to check your airline provider’s cancellation/travel plan conditions for more information.
Our favorite site for flight bookings is StudentUniverse – they have excellent customer service and frequent flight deals. TGP also offsets flight’s carbon emissions when our participants book flights through them.
Ensure you have travel insurance and are familiar with what is included. Our favorite travel insurance provider is World Nomads, you can view their COVID-19 FAQ here.

ckqwop59x009rcii5h7ly2a8r fransiskus filbert mangundap dmqtfaqlvwu unsplash

4. Make sure your tour operator or study abroad provider prioritizes health & safety

We are mindful that getting back out into the world can feel nerve-racking and scary. It is worth ensuring that your tour operator or study abroad provider is transparent about their health and safety protocols for reopening travel. For extra support, be sure to register the program with your home university or study abroad office.
All of TGP’s global staff, guides, professors, vendors, and tour partners are trained to follow the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council)​ guidelines. For more information, our Health & Safety Guidelines: Standard Operating Procedures for Travel (COVID-19) document can be found here.

“There were so many positive experiences this week. The planning was flawless and it was obvious that everything we did was well thought out. Even though we did some adventurous things there was no point where I felt unsafe.”

– GREEN Iceland Student, Biology, University of Central Florida
ckqwovyc300y267i5yc7u8ed8 stil tvllfygalea unsplash

5. Prepare your sustainable suitcase

Do you ever think about how the weight of your luggage impacts the carbon emissions of your travel, on all modes of transportation? The heavier the plane is, the more fuel it takes to transport it. By packing light, you can lower your environmental impact and help reduce greenhouse gases.
Here is our favorite blog for how to pack a light and eco-friendly suitcase.
Another huge source of waste when travelling is single-use, plastic materials. You can minimize your environmental impact by swapping plastic materials out for sustainable and biodegradable items. Every small choice makes a difference.
Here is a great list of suggestions for plastic-free packing!

6. Getting Back out into the World!

We will keep traveling because curiosity, new experiences, global learning, and human connection cannot be replaced. Even though all countries won’t reach post-COVID status at the same time, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself and enjoy the trip of a lifetime by choosing wisely and traveling safely and sustainably.
It is important that when you do travel again, you do so mindfully and with sustainability at the forefront. Some things that we practice and encourage others to keep in mind are:

  • How the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be addressed through global travel. Check out our partnership with the United Nations SDGs here.
  • The importance of ethical travel: Sourcing locally, partnering with BIPOC and Women-owned organizations local to the destination, and ensuring that your dollar goes back into the local community.
  • Finding a business that is a force for good, helping to create a sustainable future for our community and planet. View TGP’s Environmental Policy here.

Want to get involved? The GREEN Program’s sustainability-focused, short-term programs abroad fill on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you are interested in traveling with us, start by filling out an application today for free. Happy traveling!

ckqwp6v7r00z567i5aazwb6qu s migaj yui5vfkhuzs unsplash

Read Another Article

Honoring Kate Slattery & Highlighting the Shine On Scholarship for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, The GREEN Program is happy to highlight Kate Slattery – a mechanical engineer and photovoltaic designer for SolarCity who challenged herself and others to work toward a global mission of renewable energy and sustainability. We are honored to work with Kate’s family and GivePower to share Kate’s story and provide the Shine On Scholarship to TGP students in memory of Kate. 

read more

How an Online Sustainability Program Helped Jaedyn Medrano Become an Intersectional Sustainability Advocate

This blog features the virtual Nepal Ethics of Sustainable Development Alum, Jaedyn Medrano who says, “this program taught me how to think about a project holistically, and it has guided me along the path to being a better cultured and inclusive young professional.” She is set to graduate with a double major in Renewable Natural Resources & Ecological Restorations in December of 2022.

read more

Defending Reproductive Rights in the Battle for Climate Justice

Reproductive Justice is Climate Justice. The GREEN Program stands to defend the reproductive rights of all women and people who give birth to access safe reproductive health care. We must do more to educate others and understand the interconnection between Reproductive Justice and the Climate Crisis. It’s important to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights.

read more

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

n June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Skip to content