Here’s a great article from my friend and technology expert Thomas La Fever, who discusses what to consider before you travel with tech.
Have questions on this article, or want more information on tech-related topics? Leave a note in the comments! Happy travels – Renee
4 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Traveling With Technology
By Thomas La Fever
When you go on a trip, you plan as much as you can in advance. You look up the weather, pack your clothes, and finish up that last bit of work before setting off on your adventure. But have you thought everything through? What about your personal security? As daunting as that sounds, it’s surprisingly easy to ensure your technology is protected while you are enjoying your time away. Here are four great questions to ask yourself when preparing for your trip.
1. Do I really need that?
When I travel, I’m tempted to take everything I might need, even at the cost of space for extra socks, or back pain from a heavy bag the next day. I’ve learned over the years, though, that in terms of traveling with my technology, less is better.
On top of packing fewer items, it also means I only need to worry about one or two things. I have my trusty laptop and my phone, and that’s all I need. If I lose my bag, I still have a computer at home, and I can track my laptop with my phone and vice versa. It also means that I focus more on my trip and less on my technology.
2. Is this backed up?
Photos of your dog in an adorable outfit? Previous vacation pics? Important documents? Items that spark the memory of a time before or that let us enjoy new moments are important to keep safe, and that’s why backing them up to a cloud service or physical storage device at home can make a world of difference for your peace of mind. Getting these types of services set up is simple, and using them retroactively takes only a few moments and ensures that even a lost or damaged device won’t stop you from showing all your friends those great beach shots.
Another great application of this question is tickets. Whenever I have to travel and need a ticket of some sort, I love the option of using my smartphone as it keeps things organized and simple. However, I always ask for a physical copy of my ticket that I keep in my bag. That way, there is a backup in case my phone dies or is misplaced.
3. Is this the safest it can be?
Before leaving for a trip, I’ll stop and make sure that I have the latest updates done on my computer and phone. Updates aren’t just for new features. They come packed full of new protections and security patches that continually keep your devices safe.
While this is a good way of keeping the device at a baseline of standard protection, here are a few other ways to increase your safety:
- Use a pin or password to lock your device. Keep it locked or off when not in use.
- Install an antivirus program to keep your devices protected 24/7.
- Store your devices in a locked bag or safe when not in use.
- Keep your device in a case to prevent it from breaking if you drop it.
There are a lot of different ways to keep your devices as safe as possible, but following the above steps will give you a strong foundation to sit back, relax, and enjoy some worry-free time.
4. Do I recognize this?
With the rise of unlimited data plans, connecting to WiFi while on the go is becoming less and less of an occurrence for me. But sometimes, if I really need to have that bump in speed or I can’t download a picture due to a lack of service, I’ll connect to a public (unprotected) network. However, this can be very dangerous and should only be done if you have a VPN.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service or application that hides your internet traffic from external access., If a hacker or cybercriminal wanted to see what I was doing or steal my info on that unprotected network, they would only see encrypted data that would make no sense. There are multiple uses for a VPN even outside of travel. If you want to know more, here is a very helpful article.
Make sure to use your own personal charging bricks, and when possible, use wireless charging for your smartphone. Be wary of USB ports and what you connect your device to in a public area.
These questions only scratch the surface of what you can accomplish for your personal device security, but utilizing them will go a long way in keeping you and your data safe.
Let me know what you think about these questions, and what you do to keep your technology secure in your travels.