10 Ways to Protect Yourself When Traveling
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Travel, whether it’s a jaunt through your own country, or journeying across the world, can be an adventure. Your holiday can easily be destroyed if you’ve been pickpocketed or robbed.
Mark Graff is one of the country’s top cyber security experts. He is the founder and CEO of Tellegraff LLC, and a former Chief Information Officer of Nasdaq. Candice Sabatini, publisher and fashion director of BeautyNewsNYC.com, is a world traveler who has spent months living in Russia, and traveled to Poland, Japan, Vietnam, Rio and points in between. Both of these experts shared their safe travel tips, which will help ensure a happy and more secure vacation. Many of these tips can also be applied to a work commute.
Before You Go
1. Add insurance to your smartphone and make sure the password is something long and complex. Graff feels that if a phone is stolen or lost, a complex password makes it harder to break into it.
2. Pack photocopies of IDs and keep them in a separate case. Don’t use screenshots for backup or upload them to the cloud. Based on his experience, Graff thinks that cloud systems are vulnerable, as they have been hacked and the phone could be stolen.
3. Get a passport card. “Along with my passport, I have the new U.S. Government passport card,“ states Sabatini. “It's the size of a credit card and can be used as ID for domestic travel. When shopping internationally, use the passport card for tax refund opportunities. I keep my passport in the hotel safe and carry the passport card when I’m out.”
4. Leave expensive accessories (watches, jewelry and bags, for instance) at home.
5. Don’t invest in RFID-blocking wallets. RFID (Radio Frequency Detection) is used to create unique tags for credit cards. A thief with an RFID device can scan the information from your credit or debit cards through your wallet and go shopping. Graff says that, “They don’t do much and you could get the same protection from credit card (RIFD) scanners if your wallet is lined with layers of aluminum foil. You are much more likely to be jostled in a crowd and ripped off while confused than have an RFID scanner close enough to you to do harm.”
6. Carry a minimal amount of cash. Graff suggests using apps like Apple Pay or Android Pay when possible. If carrying cash is a must, invest in a money belt, neck stash wallet or pickpocket-proof pants.
On the Road
7. Your phone shouldn’t be a Wi-Fi hotspot. Per Graff, “Serving as a hotspot can attract attention to the Wi-Fi-aware, and offer a target to the malevolent.” Hackers can hop via malware into your phone and grab all your stored financial information.
8. Only use password-protected Wi-Fi networks to get on the ‘net. Make sure the landing page has “HTTPS,” not “HTTP.” The “s” indicates that the site is encrypted and secure.
9. Be aware of the surroundings. Don’t leave bags unzipped, and if a sign warns that pickpockets are in the area, don’t grab at valuable items. Thieves watch to see who does so they can target them.
10. Use social media sparingly. Think before announcing a vacation, or posting images of the trip while traveling. Graff points out that, ”Certainly you should be aware that telling a billion people you don’t know on Facebook that you are not at home may motivate someone to take the opportunity to try to burglarize it.” He also recommends turning off the phone’s location device while on the road. When turned off, the phone cannot add the physical location in the photo’s digital details. A cyber-aware thief can then track down and rob a hotel room.
And just to help you stay safe on the road, we’ve listed a few products to help guard valuables. Have a look:
Venturesafe EXP45 anti-theft 45L carry-on travel Pack, $179.95, Pac Safe
This pack has room for both a laptop and clothes. It’s made with slash guard and anti-puncture proof material and comes with a stainless-steel locking cable.
Clothing Arts Adventure Travel pickpocket-proof pants, $109.95, Clothing Arts
These pants have over 11 secure pockets, and some of them are big enough for a cellphone. The cargo and back pockets are also slash-proof.
Coversafe S75 secret neck pouch, $17.95, Pac Safe
Worn under clothing, it’s a lightweight pouch that can hold a passport and cash.
Cashsafe anti-theft travel belt wallet, $14.95, Pac Safe
This belt contains a secret compartment that can hold both cash and cards.