Thousands of University of Michigan faculty, staff and students will spend part of their summer break traveling the globe for research, educational programs and, perhaps, a little rest and relaxation.

And thanks to the university’s International Travel Registry, their colleagues back home in Ann Arbor are able reach out to them on a moment’s notice, should the need arise.

Registration is required for university-sponsored travel, but the registry ­— available on the Global Michigan web portal — is open to all faculty, staff and students when traveling out of the country for business, educational programs or a well-earned vacation.

During the 2016-17 academic year, more than 2,500 faculty and staff members and more than 5,200 students registered travel abroad.

James Holloway, a frequent international traveler, encourages all members of the university community to explore outside our national boundaries, but is equally enthusiastic about the International Travel Registry.

“It’s easy. It’s free. And it can be invaluable if something unexpected happens while traveling abroad,” explains Holloway, vice provost for global engagement and interdisciplinary academic affairs.

“Our goal is to quickly and accurately locate all U-M travelers, regardless of how their travel might be managed or funded. Registration allows us to contact travelers and offer assistance in case of emergencies anywhere in the world.”

It was Sept. 19, when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck not far from Mexico City. This earthquake was the most devastating in Mexico City since the massive 1985 quake. Several U-M students were in Mexico City at the time.

Because these students registered their travel and provided on-site contact information, the university was able to account for all students within an hour of the quake. After the initial worry was over, the students were able to connect with their U-M departments, ensure that their apartments didn’t have structural damage, and were provided access to resources.

The travel registry is the university’s official means for sharing urgent health-, safety- and security-related information. It also provides access to U-M approved travel abroad health insurance. This coverage also includes emergency evacuation in the event of political instability or natural disaster.

Any questions should be directed to the Provost’s Office Global Engagement Team at