Travel Safely With Technology: Recommended Resources

General Travel

Access to U-M Google and Other Cloud Services

Some cloud-based services, including Google Apps, are blocked by countries, organizations, or networks. In some places, network access is inconsistent and unreliable. Depending on where you travel, you many not have consistent access to your U-M Google Mail, Calendar, and other apps while you are away. Other cloud-based services may also be blocked or unavailable. If you do have connectivity, you may be able to access U-M Google and other U-M cloud services through Virtual Sites.

Do not depend on having online access to vital documents or other information. Print backup copies of vital documents or other information that you need to have while you are traveling.

  • U-M Google blocking. People have reported problems connecting to U-M Google/Google from some countries and in some organizations. Be aware that different users may have different experiences at different times. Google publishes several Google Transparency Reports about access to information. Look for the Google product traffic report for information about recent and ongoing disruptions of traffic to Google products.

  • Gmail Offline is a Chrome app that allows users to access their mail and compose new messages when they don't have an Internet connection or when their connection is unreliable or slow. When users reconnect, Gmail automatically sends any outbound messages. This might be an option if you will be out of network range from time to time.

  • Google Search. Some countries block Google search completely or partially, so you may not be able to use it in all locations. Be aware that the main Google search ( will often redirect your search results depending on your device's IP address. If you are in Germany, for example, connected to German Wi-Fi, Google will automatically direct you to German search results. See automatically takes me to another Google site for details. If you turn on the U-M VPN (or the one for your campus), your device will use a U-M IP address, and therefore return results as if you were in Michigan.

Cellular Connectivity

If you have a cellular plan for your phone or other mobile device, check with your cellular carrier to see if it can be used internationally and if there is a reasonable international plan. This depends on the carrier, the device, and your plan. Some carriers will rent you an international-compatible device. Do NOT just use roaming minutes in another country without looking into rates, or you will likely find yourself with a huge cellular data bill.

General Cellular Resources

  • Airplane Mode is a setting on most cellular devices that turns off cellular data transmission. Check your device's documentation for details on using it on your device. You may be able to turn on Wi-Fi while blocking use of your cellular carrier's network.

  • Cellular Frequently Asked Questions. Questions and answers about using cell phones in other countries, connecting to Wi-Fi, and more from U-M ITS Networking & Telecommunications.

  • Wikitravel Guide: Telephone service for travel. An overview of telephone and data services available when traveling.

Some U.S. Carrier Travel Sites


Be aware that electrical systems vary around the world. You will need a plug adapter for your devices if you are going to a country where the plugs are not the same as in the U.S. You might want to buy an adaptor before your trip. In addition, you may need a voltage transformer or converter. For details, see the following sites:

General Travel Security Resources

International Travel