Travel Security

Get a travel computer, and harden it


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_A TRAVEL COMPUTERA travel device has only the bare minimum of necessary information on it, intended for use in situations in the field. GIVES YOU THE FLEXIBILITY TO SEPARATE YOUR DATA AT HOME FROM YOUR DATA ABROAD. This allows you to leave sensitive information like your contacts, documents, and passwords on your device at home and travel with a hardened device customized to your specific use case abroad.

Make your travel computer selection depending on what type of work you plan to do in the field, and what resources you have to invest in a dedicated travel device.

If you need a cost-effective option for bare bones computing while abroad, a Chromebook can be an extremely handy travel tool. It boasts default device encryption and is naturally resistant against many forms of malwareShorthand for "malicious software," malware is designed to make your computer act on an attacker's behalf. Typically delivered through malicious messages or webpages, this software is used to harvest passwords, take down websites, and record audio and video. attacks. You will have to level these benefits with some drawbacks. Google has insight into much of your usage of the device, and there are significant limits to the applications you can use on Chromebooks. Some operations like video editing may prove difficult, or even impossible, within the Chromebook ecosystem.

If you plan on logging and encrypting photo or video footage while you travel, you’ll want to invest in a computer that is compatible with a more diverse suite of software.

If your travel is low-risk and plan on outfitting your everyday computer for travel instead, review our resource on preparing your everyday computer for travel.


Enable full disk encryptionA process that encrypts all the data stored on the hard disk of a device while it powers down. This prevents someone without the decryption key from reading or tampering with your device's data. on your travel computer.

Full disk encryption will protect your computer’s data from being accessed by a third party if it is lost or confiscated in transit.

Note: If you’re repurposing a computer for travel, wipe and restore it to an up-to-date version of your operating system before enabling full disk encryption.


Fill your travel computer only with the travel essentials.

Download the apps and data you’ll need to have access to during your trip, and nothing more.


With your travel environment configured, make a backup of your computer in this state.

At this stage, your computer is in a clean, travel-configured state. Back it up so that you have it handy for use during your next trip. Create a backup of the computer at this state on an external storage device. Label this image as your “travel image” (and keep this image for subsequent trips).

Photo by Nenad Stojkovic. CC BY 2.0