Traveling abroad? Keep your documents safe.

Be sure to make copies of your passport when traveling abroad. Photo: Alachua County

Recently, Fermilab employees traveling abroad have reported theft, including stolen passports, during their trips. We urge travelers to safeguard all travel documents.

A Fermilab employee with recent experience was kind enough to offer his travel recommendations:


  • Have your passport number and the expiration date of the passport available. If possible, have a scan, and keep it stored in a heavily encrypted password manager.
  • Lock passports and other documents in a safe place, for example, a locked drawer in the hostel, hotel room safe or locked room. Consider leaving these items there if they are not required. Consider also leaving unnecessary documents or keys at home. This includes your Fermilab badge or office keys.
  • If you must have your passport on your person, keep it in an inner pocket or garment.
  • Make sure personal electronic devices are configured to be autowiped if the wrong passcode is entered too many times. For example, Mac products have the option in “Find iPhone“ through the iCloud account to set devices to get wiped as soon as they come back online. The storage of devices used during travel should also be encrypted.
  • We encourage you to borrow a loaner laptop from the Service Desk, especially if you are traveling internationally, rather than bringing your personally assigned lab-owned computers or devices with you. Copy only the files you need for your trip onto the loaner device. Using your usual, personally assigned lab-owned device introduces the possibility of both data loss when the computer or device is on a foreign network (or if the item is lost) and of the installation of malware. The lab has a wide variety of loaner computers available for travel that will start out clean and can be wiped upon return.
  • Avoid having personally identifiable information or other sensitive lab information on any devices you are carrying with you.


Be vigilant when traveling abroad. And when planning a trip, consult country-specific travel advisories and information on Follow the Travel Office’s tips to safeguard your documents.

Safe travels!

Fermilab Travel Office