Tech Tips to Travel Safely: The Latest Insights from Tech & Travel Experts

JASON KENYON
Written By JASON KENYON

Jason is an adventure travel writer with a passion for exploring the world's most beautiful and remote destinations.

With summer around the corner and the winter blues finally melting away, vacations are on everyone’s minds. But along with the buzz of travel, the summer tourism surge brings a sharp rise in crime. 

Crowded tourist hotspots, bustling streets, and empty homes make it easier for people to be victims of theft, bag-snatching, and even cybercrime, so it’s important to be prepared. 

Fortunately, some savvy tech tips can make you much safer while travelling. In this guide, we’ve asked travel and tech experts to show us how to make our vacations a little more secure using technology. 

Why is Tech Safety So Important When Traveling?

From video doorbells we can control from anywhere to trackers to keep a close eye on our valuables, tech developments have made traveling feel safer and more secure. 

But the same tech we rely on can also give us a false sense of security. Something as inconspicuous as a public charging station could put you at risk. 

In a world that’s becoming ever more dependent on technology, it’s important to understand the risks so you can protect yourself while on vacation. 

Tech Tips to Travel Safely

If you’re stressed about your upcoming trip, here are six important tech tips to help you stay safe on the road.  

1. Don’t Get Personal on Public WiFi

You’ll find free WiFi everywhere, from the airport to your hotel and a local cafe. Using it and saving on roaming charges is tempting, but be cautious. 

A savvy scammer can use open networks to intercept your data. If you are going to use public WiFi, never do online banking, access personal files, or log into accounts. You never know who might be watching. 

“Public WiFi networks are vulnerable to attack, so always use your phone’s hotspot or virtual private network (VPN) to keep your data safe. There are also apps like Aura that provide a safer online environment while traveling.” – Maria-Diandra Opre from Earth Web

If you do plan on avoiding WiFi, keep an eye on your roaming charges – most plans have steep fees for using your data while abroad, and you don’t want to come home to a hefty bill. 

2. Check Your Location Settings

You probably already know not to make your vacation public. It just lets the world know that your house will be empty and vulnerable for a couple of weeks. 

But did you know that your social apps could be sharing your location without you knowing about it?

Some social media apps (like Facebook and Instagram) will automatically tag your location in pictures, check-ins, and updates. Double-check your settings to ensure location sharing is off so no one gets a direct location when you share updates online. 

This point is especially important if you don’t have private social media accounts. No one wants random strangers on the internet to know exactly where they are, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar location. 

3. Avoid Public Phone Charging Stations

When your phone is about to die, and you come across a public charging station, it can feel like a lifesaver. But it’s actually a potential cyber risk!

Public charging stations are surprisingly easy to tamper with, and all a cybercriminal needs is a USB cord to install malware or steal data from your device. 

“Gaming while travelling can seriously suck the battery out of your phone and other devices. Rather than putting faith in public chargers, invest in a decent charging bank. That way, you never have to worry about your phone going dead while seeing the sights.” – Michael Robert from GTA Boom

In major cities, you’ll also find secure charging stations with locks and attendants. Whenever you have to leave your phone, you’re doing it with some risk, but these are a better option if you don’t have a personal charger and seriously don’t want your phone to die. 

4. Track Your Devices & Luggage

Gone are the days of luggage going missing, never to be seen again. Now, you can add digital trackers to your cases to make sure they show up where they’re supposed to. If they do get misplaced, you’ll be able to give a live location to the airport staff to get them directed much more efficiently. 

“Whenever I travel with my guitar, I always use a digital tracker. It’s great having the peace of mind that a valuable piece of equipment is always just a click away.” – Harrison Alley from Student of Guitar

Speaking of trackers, don’t forget to download a device-tracking app before you go on vacation. iPhone users have ‘Find My iPhone’, while Andriod users have ‘Find My Device’. 

If your phone goes missing or gets stolen, you’ll be able to log into the app from a different device and track its precise location. Just don’t forget your login details!

5. Go Hands-Free for Photos

In hotspots and touristy areas, you’ll run into plenty of friendly people willing to help you take selfies. However, handing your phone over to a stranger is risky – there’s nothing stopping them from taking off running, especially since you need to unlock your phone for them to take the picture. 

But it’s not just giving a stranger your phone that’s the issue; as soon as you hold your phone up to take a photo, you’re at risk of theft. 

So, what’s the alternative?

Smart sunglasses, like RayBan’s classic cool shades, allow you to go hands-free. They have open-ear audio, which means you can listen to music while staying alert to your surroundings, and you can take photos and videos completely hands-free. 

Any hands-free wearable device allows you to capture fun and precious vacation moments without putting your phone at risk. Plus, the first-person perspective is a cool way to shoot photos. 

6. Use Virtual Health Exams

Last but not least on our list of tech tips for safer travel is the MemorialCare Virtual Exam Kit. This FDA-cleared handheld device allows you to perform medical exams with your chosen provider from anywhere in the world. 

It’s got special adaptors for monitoring heart rate and lung function, body temperature, and even imagery. 

If you or a loved one gets sick while travelling, this compact device puts you in direct contact with your trusted doctor, no matter how remote you are. 

You don’t have to rely on insurance-provided check-ups or long waits, giving you peace of mind you and your family are healthy while travelling. 

Always Stay Mindful While Traveling

It’s easy to see why we might let our guard down while travelling. But nothing can ruin an incredible trip more than getting your phone hacked or your belongings stolen. 

Don’t let the stress ruin your vacation, but always be mindful of the potential risks while travelling. And if you’ve got a trip coming up, these helpful tech tips will help keep you safer on the road!

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