FAQs for Travelers


Oftentimes, the work of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) employees requires offsite travel for a multitude of purposes. In order to have travel planning run as smoothly as possible, we have developed a travel guide that should answer all of the questions that you may have about planning your trip below:

In most cases, LDEO travelers can make arrangements through our contracted service provider, Ultramar Travel Management . Ultramar can help you set up transportation and lodging arrangements for your trip. When arranging plans, please note that our designated travel specialists are Safder Paracha and Hedy Janower. We also recommend that you create an Online Travel Profile with Ultramar, to ensure that your usual travel preferences are saved within their system. Full information on how to create your own travel profile can be found in PDF format by clicking here . After you have created your travel profile, you will have the opportunity to access the brand new TravelSync 2.0 dashboard when you login online—helping you to track your travel plans both before and after your trip in order for ease of travel and the processes that follow upon returning. The dashboard includes information ranging from flight plan details, to currency conversion, to local weather at your destination. For detailed instructions on how to use the TravelSync 2.0 dashboard, click here .
You can contact the Ultramar travel team directly via email at lamont@ultramartravel.com or via telephone at (888)681-7821 and (720)359-8590. If you need to make arrangements after hours please call (888)681-7821.
For travel funded by a government contract or grant that has Small Business Administration (SBA) requirements, please contact Fox Travel and Tours .
Please note that if you are traveling for a project receiving funding from the U.S. government, that you are subject to the U.S. Flag Carrier policy. Full information about the policy as related to Columbia University may be found by clicking here .
Corporate American Express cards are available to LDEO employees for all Columbia University related travel expenses. The card may be used to charge all airline tickets, hotel bills, meals, car rentals and other University travel-related expenses whenever possible. For full information on procedures regarding the Corporate American Express card, please visit the Columbia University Accounts Payable website regarding these questions by clicking here .
LDEO employees anticipating business travel may obtain up to $500 in travel advance funds by filling out a Travel Advance Form. For LDEO travelers, the form can be obtained from Maria Ramos.  She may be contacted at (845) 365-8431 or mramos@admin.ldeo.columbia.edu . The forms must be signed by your Division Administrator and returned to the Maria for processing through the University. It may take five to ten days for the University to generate a check (usually less) so please plan ahead. Emergency checks can be arranged with sufficient justification and the Controller's Office approval.


The complete guide for Travel Expense Reimbursement can be found on the Columbia University Accounts Payable website by clicking  here . Travel and Business Expense Reimbursement Forms must also be turned into Maria Ramos, LDEO Accounts Payable Assistant.  She may be contacted at (845) 365-8431 or mramos@admin.ldeo.columbia.edu .
 Columbia University has contracted with a company called International SOS ("ISOS") to provide 24-hour worldwide emergency medical and evacuation assistance for eligible Columbia travelers.  For more information about what you need to do before you travel and what to do in an emergency please follow this link
Ultramar, Columbia University's contracted travel services provider, is available to help you obtain a passport and a visa for international travel.  Contact information for Ultramar can be found by clicking here .
An alternative option for obtaining passports and visas is through CIBT Passport and Visa Expediting Service.  Further information about this company can be found by clicking here .
To obtain a passport near the LDEO campus, there are two local options listed below:
County Clerk's Office
Rockland County Courthouse
#1 So. Main St. Suite 100
New City, NY
(845) 638-5070
Mon-Fri 7:00am - 6:00pm
Bergen County Courthouse
1 Bergen County Plaza, Room 120
Hackensack, NJ
(201) 646-2034
A full list U.S. State Department-issued international Travel Warnings can be found on the State Department’s website by clicking the following link: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has provided a list of travel-related diseases and areas where they are prevalent that can be found by clicking the following link: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentDiseases.aspx .