Recently, we discussed keeping your electronic devices safe when traveling. Phones, tablets, and laptops are a top priority, given their value and ability to store large amounts of sensitive information. However, there are several other items that should be strongly protected during travel. Here are the top 5, along with tips that will help you keep them safe.
*Travel documents and identification. Some travel documents contain sensitive information that could be used to steal a person’s identity or otherwise cause harm. These should be guarded particularly well. Travel documents are also necessary for entering a country or returning home, boarding a plane, renting a car, or checking into a hotel room. It is wise to keep important paperwork on your person at all times. Additionally, make copies and pack them or scan and email them to yourself so that they can be accessed from anywhere. Of course, use only secure networks to access these important documents.
*Methods of payment. Of course, keep credit cards on you at all times. Consider using a vest or pack that sits closely on the body instead of a purse or bag that can be grabbed. Carry limited amounts of cash, as it cannot be replaced. Once checked in, lock extra cash away in a secure safe. As mentioned in our last blog, consider an RFID-blocking wallet to protect cards from being scanned by someone nearby. Alert banks and credit card companies to travel plans. Keep a copy of the number to report lost or stolen cards in a separate place.
*Information. There are countless scams that are designed to obtain sensitive information. Never give payment or account information to someone who has called or emailed you, even if it looks or sounds official. If the front desk calls to verify your credit card, do not provide it. Instead, walk to the front desk and ask about it, as this is a common scam. If your bank emails about fraud, call the number on the back of the card to discuss, instead of replying. Never give a social security number to anyone. This card is typically best left at home.
*Luggage. Lost or stolen luggage is more than a minor inconvenience. If you’ve packed away travel documents or a laptop, it can be a major security threat. You know never to leave baggage unattended. Consider locking luggage as well, even carry-ons. Just be sure the locks are approved.
*Your home. No one wants to return from a trip to find that a crime has occurred in the home. Since the rise of social media, it has become very common for folks to post pictures of their travel adventures. If your home is unattended, save those pictures and post them once you have returned. If you must post, set privacy settings to show only those you trust or publicly thank your neighbors for house sitting. Use tried-and-true methods to protect your home, such as having a friend check in and get the mail, using timers on lights, and activating security systems.
We hope that you will use the information is this blog series to travel safely and securely. Happy travels!