IT Tips for International Travel

Are you going to be taking an international trip? Here are some best practices for things to do before you leave.

The best practice is always to travel with no information stored that you wouldn’t want publicly disclosed or can’t afford to lose. That makes it the simplest to rest easily. That might be impractical, of course.

Consider Export License and Data Protection: When traveling abroad, you should make sure that you have confirmed that taking the equipment, the software, and any technical information stored on the device does not require any export licenses. You can find more information on that here:
You should be careful to remove to from any laptop or mobile device confidential or proprietary data that is not necessary for your trip (including student data, unpublished research data, patient information, or Hopkins business information).

So, here are some critical steps to take:

  • If you are traveling to certain countries (China, Russia) you should not bring your regular “daily” devices (computers OR phones OR tablets). You should bring “burner” (loaner) devices that can be completely erased (data included) upon your return.
  • Make sure ALL devices (computers AND phones AND tablets) are all up to date with all the latest patches.
  • Make sure that ALL devices are encrypted and accounts are auto-locking after short timeouts.
  • Make sure devices have up-to-date copies of the Hopkins Endpoint Protection (anti-virus) tools installed.
  • Minimize the overall amount of data stored on the machine to the degree possible — move off any files not needed to a file server or OneDrive .
  • Enroll devices that can be into “Find My” services (like iCloud) ahead of time and know how to find them — the owner might not be able to get them back, but might be able to remotely erase them
  • Most tools use secure protocols, but having the VPN client (found in MyJH) installed and knowing how to use it is a good idea. On trips where the traveler will be on really unfriendly networks the always-on VPN can be used to automatically re-establish the VPN tunnel every time a computer is connected.
  • In MyIT (found inside MyJH), users can enable and disable international logins for their JHEDs. If international logins are not enabled before travel the user will have to call the IT@JH help desk (410-516-HELP (410-516-4357)) to have them re-enabled.

Some other possibly important steps:

  • Turning on international roaming / data on your cell phone is often useful and can save a lot of money. You can contact your carrier for your personal phone. If it’s a JH-paid cell, then email [email protected] with your request for international service.
  • Don’t forget about other travel tips such as knowing what is in your wallet before you leave, notifying credit cards about international travel, and knowing how to disable stolen cards when on the road (often it can be done quickly in a smartphone app).
  • JH faculty and staff get free enrollment in TripIt with our Concur travel expense system. It’s very handy about getting notified about delayed or canceled transportation.
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