(last update: 22 January 2024)


One of the major perks (which I was totally unaware of when I began my PhD) of the academic life is the possibility of traveling. Of course, this possibility comes with caveats: to travel, you must have a reason (e.g., presenting a paper; or being invited to give a talk); and to have such a reason, you must be “lucky” [a]Some people would say “successful” rather than “lucky”. However, after 8 years in this sphere, I have reason to believe that luck plays a huge role in determining an academic’s success (you must have a paper accepted and the funds to cover the expenses;[b]For EU-based individuals, such expenses can easily reach 2k€ for events in the EU, and exceed 3K for those in the USA.and to be invited somewhere you must have obtained a certain degree of “recognition” or have “allies” who strongly believe in you).

In my case, I was lucky enough to be given the chance of traveling (arguably) a lot. Evidence of this is my talk map. Yet, despite being a fascinating opportunity, traveling also has some downsides. For instance, from the perspective of “productivity”, you will hardly output more results than what you’d produce in your regular setup. Then, there is “bureaucracy”, which entails either the filing of reports before the events (potentially including the request to receive some funding), as well as for those after the event (summarising the expenses for which you request reimbursement).[c]Of course, one can always put themselves on holiday and pay everything by himself; but would hardly be sustainable. Finally, there is “logistics”: even when the expenses are covered, you must take care of the (i) lodging, (ii) itinerary and corresponding (iii) means of transportation—and this also includes handling any potential “issue” that may arise during your journey.

This “diary” is an attempt to reflect on all such issues—after all, whatever doesn’t kill us… is a tale to be told!


For obvious reasons, I will omit most privacy-sensitive details. Also, this is not an attempt to point the finger at any specific entity (aside from my “bad luck”): I am well-aware that problems “happens”. Of course, the best way to stop these problems from affecting me is to stop traveling altogether—which is not something on my radar.


Before I begin, let me summarize the various steps of any given trip—each potentially being the source of the “issue”.

Of course, the “simplest” trips are those for which I used my car, or the train: the former are straightforward, whereas the latter only require me reaching the train station. In contrast, trips that entail a flight are much more complex, since they require:

The biggest issue with trips requiring a flight is that, due to their complexity, things can go wrong everywhere—leading to unpleasant chain-reactions. For instance, any disruption on my way to the airport may lead to me missing my flight (to avoid this, I tend to leave very early, keeping ample buffer time).


In what follows, I will list all the trips for which I had any “issue”. Clicking on the corresponding trip will bring to a page describing what transpired.



I had no issues for my seminar talk at EPFL (in Lausanne) and for my trip to EuroS&P’23 and to ESORICS’23. In contrast, I had various issues for the following trips:


I had no issues for EuroS&P’22 and for Dagstuhl: in both cases, I used my car and, besides some road traffic, the trip went OK. However, I had various issues for the following trips:

2021 & older

Due to the COVID pandemic, there have been no physical events that I attended during 2021 and 2020. Before 2020, my trips were “stressful” for reasons that were unrelated to the journey itself (e.g., for NCA’18, I was stressed because it was the first conference that I attended to present my own work). There is only one trip that warrants a post, however: Dartmouth.