It’s finally time to unplug and unwind during your summer vacation! While you pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and Hawaiian tops, don’t forget to add some security precautions on your checklist. Here are some quick tips from travel experts on how to protect your identity and your devices while on vacation this summer.
Before you leave for vacation…
- “Get a good backpack. This is critical when traveling in countries where pickpockets are extremely common. Don’t just settle for a simple duffel; look for a backpack with zippers that can interlock or tie with each other.” –Tae Lee, CEO and Founder of TRAVO.
- “Make the house look inhabited. Leave blinds or curtains open in their usual position. Put indoor lights on a timer. If you are going to be away for an extended period, arrange to have your lawn moved in the summer.” – Elaine Schoch, Travel Blogger at CarpeTravel.com.
- “It’s something that is often taken for granted, but calling your financial institution and letting them know you are on vacation, where you’ll be going and how long. This helps them monitor your credit cards and accounts to ensure you are the only one using them while you are gone.” – Mae Demdam, Travel Blogger and Director of Media for Digital Edge Marketing.
- “Enroll in STEP with the State Department and register your trip dates, contact information, and destinations. It’s free and it allows you to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, and help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency. Beyond that, make sure that you have at least 1-2 personal emergency contacts who know when and where you will be traveling.” – Courtney Ridgel, Junior Tour Consultant at Journeys Within.
- “Since the vast majority of people travel with smartphones now, I recommend taking pictures of your identification and credit cards, and securing them to a cloud or emailing them to yourself. Better yet, memorize the numbers! When storing or emailing information (such as credit card number) to yourself, make it harder for hackers or bots to find the numbers. If you have memorized at least the first few numbers, then try something like: XxXx-wontwo3for-5sxSVate-neinIO0 (xxxx-1234-5678-9100).” –Nicola Simpson Khullar, author of “Items May Have Shifted: How to Travel With Your Baby or Toddler.”
- “Make color copies (paper) of all passports and identity papers. When traveling store them in a different bag than your primary documents. Lock these documents in your hotel or other safe as a backup.” – Mike Slone, Chief Experience Officer at Travelaer.
Dashlane Pro Tip:
- Make sure your devices are updated with the latest versions of your applications, anti-virus, anti-malware, and other software updates.
To protect your devices while on vacation…
- “Set up GPS tracking on electronic devices. Android users can use an app like Android Device Manager and iPhone users can use Find My iPhone. Not only with this allow you to track lost devices, but you can easily erase all data on a device if you are worried about stolen information.” – Tae Lee, CEO and Founder of TRAVO.
- “It is a good idea to back up your phone prior to travel. Also, it is a good idea to add a pin or fingerprint lock on your phone. If you’re traveling out of the country, use an old phone and purchase an international or local (after arrival) SIM card, instead of taking your home phone.” – Kristina Portillo, Founder of BusinessTravelLife.com.
- “Keep emergency contacts handy in case you don’t have the phone book on your phone. Sometimes we are so dependent on our devices that when they are dead, lost or stolen we are also lost without it. Make sure you have the telephone provider number handy so you can cancel your plan if needed and there won’t be a chance of running up data.” –Mae Demdam, Travel Blogger and Director of Media for Digital Edge Marketing.
- “Check any electrical devices for their voltage ratings before you travel. Outlets in the US give out 110 volts but in other countries, 220 volts is more common and can damage or destroy devices not rated for the additional voltage. Be sure to check and see if you will need an adapter as well. (This changes the shape of the plug but does not affect the voltage.)” – Courtney Ridgel, Junior Tour Consultant at Journeys Within.
- “One suggestion I have for lost phones is to use a picture of the number to call if the phone is lost as the screen saver. If my phone is lost, someone finding the phone can call the number on the screensaver. I do password protect my phone, so they would not be able to call from it. If unclear, I can send you a picture. The majority of people who find a phone WILL try to return it, but they need a clue to return it. I know this from experience. I have lost/dropped my phone 3 times over the past 5 years and it has always been returned to me.” – Ana Rojas, RN, PhD at ComfyCommuter.com.
- “If you’re using a rental car do not leave a laptop or notebook where it can be seen in plain view, lock it in the trunk.” –William Crews, Principal Consultant and Owner of Security and Resilience Consulting.
Dashlane Pro Tips:
- Secure all of your devices with a lengthy PIN number or strong password, and encrypt any data locally stored on those devices.
- Use a password manager! Password managers, like Dashlane, will safely store and manage your password to your apps and favorite websites. If one of your accounts or websites gets compromised during your trip, you can easily reset your password from your password manager!
- Add an extra layer of security by enabling Two-Factor authentication to access your accounts and devices. You can also go a step further by purchasing a physical YubiKey, which will ensure that nobody can access your device or account without the physical authentication device.
- Make sure laptop devices and other valuables are safely stored in a safe at your hotel when not in use.
To protect your personal and financial information…
- “I would recommend travelers only connect to secure, password protected, private internet connections. I would also suggest that travelers avoid checking any type of financial information and do not use public computers to do anything (not even printing your boarding pass- do it at the airport). Nothing is safe on a public computer. If staying at a hotel with WiFi, ensure you know the name of the WiFi connect and that it is password protected.” – Kristina Portillo, Founder of BusinessTravelLife.com.
- “Don’t use cash or debit cards. Credit cards allow you to travel with less cash, and if you’re purchasing online, it’s safer to give your credit card than your debit card information. The same holds true when you visit your local retail outlet. The reason? If you experience identity theft, credit card laws allow you to keep all of your credit, with no responsibility during an investigation. With a debit card, your bank can tie up your money in the amount equivalent to the fraudulent transactions for up to 30 days.” –Elaine Schoch, Travel Blogger at CarpeTravel.com.
- “Remember that credit cards with chips are also “devices” with confidential data. At home and abroad use either an aluminum wallet or an aluminum-foil lined sleeve to prevent passersby from reading your data.” – Elizabeth Avery, Founder of Solo Trekker 4 U.
- “If you get mail in a box at your home, then arrange for it to be picked up or kept at the post office, to avoid it from being built up and/or stolen (along with your identity).” –Nicola Simpson Khullar, author of “Items May Have Shifted: How to Travel With Your Baby or Toddler.”
- “Set up automatic bill payments before you travel. Depending on where you are traveling – internet or cell service can be spotty. For important transactions (such as monthly mortgage or rent payments) set up an automatic transfer for the correct date before you travel, rather than trying to log-on from your travel destination. This also means that you can avoid working with your finances and personal information on unprotected networks in an unfamiliar place, and you can simply relax and enjoy your vacation.” – Courtney Ridgel, Junior Tour Consultant at Journeys Within.
Dashlane Pro Tips:
- If possible, store your credit card information in a digital wallet or mobile payment system. That way, you won’t have to worry about carrying around your physical cards.
- Avoid card skimmers at ATM machines in popular areas by always withdrawing money from a veritable banking institution or foreign currency exchange.
When you get to your hotel…
- “You may not have a choice of rooms when you’re checking into a hotel, if you do ask to stay in a room on the third-floor or above. Try to avoid staying in a hotel room located on the ground floor, especially those located off the parking lot with windows and doors that open to the exterior of the hotel. Ground floor hotel rooms that open to an interior hallway or courtyard tend to be safer options. If you are in a ground floor room, make sure the windows are locked before you leave the room (and go to sleep).” –Elaine Schoch, Travel Blogger at CarpeTravel.com.
- “Even in your hotel or homestay lodging, remember that available Wi-Fi may not be secure, and don’t leave your room key in the room as it may have credit card data. (If it is, you, of course, will need log-in and password.)” – Elizabeth Avery, Founder of Solo Trekker 4 U.
Dashlane Pro Tips:
- Whenever possible, do not access online banking accounts and other sensitive accounts while using the wireless Internet connection at your hotel and while using other publicly-available computers.
- Avoid clicking unknown links or downloading attachments. These could cause viruses or malware to be installed on your device.
When you’re out and about…
- “Rave about your trip on social media—AFTER YOU RETURN! Although we blog on destinations, this is also my personal practice to avoid not only the phone but the house from being robbed while I travel.” – Elizabeth Avery, Founder of Solo Trekker 4 U
- “Refrain from photographing people or places you have been told are inappropriate, such as military installations, guard posts, certain sacred sites or rituals. Never photograph any person without asking permission. Travelers do get their cameras confiscated and it is a shame to loose all of the photos from your trip. Before taking the photo – ask yourself if it is worth the risk. Along those same lines, exercise caution and common sense when taking photos around animals and near dangerous ledges or congested areas.” – Courtney Ridgel, Junior Tour Consultant at Journeys Within.
- “Be extremely careful on public transportation overseas as phones, notebooks and laptops are targets for thieves.” -Bill Crews, Principal Consultant and Owner of Security and Resilience Consulting.
Do you have any travel safety advice you’d like to share with other Dashlane users? Share them in the comments below!