Traveling is an inevitable activity, be it for business or leisure. And for anyone who will be away from home, it’s important to know how to keep valuables safe while traveling. Theft could happen and if you’re not careful, criminals may take hold of your personal information, more so if you’re carrying highly confidential documents. Passports, boarding pass, IDs, and other business documents are precious than wads of money.
Here, I listed some safety tips that you can use to protect your identity from theft while you travel.
1. Use an organized document holder
Can you imagine tossing everything inside your bag? Unorganized passport, tickets, and other personal documents make you an easy prey to identity theft. You’ll never know if you lost or someone stole your personal files. A document holder can be a simple bag where you’ll store all your IDs and other business records in case of a formal trip.
It’s advisable to use multiple holders so the thieves won’t get away with everything in one picking. If you’re dealing with business people, it wouldn’t be wise to hand over all your documents at once. It’s better to have a photocopy of everything.
2. Check-in on hotels with in-room safes
Theft in hotel rooms happen from time to time, and no matter how safe you feel, you should consider getting a room with a safe. It’s not a hundred percent foolproof but it will definitely raise your document’s safety a big notch. Just remember that hotel staffs have a way of overriding your code, especially if you used a no-brainer one. If you want to know how to keep valuables safe while traveling, use a BloXsafe lock.
BloXsafe is a steel ratchet-like bracket that you can attach to your hotel safe. This has a key feature that only you have access to. You can also use this on typical drawers if ever you can’t find a hotel with a safe.
3. Be cautious about public computers
There’s a single reason why you shouldn’t trust public computers: it’s public. Anyone can install a spyware or malicious software that will access your documents or online accounts. Such software can record keystrokes to recognize passwords. If you’re using it for online banking, emailing, or buying something, you’re exposed to a high risk of identity and money theft.
If you think you’ll need to access the internet on your travel, bring your own device or finish your transactions before you leave home. Computers on hotels or cafés are no exception no matter how safe they advertise it. Anti-viruses aren’t enough to secure your browsing.
4. Don’t lose your mobile phone
It’s not just your physical documents that you should guard during your travel, mobile phones are massive sources of personal information. Chances are you have your email, online banking, and other accounts logged in on your phone. If someone stole it, he will never have a hard time using your information for shady exploits. You should know how to keep valuables safe while traveling, both digital and physical.
If everything comes to worse, make sure that you use an app like Lockwatch. It takes photos of someone who will try to unlock your phone with the wrong key. This photo will be sent to your email together with the GPS location of the thief. It may not bring your phone back but you can present solid evidence to the authorities for a possible arrest.
5. Leave your work laptop at home
If possible, minimize your devices when you travel. It’s advisable to just leave your work laptop at home if you’re not going for a business trip. Laptops are hot items for thieves who victimize traveling individuals, especially foreigners.
If you can’t leave your laptop, make sure that you use a laptop cable whenever you’re using it outdoors. A laptop cable can be attached to a heavy object like a chair or a table. If you’re leaving it inside the hotel, hang the ‘Do not disturb’ sign so no one hotel staff will go inside. Even if you do this, make sure that your laptop isn’t sitting in plain view.
6. Install a VPN before using a public Wi-Fi
VPN is very accessible, especially if you’re handling a business. If you have access to one, maximize it during your trip as to how to keep valuables safe while traveling. Public Wi-fi is the lair of online thieves who skim through private accounts with ease. With a VPN, you’re browsing history will be encrypted and you’ll have additional security on your cloud assets, especially if you store digital copies of your documents. Using a VPN may cost more on your cellular fees but it’s better than having your personal information stolen.
If you’re not a techie one, you can use a privacy screen. This is a removable film you can attach to your laptop if ever you’re using it on a train or any public places.
7. Password-protect everything if possible
Make passwords work for you. Passwords protect your phone, digital documents, and even your luggage. You can buy code locks or laptop cables that have one and use it on your belongings.
It’s not just about using a password, make sure that it’s hard to guess. Thieves get away with confidential documents because of weak combinations like 1234 and 0000.
Remember not to write passwords on one sheet of paper. It’s better to memorize it if you want to succeed on how to keep valuables safe while traveling. Also, log out all your accounts from your mobile phone and laptop so thieves won’t have access to it if ever you lose any.
8. Change your passwords after the trip
So you made it home without a hiccup. With secured documents and devices, you’re safe from fraud. Nope, you shouldn’t take chances. If you used public Wi-fi or logged in on a public computer, you should change your passwords right away. This is a big hassle for you but it will definitely save from serious trouble in the future.
9. Disable USB ports on your device if not in use
Disabling the USB ports on your laptop will prevent any attempt of data transfer. You can disable the ports on your BIOS setting and don’t forget to set a password for it so the thief won’t succeed in unlocking the ports. To make sure that no one can get away with your digital documents, place an epoxy adhesive on the port. This is very useful if you’re leaving your laptop in the hotel.
As for the epoxy, make sure that you won’t stuff too much to the point of ruining your laptop. If you can’t successfully block it with stuff, just disable it in the settings as a way of how to keep valuables safe while traveling.
10. Never ask a stranger to look after your things
This is a no-brainer when you’re traveling, Asking strangers in the airport or the hotel to look for your thing is like giving it away to them. If you have to go to the bathroom, endure the hassle of bringing everything with you. When you’re going through a security check, keep your eye on your valuables. Criminals take advantage of your absentmindedness during this routine.
If you’re in the hotel and have to leave your things, ask the front desk about it. Like what I said earlier, lock everything. Also, don’t use laptop bags. Store your device in a backpack or a rucksack.
11. Always hand-carry your devices if possible
Never check-in your laptop on your luggage if you’re traveling by airplane or train. Still, you should know the airline rules about this as some countries don’t allow the possession of laptops in the passenger area. As much as possible, hand-carry your valuables like your documents and devices. Just ensure that you have it secured before sleeping.
Having a small sling bag will be advisable on how to keep valuables safe while traveling. Don’t store your laptop in the overhead compartment as it may fall once the door is opened. You can request for a non-bulkhead seat so you can place your laptop in an under-seat compartment.
12. Shred confidential documents
It’s always best to shred your confidential documents and just bring with you digital copies. If you’re out for a business trip, you can use a public shredder to dispose of your transaction documents that you already scanned and saved. Just make sure that the shredder has at least P-4 level of security.
If you’re flying across countries, shred your used boarding passes. Throwing it in the trash won’t be a good idea. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t shred everything. You should sort out those that you can store on your mobile phone or laptop.
If you know how to keep valuables safe while traveling, you won’t be a victim of identity theft. You should pair these safety tips with alertness so thieves won’t stand a chance to get their hands on your belongings. Are you traveling with confidential documents? Let us help you secure your papers in the comment section!