Guidelines and Tips for International Travel

Last Update: 14/6/2022

This guide provides University of Waikato staff planning international travel with advice, actions to complete before commencing your trip, and how to keep yourself and your technology safe while overseas.  It is not intended as a complete travel advisory document, as it is specific to technology and security.  We recommend also reviewing the University Travel Policy and the University Insurance Policy.

Before Your Trip


  • Ensure you have both Forticlient VPN and Zoom installed on the laptop you intend to bring with you (if any).
    • Forticlient is required for your device to connect to online University resources that are not directly available over the Internet (Aku Mahi, file shares, and web resources with sensitive information).
    • Forticlient also allows you to use our Cisco Jabber telephony software to make and receive phone calls while travelling via any Internet connection.
  • If you are intending to take your University provided laptop these products should already be installed, but if you are intending to use a personal device please log a request via Kuhukuhu so we can arrange to help you install these tools.

Password Security

  • Do not record any device passwords or passcodes on paper, or any easily accessible document on your device. Many countries reserve the right to inspect devices before allowing access to international travellers, and it is quite common for customs officials to request devices be unlocked for inspection.
  • We recommend you store passwords and passcodes within a password management application on your mobile device such as Google’s Password Manager.
  • We also recommend enabling 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) on your University Google account prior to travelling.  For a complete guide on securing your University account please visit
  • Do not post specifics of your travel plans on social media or public forums.  Online scammers often use such public information to contact colleagues and family members of a person travelling.  Typically the scammer will impersonate the traveller and claim to be in a crisis that requires money to be sent immediately.
  • Use a strong passcode to protect cell phones and mobile devices. This will prevent others from picking up your device and gaining access to it.  Typically a four-digit code is insufficient to protect your device, consider using a six-digit code or a swipe pattern.

Update your contacts list

Add our ITS support team to the Contacts app on your mobile device.  Our ITS Service Desk team can be reached at +64 7 8384008 between 8:30am-5:00pm NZDT, Monday to Friday (except for NZ Public Holidays).  If you need support outside of these hours please log a request via and include your contact phone number.

Enable Encryption

  1. To keep your data secure if your device is lost or stolen, we recommend you ensure device encryption is enabled on any laptop you intend to take.  Your University provided device will already have this service enabled.  If you are planning to take a personally owned Windows laptop we recommend enabling Bitlocker (, or FileVault ( if you have an Apple Macbook.
  2. Secure your mobile phone’s SIM card using a pin code.  With a PIN code active, your SIM card cannot be removed and used with another device without your permission.  The process for adding a PIN code is different for each model of phone, so please contact ITS prior to departure so we can send you instructions specific to your device.
  3. Check the battery regulations for both your carry-on and checked luggage with your airline.  Airlines have different requirements for maximum allowed battery size in mobile devices and portable powerbanks, and if your device isn’t compliant you may be asked to leave it at the airport or pay to ship it back to your home address.

Enable remote support

  1. If you’re planning to be away for an extended period, we recommend you log a Kuhukuhu request and ask for remote support software to be preinstalled on your computer.  This will allow us to provide you with direct support on your device as long as you have an Internet connection.
  2. Our cellular service provider is 2Degrees, and the costs of using their service differ from country to country.  Please consult the 2Degrees roaming support site at before departure to familiarise yourself with the associated costs of using your device overseas.
  3. Make sure your travel adapter is correct for all the countries you intend to visit.  A handy guide is available at travellers are a popular target for online scams, so we recommend all staff complete the ITS Cyber Security Awareness training module in Moodle before departure.  (
    Qantas and Virgin Australia require any traveller bringing an Apple laptop to keep these devices in carry-on luggage.  Apple laptops cannot be stored in checked-in luggage with these airlines.
  4. Automated backups of the data stored on your laptop can be accomplished via Druva InSync or Google Drive.  Please ensure your device is being backed up correctly via one of these tools prior to departure.

At the Airport or Hotel

  1. Unless you are actively using them, we recommend you disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your mobile device when in a Hotel or Airport. Allowing these services to run provides potential attackers with a method for gaining access to your device.
  2. Avoid using public computers and kiosks to access banking or secure sites.  You should only use these devices to retrieve information anonymously (such as flight schedules, bus timetables, etc).
  3. Shared computers in cybercafes, public areas, hotel business centres, and foreign institutions – as well as devices that belong to other travellers – should never be used to log in to the University or other systems that are protected by a username and password.
  4. When entering your username and password in a public location, be aware of those around you. Someone may be closely watching your screen and keyboard in an attempt to steal your credentials.
  5. Beware of open wireless networks.  It’s not uncommon for malicious actors to broadcast “free wireless Internet” in such locations from a standard laptop in order to intercept your credentials or financial information.  Before connecting to a wireless network in a Hotel or Airport confirm the official name of the wireless network and exact login procedures first at an information desk or reception.  Never join a wireless network with a name like “FREE Public WIFI” or similar.
  6. The information that you send over a network may be monitored, even when using a hotel or business connection. It is always best to assume you are being monitored so that you can adjust your actions accordingly.

During Your Trip

  1. USB keys can be exploited to install malicious software on your devices and allow unauthorised individuals to compromise your data and accounts. Only plug USB keys into the devices that you have brought with you. Public charging stations at airports or hotels should also be avoided, as they can transmit harmful software to your devices.
  2. Many institutions and public locations offer a secure Eduroam wireless network for travelling academics, please use this service where it is available.
  3. If your University provided phone or laptop is lost or stolen, please report it to ITS immediately.  We can disable the device to ensure your files and information cannot be retrieved.
  4. To prevent theft and unauthorised access or loss of sensitive information, never leave equipment - including any USB or external storage devices - unattended in a public place. Keep your devices secured in taxis, at airports, on aeroplanes, and in your hotel room.
  5. Consider adding a location tracker like an Apple Airtag or Tile to your laptop or travel bag.  These devices can help you quickly locate a misplaced device or confirm that your device has indeed been stolen.

Travelling to the United States

  1. It has become increasingly common for United States authorities to examine laptops and mobile phones entering the country.  If a U.S. customs border protection official requests it, you must cooperate with searches, answer questions, and turn over passwords in order to enter the country.  Please keep this in mind when you are considering what to include on your device before your trip.  If you are required to surrender any credentials for your devices we recommend changes these passwords when possible to keep your information secure.
  2. Save a copy of your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) approval as a PDF and store it on your mobile device.  You may be required to produce this at the airport upon arrival.

Travelling to China (and ZUCC)

  1. Many applications and websites are blocked in mainland China, including those for productivity, social media, streaming, news, VOIP, and search. Without using a third-party VPN service you will experience slow or non-functional connections with many common web services.  The University Forticlient VPN software is not sufficient for this purpose and will not improve your access to the web in China.  There is no official list of the sites that are and are not blocked, but some of the currently known restrictions include:
    • Google services – Maps, GMail, Drive, and Docs
    • YouTube
    • Facebook, including Messenger
    • Wikipedia
    • Personal OneDrive
    • BBC
    • New York Times
    • Guardian
    • Bloomberg
    • Wall Street Journal
    • Reuters
    • CNN
    • Time
  2. To determine if a website is accessible in China without using a VPN you can test the website address at
  3. Because of these restrictions we recommend staff travelling to China subscribe to a third-party VPN service via their PCard for the duration of their stay and arrange for ITS to install any required software prior to departure.  Many of our staff report good results accessing the web from China with ExpressVPN (  We suggest most staff subscribing to this service should only retain the account for the duration of your travel, and you may wish to create a calendar reminder to terminate the service on your return.
  4. We advise using the Firefox or Edge web browsers, as Google Chrome is not supported in China.  As Google search is also unavailable, we recommend setting the default search engine in your browser to Microsoft’s Bing service (
  5. University email and private GMail accounts will not be directly accessible in China without a VPN.  To make accessing your email easier, we recommend creating a “forward rule” in your GMail account to redirect your messages to a Microsoft email account.  For assistance setting up the forward rule, please log a Kuhukuhu request or contact the Service Desk prior to your departure.
  6. Many retail services, ride-sharing companies, restaurants, and government service providers in China will not accept foreign credit cards and require Wechat Pay instead.  In order to add your card to the WeChat app on your mobile device, follow these steps:
    • Click “Me”→ “Wallet”
    • Click on “Bank Card” and choose “Add a New Bank Card”
    • Enter your card number, select the type of card and the organisation to which it belongs, and fill in the card information as well as your personal information
    • After filling it out, click “Submit”
  7. WeChat Pay currently only supports overseas credit cards. You will need to verify the card number, expiration date, and CVN2. Then you will receive an SMS verification code on the phone number you provided. After verification, you need to create a 6-digit payment password before you can use the services.  A comprehensive guide to WeChat Pay is available at
  8. The University of Waikato operates an institute based at Zhejiang University City College (ZUCC)  located in the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.  If you are visiting ZUCC and require support, Tina Zhang our IT person will be glad to assist you.  Tina can be contacted by emailing [email protected]