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Traveling abroad requires some planning and awareness when it comes to the tech you use during your trip. This is especially true when travelling outside of the United States with technology, whether that be a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Please review the following tips and related links before you leave on your trip.


  • Consider not using your main computer but ask your IT department for a “loaner” that can be wiped when you return.
  • Do not carry personal or University sensitive information with you. In addition, do not carry information that may be considered provocative or inflammatory by certain governments.
  • Make sure your computer and software are both patched and updated.
  • Install and practice using VPN software provided by the University so that access to University resources will be secure. Do not wait until you are abroad to install and test the software.
  • Assume your device may be compromised and plan accordingly.
  • Different destinations outside of the United States may have specific guidelines and travel restrictions related to both hardware and software you may take with you when you travel. For instance, in some cases encrypted devices are not allowed and may be confiscated. The following U.S. Department of State website provides important information about your destination:

Review the information from UNC Global on Travel Insurance and Risk Management.

Review the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s tips on Business Travel (link opens PDF).

While Traveling

  • Do not leave electronic devices unattended for any period of time.
  • Avoid public workstations or wireless networks. Such sites and public networks may be opportunities to steal your login information, banking credentials or other important personal information.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when logging in or when entering data into your devices.
  • Use VPN software whenever accessing University resources while traveling.
  • Notify the University if a theft or loss occurs. You should contact 919-962-HELP.

Upon Return

  • Change any passwords that you used during your travel.
  • If you used a loaner system, return it to IT support to be wiped.
  • If you used a University-owned system, work with IT support to check it for malware or other signs of compromise.

Remember that, when you travel outside of the United States, you carry information that many bad actors would love to possess, such as your research, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, personal information, etc.

For assistance with securing your computer, please contact your local IT support.

This message is sponsored by: Information Technology Services