Safety Tips for Foreign Travel

Do not publicize travel plans and limit sharing of this information to people who need to know.

Avoid overly friendly foreign nationals, e.g. tourist guides, interpreters, etc. Ignore or deflect intrusive or suspect inquires about professional or personal matters.

Limit any sensitive discussions to controlled, secure areas.

Do not use computer or fax equipment at foreign hotels for sensitive matters.

Take only a sanitized computer with you. Leave only operating software on laptop. Put data on a thumb drive and keep it in your possession. Information may be stolen through hotel internet access. Have IT check laptop before and after travel. Laptops have no right to privacy and are randomly being seized upon entry into the U.S. and other countries. Travelers should be aware that smart phones may also be seized. If traveling with a smart phone (university or personal), protect and treat it as you would a computer. Contact Dave Stone at 974-7203 or Jane Burns at 974-7375 about obtaining a laptop for use on foreign travel.

Encrypt data, hard drives, and storage devices whenever possible.

Use a temporary e-email address not associated with the University.

Tightly control all documentation that could lead to export violations or release of proprietary information.

Be alert to information collection techniques that include:
  • Bugged hotel rooms or airline cabins
  • Intercepts of fax and e-mail transmissions
  • Recording of telephone calls/conversations
  • Installation of malicious software
  • Intrusions or searches of hotel rooms, briefcases, luggage, etc.
For your personal safety:
  • Take doctor's written prescriptions for your medication, eye glasses or contacts.
  • Keep medications in original prescription bottles.
  • Keep original and a copy of passport with you.
  • Keep copies of credit cards, driver's license, and passport at home and on your person on trip and provide trip itinerary to someone in U.S.

Quick links

UTIA Office of Sponsored Programs
Fax: 865-974-7451 or
225 Morgan Hall
2621 Morgan Circle Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37996-4514