Whether traveling for business or pleasure there are certain precautions and preparations that should be taken. If you hold a security clearance and are traveling internationally, whether for business or pleasure, you need to inform your company. They will want to know specifics of where you’re going and when you’re going, including passport and social security numbers. Of course even if you don’t have a clearance it’s always a good idea to leave your itinerary and contact information behind with a family member or friend.

My company has a briefing that we are required to take on risks during foreign travel as well. So you’ll want to check with your respective security office on any briefings they want you to complete prior to travel. When you return from international travel your security office may have a debriefing form for you to fill out as well.

Social media is a big part of our lives now and as much as you may want to tell all of your friends that you’re going to the beach, Italy, or anywhere else, this isn’t a good idea. People outside of your network can easily track you online and by piecing together little bits of information will know exactly when your home will be empty. So PLEASE wait until you return to gab about how great your trip was and share photos. I know this can be difficult, but it will be better in the long run to wait to post that great self shot on the beach.

Another important thing to remember when traveling is if you don’t need your company or personal laptop you should leave it at home or in the office. This will minimize the chances of it being stolen. If you need to have it with you, just be aware of your surroundings. Don’t look at anything sensitive on it in public where others could catch a peek.  Obviously you should not be looking at classified information unless you’re in a controlled setting, but you also need to be careful viewing personally identifiable and company sensitive information.

On this same point you also need to guard your cell phones. Some companies require you to encrypt and password protect your cell phone if you access company information on them, such as emails. However, if your company does not or if you only use the phone for personal use you should activate the password lock yourself. I have seen so many people who do not activated the lock feature on their cell phones and this just makes it so much easier for thieves to gain access to personal information and networks.

I will continue this series next week, but for now I think I’ve given you enough to process. If you’re getting ready for travel yourself, I would recommend that you check out the State Departments website for any travel advisories in countries you may be visiting. If you have any other tips you would like to share please post them below.