Travel & Transportation

TRAVEL

When planning your travel to Austria for the 2017 Annual Meeting, review the requirements for a passport or visa to enter the country here. If you are traveling to Austria from the United States, a valid passport (cannot be within six months of expiring) will be required.

Traveling from other countries to Austria? Visit this link to find a list of countries that only require passports for travel.

Austria is a signatory state of the Schengen Agreement, which has lead to the abolition of internal border controls in designated countries. With a Schengen visa, you may travel freely throughout the entire Schengen zone (mainly EU countries). See the list of countries that are members of the Schengen agreement here.

If you need a travel visa, please start the process early. You will need to schedule an appointment with an Austrian embassy in your country and have an in-person interview. You cannot schedule an appointment more than three months in advance, but we recommend investigating the process, appointment schedule, and documents you will need to collect for your interview. Find more information here. Our number one piece of advice is to start this process very early.

The Euro is the official currency in Austria. To find out more about currency conversion, click here.


invitation letters

 

To Obtain an Invitation Letter
The Program Committee is not responsible for establishing your travel arrangements or obtaining visas. However, in order to assist with the travel visa application process, we will provide upon request a letter of invitation to attend the Annual Meeting to authors of papers that have been accepted and to non-authors who have paid the conference registration fee. The invitation “letter” will normally be provided in the form of a pdf file via email.

If you wish to receive an invitation letter to help with your visa, then submit the information listed below to: Jane Shepard at meetings@sprweb.org

Include the following information:

  • Your full name (as it appears on your passport) – please use CAPITAL letters for your family name (also called your last name or surname);
  • Your “pre-title” (Dr., Mr., Ms.);
  • Your job title (for example: BS/MS/PhD student, Research Associate, Assistant Professor, Director of Mathematics, Research Scientist (companies/ government) etc.);
  • Your affiliation (university, company, organization etc.);
  • Postal address (this may be either your work or home address, whichever you prefer), make sure that you include room number (if required), building, street, city, state, postal code and country;
  • Email address, and phone number (home or work);
  • Your paper title(s) where applicable.

Please format your information as per the example below.

Dr. William HOWELL
Scientific Research Program Manager
Natural Resources Canada
P.O. Box 57023, Station M
Calgary, Alberta T2P 3C1 
Canada
Email Address: news@BillHowell.ca
Presentation Title: Genetic specification of recurrent neural networks: Initial thoughts

This information is required so that we can send you an electronic letter of invitation, but it does not give you a visa or guarantee that the embassy will grant a visa. Submit your request for a visa invitation letter as soon as possible. Please allow 7 days for an email response. This service is provided to attendees for free.  Request your invitation letter no later than September 11, 2017.

Note that participants are responsible for conference registration, paying appropriate fees for conference activities, as well as assuming full responsibility for any travel and accommodation expenses, and their activities and arrangements while at the Annual Meeting.

Travel Documents:

  • Passport (Remember to check your passport expiration date! Most countries require that your passport be valid for six months after your scheduled return date.)
  • Driver’s license or other identification
  • Health insurance card or identification (Note: Contact your health insurance provider before traveling to make sure you are covered. Most policies do not provide coverage outside of the country. Travel medical insurance is available for very low cost through numerous sources.)
  • Boarding passes
  • A card listing the location of the nearest embassy to your destinations
    Note: You should copy or scan the identification pages of your passport prior to traveling. Keep a copy with you, and give a copy to someone you trust at home.
  • This will speed up the replacement process in case your passport is lost or stolen.
  • Consider registering with your embassy in the country you are visiting. United States citizens can register online through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, at https://step.state.gov/step/.

Click here to download and print prior to traveling abroad, the United States Department of State Traveler’s Travel information card.

Medication (If you are taking prescription narcotics or psychotropic drugs, you should have the following):

  • A letter from your doctor stating what medications you are prescribed
  • A copy of the original prescription
  • Enough prescription medication to last the entire trip, plus up to five days extra in case of delays or loss
  • Prescription medications should be in the original packaging, with the label attached.

Emergency Contact Information:

  • People at home whom you would want contacted in the event of an emergency. It is a good idea to keep a copy of this list in your passport in case you are ill, injured, or otherwise unable to communicate.
  • Contact information for your hotel or lodging at your destination (It is a good idea to obtain and carry a business card from the hotel or lodging.)
  • Keep a printed copy of your passport identification page in your luggage when traveling and in your hotel room safe when you are at the conference.

Cash or Credit Cards:

  • Do not take all your credit cards with you. Carry one or two, and keep one in the safe in your room or in the hotel lockbox.
  • Contact the credit card issuer prior to leaving for any credit cards you plan to carry. Let them know where you are going and the dates you will be gone. This will prevent the possibility that your credit card issuer will decline charges based on suspicion of fraudulent use.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you when exploring. Carry what you think you need, and secure the rest in your hotel safe or lockbox.
  • Remember that there might be foreign transaction fees for ATM use. Check with your bank to identify fees prior to traveling.
  • If you need to withdraw money from an ATM, tug on the card reader slot to make sure that there is no “skimmer” attached (a device used by thieves to capture your card data). If possible, use ATMs located inside the conference venue, hotel, or banks.
  • To avoid currency conversion fees when returning from your travels, use excess remaining currency to pay for your room charges or other fees when you check out of the hotel.

Communications:

  • Verify whether your hotel or the conference venue has public wi-fi and what the cost of Internet access is prior to traveling.
  • Connect only to trusted wi-fi connections. These should be published or available from the conference staff, your hotel, or the conference venue.
  • Avoid using open, unsecure wi-fi hotspots.
  • Install a personal firewall on your computer or portable electronic device.
  • Contact your cellular provider before leaving and make sure your cellular phone plan allows international use, as well as the costs.
  • Make sure your phone and computer are secured with a password or PIN.
  • Back up your phone data to the Cloud to make sure you can access contacts and other important data if your phone is lost or stolen.

Personal Safety and Security:

  • Never give your hotel room information to someone you don’t know.
  • Do not open your hotel room door to anyone you don’t know or recognize.
  • If someone knocks on your door and identifies themselves as a hotel employee and you are not expecting anyone, contact the front desk to verify their identity.
  • Store your personal valuable items in your room safe or a hotel lockbox when you are not in your room.
  • Do not leave valuables or personal electronic items unsecured in your room when you are out.
  • Avoid walking alone to and from the conference venue, especially at night.
  • If you are exploring, let someone know where you are going, who you will be with, and what time you expect to return.
  • Avoid carrying your wallet, passport, or cash in your rear pants pockets.
  • Avoid counting cash in public or publicly displaying where your wallet, cash, or passport are stored on your person.
  • Keep your cash, passport, and wallet separate when outside or exploring.
  • Consider purchasing an RFID shielding cover for your passport.
  • Leave a copy of your travel itinerary, hotel information, passport, and conference contact information with your emergency contact.
  • Stay vigilant in crowds. If you see a disturbance, avoid getting caught in it by retreating, taking a different route, or hailing a taxi.
  • Wear your purse or bag with the strap across your back and chest, instead of hanging loosely off the shoulder.
  • Be vigilant while riding public transportation, in tourist areas, or in airports or public transportation stations. If possible, have a “travel buddy” to help you keep an eye on each other’s belongings.