Technology advances constantly, and with it, the number of devices we pack for our travels. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine even a week or two without our favorite device or access to a streaming service.
Now, after the COVID-19 pandemic, travel hotspots like Thailand and the U.S., popular among South African, are within reach. So you’ve booked your tickets and dusted off the trusty suitcases, ready for a new adventure.
Whether you’re a digital nomad, traveling the globe while working or a tourist on an organized trip somewhere to Italy or the U.S. traveling with tech can get tricky. And here’s why.
What can go wrong while traveling with tech?
Consumers lost close to US$75 million to travel scams in the year following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority targeted those who hadn’t left home yet.
Scammers often seek to take advantage of travelers during their trips too. While abroad, you may fall victim to physical theft or cybercrime.
Unfortunately, while you’re on holiday, you’re vulnerable.
6 Pro tips for tech-savvy travelers
When it comes to taking care of your devices and sensitive information on your trip, follow these tips to stay safe sipping your cocktail.
#1 Digitize important documents
It’s a good idea to travel with a physical copy of every important document you’ll need. Yet, in our increasingly digital world, you can’t rely on paper anymore.
The required documents for travel only increased due to the pandemic. You don’t want to be refused entry due to a misplaced document.
Take photos or scans of all your travel documents. Save copies on a phone and USB stick to make sure you don’t lose the paperwork you need.
#2 Browse public networks safely with a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Travelers converge on free Wi-Fi while abroad, but many aren’t aware of the dangers when using public networks. Hackers thrive on these weak connections, scraping for sensitive data.
Avoid password-free networks or those with generic names like “Free Public Wi-Fi”. You could be accessing your bank and emails over a scammer’s network.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) create secure pathways for safe browsing on the road. Install Surfshark VPN to hide your IP address and identity from public network snoops.
#3 Make frequent digital and physical backups
Tech gets stolen – that’s a simple truth. A study by the University of Twente found that 46% of laptop theft is perpetrated in a public location.
Sometimes you can’t avoid theft, but you can prevent the loss of data. Back up to a physical or cloud-based storage to ensure your digital assets are never gone.
The harsh reality of travel is that holiday-makers are particularly targeted by scammers. Data backups are a safety net for those traveling with tech.
#4 Install helpful travel apps
Smartphone applications have revolutionized the way we live. Advancements in-app technology have made travel more convenient, safe, and fun.
There are a few essential apps you need for your next vacation:
- Bank app(s): Easy and secure access to your funds while overseas.
- “Find my phone”: In case of theft or loss, these apps can help in a pinch.
- Translator: Your bridge between languages, a travel necessity.
- VPN app: Easily turn your VPN on or off while browsing on public Wi-Fi.
- Currency converter: A helpful converter for your money.
Travel apps provide value and convenience while you’re on holiday. Don’t forget to download your favorites before you leave.
#5 Bring a padlock
All the apps in the world won’t save your tech from physical theft. As important as cybersecurity, make sure your devices are stored securely.
Depending on your hotel or hostel, your room might come with a locker or safe. Many of these often don’t lock well or don’t even have a lock.
Bringing a physical lock on your vacation is a simple safeguard. Use it to lock your luggage or to safely house your tech while you’re out and about.
#6 Be on the lookout for scams
Protect your tech by being knowledgeable and observant while on holiday. It can help to educate yourself on common travel scams to look out for.
Here are the most common tech travel scams to be aware of:
- Fake website: A copycat website selling train tickets can run off with your holiday money. Only book tickets and accommodation from trusted websites.
- Ad scam: If the prices for those flights are too good to be true, they probably are. Fake ads selling low-priced airfares and hotels can often lead to malicious sites.
- Fake Wi-Fi: Likely with no password, a hacker’s Wi-Fi connection can hide in a crowded tourist bar. Be very careful what Wi-Fi you connect to and use a VPN.
You’re going on vacation. Time to release the stresses of life and rejuvenate. Everyone dreads being scammed before or on holiday, but the harsh reality is that many do.
Simply by being aware of what to avoid and ways to protect your gear, you should have no trouble during your time off.
Pack with care and leave your worries at home!