Using technology when traveling can be challenging. This page is intended to help you prepare for successful and stress-free use of technology available from Lehigh while traveling within the U.S. or world-wide. We suggest your primary concerns for using technology focus around two primary areas: security and connectivity. The adage “Prior planning promotes peak performance” can go a long way to make your travels and use of technology trouble-free. 

If, after reviewing this page, you still have concerns or questions about using technology while traveling, feel free to submit an LTS Consultation Request to have a security team member address your concerns.

Travel in the U.S.

Travel within the U.S. should not be much different than stepping off campus. Follow safe and secure connections and device practices wherever you are located.

International Travel

Regulations may be different with regard to technology use when traveling abroad. There are government restrictions on import, export, and encrypted devices to be aware of. Also be aware that some countries do not allow services like Google to be used. While VPN “may” be a solution, you should also be aware that in some locations, VPN services are also not permitted.  International Travel with Computers and Electronic Devices has information regarding special considerations for those traveling to specific countries. The office of the Vice Provost for Research also makes available Information for International Travelers. Refer to the Sanctioned Countries page for export regulations. In general, use extra precautions when traveling to sanctioned or embargoed countries.

Locations Without Phone or Internet

If you are traveling to remote locations, you may not have phone or internet access at all. If this is the case, plan accordingly, as you will not have access to cloud or other networked services you are accustomed to. You may need to bring battery power or charging packs. If you will be there a long time, options such as solar chargers are available.

Before You Go

If you are traveling internationally, consider a loaner device. LTS has laptops which can be checked out for a week (or more if necessary). Some countries have regulations related to encrypted devices which may be an issue. Taking a loaner device also limits your exposure to sensitive data you may have stored on your primary computer. See the Borrowing Equipment page for links to request a loaner laptop.

We suggest you make sure your devices are as up to date and secure as possible BEFORE you leave. Make sure your computer and phone are up to date with all software and security patches installed. Go to Settings and run Windows Update (Windows) or Software Update (Mac). Have your computer checked to be sure it is updated with the latest hardware drivers also, as these updates are often not automated. If traveling with a personal device, be sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. All Lehigh-prepared computers and phones have antivirus software and remote management capabilities pre-installed. Make sure your devices have password protection enabled. If you have the option, set up “find-my-device” options so if it is stolen or misplaced, you can locate it.

Your travels may take you to places where electricity requires different connections and may not be as reliable as in the U.S. A travel power kit with various international adapters should be in your travel kit, and are available at most electronics stores. Also be aware some countries have power surges or rolling power outages, so be prepared with battery backup or charger if you feel you need one. Take any cables and connectors you might need with you for USB-connected or other devices.

Avoid changing passwords while traveling. If your Lehigh password is due to expire soon, change it before you leave and make sure everything is working correctly after the change. Ref: What to Do When You Change Your Password. Consider a password manager for storing your passwords. Lehigh recommends Keeper password manager.

Duo two-factor authentication may work differently away from campus. Always have 2 or 3 methods configured for Duo in case one does not work. Do not rely solely on the primary method you currently use. Apple computer users should set up an alternate method if using Touch ID. If you use a cell phone for authenticating, consider that you may not have a local number or phone service at all out of the country (NOTE: text and phone call authentication will be turned off on March 4, 2024, as they are considered less secure). Setting up Duo PUSH notification should allow your phone to authenticate so long as you have a good Wi-Fi connection, so is highly recommended. We also recommend printing a set of Duo backup codes and keeping them with you. Instructions for printing and using Duo codes can be found here: Generate Duo Backup Codes. Use of a hardware FIDO2 compatible security key is also an option, which does not require a phone internet connection, and simply plugs into a USB port to authenticate. Recommendations on what to purchase are found on the Transitioning to Secure Two-Factor Methods page.

A lost computer could open you and the University up to major security concerns. Before you travel, limit the amount of personal or Lehigh data on your computer. Consider moving files to cloud storage, where they are still accessible even if you lose your device. Remove all non-essential Class I, Class II, or personally identifiable (PII) data. See Classification of Data for more details. Your web browser and stored passwords on your computer may put you at risk. Clear your cache before and during travel whenever you use your browser, or use private browsing windows. 

VPN - Whenever you are away from campus, you may need to access secured services on campus. The VPN makes a secure connection between your computer and Lehigh’s network. You can download and install the VPN client on your computer and learn how to use it on the Lehigh VPN web page. To be sure you can reach library databases or if connecting from abroad, be sure to select the Library/International option when you connect to the VPN.

EDUROAM - If you will be working from other Universities, eduroam is a service that provides secure network access from any affiliate institutions, giving you the ability to connect with your Lehigh credentials. Check the eduroam information page about how to register and connect to this free service, and this map of participating institutions. Each institution may have its own requirements, so check before you go.

While Traveling

If traveling abroad, you may want to consider a purchased phone or SIM card for making and receiving calls. Doing a little research beforehand is advised. Plans, services, and rates vary greatly.  Consult with others who travel for best recommendations. If taking your own phone from the US, be sure to talk to your provider to understand international rates and services. A poor choice could result in extraordinary charges.

LTS provides two methods to reach voicemail when traveling: by phone and over the Internet. If you are using the Internet, the VPN client is required. See the Cisco Unity Voicemail Guide for details on how to set up and access voicemail.

There are lots of people trying to obtain your personal and institutional data, or simply steal your equipment for profit, so it’s important to be aware of best ways to avoid being an unwilling target:

  • Avoid public connections if possible (hotels, airports, coffee shops, etc.).
  • Avoid connecting unknown devices to your PC (USB sticks, external drives, etc.).
  • Avoid installing software from untrusted sources.
  • Avoid public USB charging stations.
  • Use discretion in crowded places. Consider privacy screens for your PC.
    (some people steal passwords by watching you type or with cameras).
  • Make Internet connections using the Lehigh VPN Client, or Eduroam.
  • Lock devices when not in use.
  • Set your screen lock for a short period of time.
  • Secure your devices when leaving hotels, etc. (Hotel safes can be accessed by staff).
  • Minimize Internet use to essentials.
  • Clear your cache after each use or use private browsing (on your computer or on public computers).

Notify Lehigh immediately if a University device is lost or stolen. Contact the LTS Help Desk for assistance, or email security@lehigh.edu.  If you think your password has been compromised, consider changing it.

When You Return

  • Scan your devices for malware
  • Returned loaner devices for wipe and reload
  • Change Password and Voice Mail PIN codes if they were used while traveling in case they were compromised.

Other Useful Non-Technical Tips

  • Learn the language of where you are traveling - Mango languages
  • Understand your health insurance options while traveling
  • Notify personal banks and credit card companies (as well as your Lehigh faculty/staff OneCard if you have one) if you will be using these accounts abroad.
  • Notify the State Department if traveling outside the U.S. Enroll in the STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program).