Global IT Checklist

If you are traveling internationally, OIT recommends you complete these steps before leaving the U.S and consider these recommendations during your travels.

Pack power charger and any adapters

Make sure device chargers will work at your destination. Most chargers support 100-240 volts, which work in most countries but, you probably need a plug adapter to connect to wall ports at your destination, and may need a voltage adapter in some locales. 

Plan cell phone service

Plan before you go to avoid losing service or incurring thousands of dollars in unplanned roaming charges.

Using a US-based carrier like Verizon or AT&T: verify coverage and activate a global plan for discount voice/text/data. (Business managers can activate these for Duke-paid phones.)

Activating local service at your destination: confirm your phone is unlocked and compatible with that country's carriers.

Set up eduroam

The eduroam WiFi network is a secure, simple way to get online at universities, research sites and other locations worldwide. If you're traveling to a site that has eduroam (and thousands do), set up eduroam before you leave Duke and be automatically connected on arrival.

Install VPN and enroll in MFA

Use Duke's VPN to secure your online access to Duke files and access Library and other Duke resources.  Make sure VPN is installed and working on your devices before you go.  Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is required to access the Duke Virtual Private Network (VPN).  Enroll in MFA prior to leaving so you are able to access VPN service.

Prepare for data access

Remove Duke sensitive or restricted data from devices before traveling.  Plan instead to use Duke Box or a departmental file server to securely access your files while traveling; Box Sync can also back up files from your laptop to the cloud, helpful if your device is lost or stolen. If your email account has sensitive Duke information, consider removing it from your device and use Office 365 webmail instead.

Caution: If traveling with data/software that may be export-controlled contact ASAP.  Duke Box may not be used for such items.

Update and secure devices

Install any updates through Software Update (Mac), Windows Update (Windows), or Settings (iOS/Android) before your trip. Make sure anti-virus software, web browsers, and personal firewalls are installed, enabled and up to date. Duke's IT Security Office has more travel tips to secure web browsers and devices. 

For Duke-owned devices, let your departmental IT support know about your trip so they can check and update your device before you leave.

Password protect and encrypt devices

Configure all devices to require a strong password or passcode and automatically lock when idle to prevent unauthorized access.

Laptop users should contact their local IT support for help with Duke's Whole Disk Encryption (WDE) solutions, such as FileVault 2 (Mac) and BitLocker (Windows). iPhones and iPads are encrypted when passcodes or Touch ID is enabled; Android users should enable encryption in their Security settings.

Note: Local laws/regulations may restrict use of encryption; contact Duke Export Controls if you have questions. Always comply with local officals' requests to access your device. If you travel with an unencrypted device, we recommend it contain no Duke data. 

Set up tracking in case devices are lost/stolen

Electronic devices are major targets for theft when traveling. Enable "Find My iPhone" (iOS) or "Android Device Manager" to locate, lock and erase lost/stolen devices if needed. Prey is a similar solution for Windows and Mac laptops.

Check your NetID settings

Activate or update Duke challenge/response verification questions for your NetID -- OIT staff may need these to help you with your account or password.

Duke faculty and staff should enable NetID multifactor authentication for all Duke sites. The Duo Mobile smartphone/tablet app can provide a passcode even if offline; or, register your US or international number(s) to get passcodes via SMS worldwide.

Bring contact info for IT help

OIT's Service Desk is open 24 hours a day most weekdays to provide IT support and help to travelers in any time zone. Also, make sure you have phone and email contact information for your school/departmental IT support staff and your US cellular carrier, including any international support phone numbers they publish.


During your travels 

Use Duke VPNTo securely browse the web, access your email, or log in to Duke-restricted services including many Library databases, use VPN (  Choose the INTL-DUKE group in your VPN login to route all non-local Internet traffic via Duke. 
Use trusted WiFi instead of cellular data when possible

Even with a global plan/feature enabled or with using an in-country provider, cellular data is always more expensive than using a trusted WiFi network, like eduroam or a corporate/school network at your destination.

Disable cellular data and data roaming on smartphones and tablets except when absolutely needed, since email, map and other apps are often using data even when you're not using the device. Close apps running in the background on devices when possible.

Monitor cellular data useTrack your cellular data use to avoid unexpected charges or running out of data allocation. Use the Cellular menu under Settings (iOS 8 only) or the Data Usage section under Settings (Android) to check your usage.
Use a VoIP app for inexpensive callsConsider services like Skype or WebEx for inexpensive calling to colleagues and families back home.
Avoid untrusted public WiFi or kiosks

While WiFi is a handy way to stay connected, when you access the Internet from an unsecured network (including WiFi networks at airports, train stations and hotels), you run the risk of eavesdropping or attempts to steal account or credit card information. Use Duke's VPN on these networks to improve your security, and avoid them whenever possible.

Avoid using public Internet kiosks or recharging stations.

Erase/wipe device if lost or stolen

If your device is lost/stolen overseas, use Android Device Manager, Find My iPhone, or Prey to lock and erase the device. Additionally, University Office 365 email users who enabled their email account on their smartphone/tablet can wipe their device through Office 365's web interface.

Review specific country considerations: Consult Duke's list of country-specific considerations(link is external) for extra travel precautions.

Article number: KB0025337

Valid to: April 11, 2025