Planning to travel this holiday season? Whether it’s by road, rail or air, technology internet definitely makes travel a whole lot easier. Unfortunately, it can also expose you to unexpected dangers. These 8 steps will keep your travels safer, so you can focus on enjoying the trip!
1. Buying tickets online? Do it from a well-reputed site.
There’s nothing better than finding a great deal on airplane tickets and hotels on the internet. And there’s nothing worse than finding out that the tickets you thought you purchased were fake, or the hotel you booked online has no record of your reservation. So make sure you reserve your holiday from a trusted source, and make sure the address of the site where you enter your payment details begins with “https”. It may seem more expensive, but it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
2. Be wary of free WiFi in airports and bus stations. Hackers could be surfing free, too.
It’s natural to look for free WiFi when traveling, to pass the time more pleasantly. Heck, you might even need to notify the person waiting for you that you’re running late. But if the only offering is free public WiFi, make sure you use it safely, with a VPN that encrypts your data. Because when you log into an unprotected network, all your private communications could be public to anyone else on that network. And if there are any hackers on that network, they could intercept your communications.
3. Got a boarding pass? Yay for you! Just don’t post it on Facebook.
Did you know that a seemingly harmless boarding pass can reveal a whole lot of personal information about you? It can reveal who you are, your frequent flyer number, your phone number, future travel plans and more. All thieves need to do is use a scanning device to scan the code. So before posting a picture of the boarding pass to your first-class flight to the Caribbean…think twice. Do you really want everyone on Facebook to have access to that info?
4. Don’t let the world know your apartment is empty.
On the one hand, it’s fun (in an evil sort of way) to ensure the envy of your friends as you post pictures of yourself lounging on a boat in the South Pacific while they shovel their driveways in Buffalo, New York. On the other hand, do you really need every one of your Facebook friends to know your apartment is empty? (Especially if just you’ve incurred their envious wrath?)
5. Planning a road trip? Check the route in advance, and bring along a paper map.
There’s no question that driving is much easier now that we have so many technologies designed to get us where we are going. All other things being equal, with GPS, Google Maps and Waze make it a lot harder to get lost. Still, that doesn’t mean you should put all of your faith in these gadgets. Because if the gadget you’re using stops working before you reach your destination, you could find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere – with no idea how to go forward or back. So check your route before you go, and have a map in your car for safety’s sake. Not only will be you be better prepared in case of malfunctions, but you’ll also be a safer, less distracted driver.
6. Back up your data before you go. Just in case.
Floods happen. So do burglaries, electricity shortages, and other unforeseen mishaps. So before you embark on your worry-free vacation, take the time to back up all your devices, both the ones that are at home and those you’ll be taking with you. That way, if some disaster causes your data to disappear while you’re away, recovering it when you return won’t be a problem.
7. Update your software before you go.
Make sure that all your software (including your antivirus software) is updated on all your devices. If you get a notification to update software while you are traveling, download the software from the vendor’s website (not the notification) just to be safe.
8. Protect your gadgets on the go.
There’s nothing worse than losing a smartphone or laptop, but it’s particularly bad when this happens while you’re on holiday. You’ll be stuck worrying about your device (and its data) instead of enjoying your vacation. If you’re taking your laptop with you, make sure you’ve installed security software such as Find My Laptop that can help you locate it if gets lost, and enables remote access of the data. As for your phone, keep it with you at all times and make sure it’s got anti-theft protection as well.
Stay safe and have a very happy holiday!
These pre-travel precautions don’t take too much time, and they can save you a whole lot of hassle during your vacation and after it. After all, just because you’re going on a vacation, doesn’t mean hackers and criminals are on holiday, too.
Do you have any more tips for safe holiday travels!