International Travel References

International Travel References

International travel is a fun experience.  Whether you are traveling for work or pleasure, solo or in a group, planning ahead can help ensure your time abroad is both enjoyable and safe. As a state employee, we offer the following resources for you when travel abroad.

Planning Your Personal and Cyber Safety - Stage 1

Before you prepare to embark on your international journey, you will need to ensure that you are aware of risks to your health and safety. Please see the references below to prepare your personal self for a number of potential hazards while at your destination.

Preparing the Proper Equipment – Stage 2

Once you know more about your destination, the next step is to gather and prepare the proper technological equipment you will need.

  • For agency-specific system requirements, contact your agency telecommunications manager
  • Make sure any personal devices are protected with up-to-date antivirus, spyware, security patches and firewalls.
  • Keep your voice mail cleaned out.  When you access your messages, the pass code may become compromised and others may then retrieve your messages.

While You Are There - Stage 3

  • Review again what to do in case of medical emergency under Stage 1.
  • U.S. Passports and International Travel website by the U.S. Department of State provides information on how to handle Emergencies Abroad
  • Excerpts from the FBI brochure listed to the left:
    • Beware that your conversations may not be private or secure. Unlike the United States, most other countries do not have legal restrictions against technical surveillance. Most foreign security services have various means of screening incoming visitors to identify persons of potential intelligence interest.  They also have well established contacts with hotels and common hosts that can assist in various forms of monitoring you. Electronic eavesdropping has been reported on airlines, in hotel rooms, taxis, and meeting rooms.  Business and government travelers have reported their hotel rooms and belongings were searched while they were away. Sometimes there was no effort to conceal the search.
    • Do not leave electronic devices unattended. Do not transport them (or anything valuable) in your checked baggage. Shield passwords from view.  Avoid Wi-Fi networks if you can. In some countries they are controlled by security services; in all cases they are insecure.
    • Clear your Internet browser after each use: delete history files, caches, cookies, and temporary internet files.
    • Do not allow foreign electronic storage devices to be connected to your computer or phone. They may contain malware or automatically copy your stored electronic data. Do not use thumb drives given to you – they may be compromised. 
    • In most countries, you have no expectation of privacy in Internet cafes, hotels, airplanes, offices, or public spaces. All information you send electronically can be intercepted, especially wireless communications. If information might be valuable to another government, company or group, you should assume that it will be intercepted and retained.  Security services and criminals can track your movements using your mobile phone and can turn on the microphone in your device even when you think it is turned off. 
    • Beware of "phishing." Foreign security services and criminals are adept at pretending to be someone you trust in order to obtain personal or sensitive information.

Upon Your Return - Stage 4

  • All your devices will be santized upon your return and any information stored on any of the devices will be lost.
  • Change all your passwords.