Travel to Site

Please purchase your airline tickets as soon as possible after placement, and please adhere to the arrival and departure guidelines listed below when making travel plans: with limited staff and transportation options, our staff is unable to accommodate flights outside the times stated. Duke TIP cannot assume responsibility nor provide housing, meals, transportation, or supervision for students arriving before or departing after the listed program dates.

If you are attending an international site, please see the International travel section below.


Airports and travel times

Duke University

  • Airport: Raleigh-Durham International (RDU)
  • Session 1 arrival: June 16, noon–3 p.m.
  • Session 1 departure: June 30, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Session 2 arrival: July 7, noon–3 p.m.
  • Session 2 departure: July 21, 10 a.m.–2 p.m

Ghost Ranch

  • Airport: Santa Fe Municipal (SAF)
  • Arrival: June 17, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Departure: July 1, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

New College of Florida

  • Airport: Sarasota-Bradenton International (SRQ)
  • Arrival: July 14, noon–3 p.m.
  • Departure: July 28, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

PARI Observatory

  • Airport: Asheville Regional (AVL)
  • Session 1 arrival: June 10, noon–3 p.m.
  • Session 1 departure: June 24, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Session 2 arrival: July 1, noon–3 p.m.
  • Session 2 departure: July 15, 10 a.m.–2 p.m
  • Session 3 arrival: July 22, noon–3 p.m.
  • Session 3 departure: August 5, 10 a.m.–2 p.m

Las Cruces Biological Station

  • Airport: meet at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) to take group flight to Juan Santamaría International (SJO)
  • Arrival: June 17, arrive at ATL before 3 p.m.
  • Departure: July 1, depart ATL after 4 p.m.

La Selva Biological Station & UGACR

  • Airport: meet at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) to take group flight to Juan Santamaría International (SJO)
  • Arrival: July 8, arrive at ATL before 3 p.m.
  • Departure: July 22, depart ATL after 4 p.m.

Note: If your child’s arrival or departure times deviate by more than one hour from the ranges stated above, you must call TIP at (919) 668-9100 for approval before you purchase your tickets. We cannot guarantee transportation otherwise.

Duke TIP only uses the airports designated in the chart for specific sites, and can only provide supervision and transportation on arrival day and departure day at the designated airports—and during the time frames—listed above.

Getting from the airport to campus

Students arriving by plane will meet Duke TIP staff (wearing Duke TIP staff T-shirts) in baggage claim, then take chartered buses or vans to campus. While we make every effort to transport students as soon as possible, the large volume of students may require them to wait with TIP staff for several hours. Please make sure your child has money on hand to purchase snacks or a meal during travel and waiting times.

Arriving by car

Students arriving by car will be provided with an exact drop-off location and parking information prior to arrival day. Duke TIP staff will greet all car arrivals and assist students with check-in and move-in.

Unaccompanied minor status

Most students travel to their Field Studies sites without being accompanied by a parent or guardian. In a few cases, students must travel as “unaccompanied minors”—a status designated by an airline that denotes a child who flies with specially arranged airline supervision, either because the airline deems the child to be too young to travel alone or because a parent specifically requests it. Unaccompanied minor status requires an extra fee, which varies among airlines.

Please be sure you understand these rules and their implications.

Typically, a student traveling as an unaccompanied minor:

  • must have picture identification; the airline can provide guidance as to acceptable forms of identification
  • is not allowed to travel on the last flight of the day
  • may be required to travel with the same airline provider from the city of origin to the destination
  • may not be eligible for connecting flights
  • will be met at the arrival gate (not at baggage claim) by a Duke TIP staff member on arrival day
  • will be escorted through security and to the departure gate on departure day

Determining and arranging unaccompanied minor status

Each airline sets its own policy for unaccompanied minors, so you should consult with your airline to learn more before arranging air travel.

If your child will fly as an unaccompanied minor

Please complete the following the steps:

  • Clarify with the airline’s restrictions and ensure your child can arrive and depart within the designated time frames.
  • The airline will require the name, address, and telephone number of the Duke TIP staff person meeting your child at the airport on arrival day and escorting your child through security on departure day. Because we will not have this information at the time you purchase your ticket, provide the following information as a placeholder: Paris Andrew, Dean of Students, 300 Fuller Street, Durham, NC 27701, (919) 668-9100.
  • Two days before your child’s flight, call your campus on-site office or Group Leader to request the names of staff who will escort your child on arrival and departure day. This phone number will be provided in May.

Then call the airline to update the name of the Duke TIP staff member who will be picking up your child from the airport for arrival day; repeat for departure day.

Please complete your child’s transportation information in the online student portal, and in addition to providing arrival and departure information, note that your child is traveling under the airline’s unaccompanied minor status.

International Travel

International travel and group flights

Duke TIP has secured group reservations with Anthony Travel for each group’s international flights. All participants in international field studies must purchase a round-trip seat on the group flight from the designated gateway airport to the destination country, and back to the gateway airport. Details on how to book the international flights for your program through Anthony Travel, as well as information on domestic flights, baggage fees, travel insurance, and travel parameters, will be available in the student portal after placement.  If you have any concerns about the cost or timing, please call us at (919) 668-9100.

Passports and identification

Students participating in an international field study must have a passport that is valid at least six months after the end of their program. If the student’s passport will expire within six months of the program start, you must apply for a new passport. Please pack two photocopies of your passport when traveling internationally to facilitate a replacement in case your passport is lost. All information about obtaining or renewing a US passport can be found at, but here are some important items to note:

A passport card cannot be used for international travel. You must have a passport book. 

You must apply in person if one of the following applies: 

  • you are applying for your first US passport 
  • you are under age sixteen
  • your previous US passport was issued when you were under age sixteen
  • your previous US passport was lost, stolen, or damaged 
  • your previous US passport was issued more than fifteen years ago 
  • your name has changed since your US passport was issued and you are unable to legally document your name change 

In addition to the application materials, the following items are required to complete the US passport book application process: 

  • proof of US citizenship (usually a birth certificate; official copy only, no photocopies) 
  • proof of identity (an official picture ID card or a parent with photo identification who can verify identity) 
  • two identical regulation-size passport photos taken within the last six months (be sure to use a photographer who specializes in passport photographs and knows the legal requirements); these photos must be done by a professional photographer and cannot come from a photo machine—some passport issuing sites also offer on-site photo services. 

The usual processing time is six to eight weeks, but an expedited service of two weeks is available for an additional fee.

Vaccines for international travel

Please review the required and recommended vaccines for international field studies on the health profile that students gain access to via the online portal upon admission to the program. Duke TIP highly recommends that students and parents consult their family physician or a travel clinic about recommendations they might have regarding health care while traveling. 

In addition, we suggest that students and parents consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for more information regarding international travel. For more information, visit the Travelers’ Health section of the Centers for Disease Control website at


Duke TIP does not require students to have taken coursework in the host country language in order to participate in an international field study. However, students participating in international programs should prepare themselves for the challenge of being in a country where English is not the first language. Duke TIP recommends that students take the time to learn a few basic words and phrases in the country’s native language. While it is not a requirement, students may wish to purchase a one-year license to Rosetta Stone Foundations, a special version of the language-learning software designed for students which we offer to TIP Talent Search members. 

These two-week residential programs for students in ninth through twelfth grade take place at Duke University, New College of Florida, or one of several unique field study locations. Courses take place during the summer and cover a variety of different academic disciplines.