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How to Stay Safe on the Internet When Traveling
It’s important to know and understand Internet safety tips when traveling. With all the recent hacks and data breaches it is more challenging than ever to protect our personal and sensitive information. This article discusses Internet safety tips for travelers.
We all love to travel. It’s fun and exciting to visit new places. Just remember to practice essential travel safety tips. Be sure to take travel safety precautions. This article discusses 10 Internet safety tips when traveling. Always be aware of your surroundings and take caution when using your laptop and other devices.
When a malicious actor obtains our sensitive information like a password, financial information, or social security number the result can be catastrophic. Things can happen that can literally destroy your everyday routine.
One solution to prevent that from happening is to stay home all the time and never use any technology or tool like the Internet. That’s not realistic, our lifestyles demand the use of such tools and technologies. We are human, we need to communicate with fellow humans.
We need to travel and enjoy going to new places. Traveling is part of our lives. We must know and use Internet safety tips when traveling. When traveling online safety is important, but don’t forget about offline security risks.
10 Internet Safety Tips When Traveling
Before we go over the top 10 Internet safety tips when traveling let’s talk about some general information and recommendations when preparing to travel.
It is a good idea to contact your bank and let them know that you will be traveling and inform them of the countries you will be visiting. This simple phone call can prevent embarrassing moments when your card is declined due to suspicious activity.
Another safeguard is to keep a list of your credit card providers with their contact information in case one of your credit cards get flagged, lost, or stolen. Carry enough cash on you to avoid using too many ATMs. This eliminates possible fees for using international ATMs and helps to safeguard you from compromised ATMs.
Only use your credit cards at reputable establishments. When in doubt pay with cash. Also, exchange some cash for foreign currency before leaving your country of residence. This can save on excessive exchange fees.
While making travel arrangements like booking hotels and transportation beware of sites that may be spoofing their appearance. There have been recent incidents of malicious actors creating sites that look like AirBnB.com and Booking.com.
Here’s 10 Internet safety tips when traveling:
- Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi — There are so many risks involved when using public Wi-fi. Not only do some restaurants and hotels fail to properly secure their Wi-Fi networks but hackers and cybercriminals have ways of infiltrating even supposedly secure Wi-Fi networks. Setting up a personal hotspot on your cellphone will allow you to avoid using public Wi-Fi.
- Always use a VPN When Accessing the Internet — There may be times when you will need to use Hotel provided Wi-Fi and a VPN will keep your data from being seen by any bad actors that may have compromised the network one way or another. If you’re not familiar with how to get and use a VPN feel free to read this article.
- Protect All Your Devices With Passwords or PINs — If one of your devices gets lost or stolen it cannot be accessed if it is protected. Keep in mind on cellphones there is a setting that can prevent sensitive notifications from being view when the device is locked. Verify that this functionality is turned on. Also activate tracking features that are available to you. Your google account can give you this capability.
- Limit Your Social Media Posts Regarding Your Vacation — It’s fun to share that you’re having a great time on your vacation but this is one way a thief may know that you’re not home. All those awesome photos of you enjoying your luxurious vacation can wait to be posted until you return home. And, while traveling turn off Geo-tagging.
- Backup Your Data on Your Devices — Take the time before you leave on vacation to ensure all your data is backed up. That way in case a device gets lost or stolen you don’t also lose your valuable data.
- Utilize Two-Factor Authentication — Some people do not use two-factor authentication. If your one of them, before leaving on a vacation it might be a good time to start.
- Practice Safe Surfing — Don’t fall victim to fake websites and malicious links in email phishing scams. You should always beware of your environment but this is especially important when traveling. Nothing can ruin a vacation quicker than a malware-infected device. Always verify that all websites you are browsing have an URL that starts with “HTTPS://”. The “S” stands for “secure,” and it means that your data is being encrypted.
- Keep Your Bluetooth Turned Off if You’re Not Using It — Malicious actors can intercept your Bluetooth signal from far away. Bluetooth typically travels around 30 feet but with special antennas, it can be received from 100 feet or more. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in Bluetooth signals. Turning Bluetooth off can also battery power on your device.
- Ensure All Your Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software is Up-to-date — Check to make sure all your devices are set to auto-update. Not just a travel safety tip, always ensure updates are current on all devices.
- Disable Auto-connect on Your Devices — as you travel you pass through many Wi-Fi networks and if your phone is set to scan and auto-connect you may end up connected to a malicious network. At home, auto-connect is a nice feature but not so nice when traveling abroad.
By always being aware of your surroundings and utilizing these 10 Internet safety tips when traveling you’ll have better peace of mind that you are safe. These Internet safety tips are just for traveling, use them in your everyday life and where you live. Good personal cybersecurity requires bringing good cybersecurity practices into your life and where you live, on a daily basis.
Warning Signs that Something Is Wrong When You’re Traveling
There are some circumstances, like having your valuables stolen, that may occur that make it obvious that something has gone wrong. On top of using the obvious internet safety tips when traveling, there are other precautions you take that will allow you to recognize warning signs indicating that something is wrong.
Each night before retiring use a secure banking app to check for any suspicious transactions. If you notice fraudulent charges contact your banking institution immediately. In addition to helping to spot bad charges, it will allow you to keep an eye on your own spending (or excessive spending).
If you find that you cannot log in to one of your financial or social accounts it may be a sign that your account has been hacked and taken over by a malicious actor. Immediately regain access to your account, with the help of your financial institution, and secure it with a new long and complex password. Learn about unique and complex passwords by reading this article.
5 General Travel Safety Tips
There are general travel safety precautions you can take to make your overall travel experience safe and enjoyable. We have discussed the 10 Internet safety tips when traveling the globe. Now, we cover some general travel safety tips to be aware of and some travel safety precautions to take.
The following travel safety tips and travel safety precautions are not being mentioned to make you scared. Just to make you aware. Your travels should be enjoyable and the memories you take home from your travel experience should be good.
- Let Your Friends and Family Know About Your Travel Plans — Let them know where you will be staying and the days that you will be traveling. Most importantly, provide them with the date of your return. This is one of the more important travel safety tips.
- Take Travel Safety Precautions Regarding Your Room — Use the dock and window locks. When leaving the room close your window coverings and leave a light on. Another travel safety tip is to put the do not disturb sign on the door when you’re out. Use the room safe for your valuables. Even if you’re just stepping out for a while use the safe.
- Educate Yourself About The Area You Are Visiting — Some areas may require additional travel safety precautions to be utilized. Learn about the neighborhood and the areas to avoid. Consult with the staff and locals to gain useful insights.
- Try to Fit into the Surroundings — When people travel they sometimes look out of place or lost. Street criminals look for that type of behavior. They know tourists usually carry cash. Never allow yourself to be in a remote location with a stranger. Carry your valuables in a safe fashion.
- Safeguard Your Important Documents — Before leaving on your trip you should make copies of all your important documents. Leave them with a friend or family member in case you need access to the information on them. You may want to upload your documents to some online storage. In addition, write down the contact information for your credit and banking institutions. You may need that if you suspect unusual activity, or if your wallet/purse gets stolen or is lost.
What Are 10 Covid-19 Travel Safety Precautions
1) Maintain a distance between yourself and other travelers
2) Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
3) Wear an effective cloth mask and wash it often
4) Avoid contact with anyone showing signs of sickness
5) Do not touch common surfaces, including elevator buttons
6) Clean and sterilize your personal Internet devices
7) Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes
8) Get a Covid-19 test before traveling and when returning
9) Carry Covid-19 test results with you
10) After returning stay at home for seven days
Putting these travel safety tips and recommendations to practice may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, but if you make them part of your normal routine they will become second nature.
Safe travel habits are good travel habits. By taking these travel safety precautions you will have a sense of security and hopefully feel relaxed. Traveling can be stressful enough without having to worry about staying safe and secure.
Featured image by MacroVector
Updated 07/10/2021 by Kirby Allen