Travel

How Smart Travelers Stay Safe

smart traveler

Vacation season is right around the corner!  Getting away is always a fantastic thing, whether you’re backpacking through Europe, making for a romantic getaway to a crystal clear beach, or planning a trip for the entire family to enjoy.  While it’s an exciting thing to plan, there are some steps you should take to secure your safety while you’re on vacation.  They’ll help you make sure you have a good time without coming home with the headache of identity theft.

 

Think Twice Before Purchasing Online

It can seem convenient to purchase tickets and reservations online.  In many cases, it’s perfectly safe, too.  But in order to protect yourself, you want to make 100% sure you’re using a secure website.  On a trip to Mexico, we thought we’d save time and cab fare by purchasing some bus tickets online.  Luckily, we didn’t, as it turns out that the website is known to be insecure, and that there was no guarantee that our tickets would be there waiting for us, nonetheless our identities.  If you have a question about the reputation of a website or business, hold off until you can exchange goods in person, preferably by paying cash.

 

Lockdown Your Wallet

Canadians and Europeans have been using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology on their credit cards for a while, but it’s a relatively new phenomenon in the US.  Instead of swiping the way we are used to, they have a chip that scans quickly and easily.  If you check your wallet, you may already have some of these chipped cards whether you’re aware of it or not.  These cards make check out a breeze, but they also make it really easy for someone with basic technology to scan your information, even through your wallet, and especially in crowded places.  They can swipe passport information the same way: just by standing close to you.  You can protect against this type of theft by carrying your cards in an RFID-blocking wallet.  Some of our favorite styles come from TravelSmith.

 

Carry-On

Traveling with only carry-on luggage isn’t just a budget-cutting measure; it can also protect you against theft.  I’ve had airport employees attempt to steal items out of my carry-ons as they were going through an x-ray machine while I was watching, so you can only imagine what goes on behind-the-scenes when no one is looking.  Packing light and efficiently allows you to keep an eye on your belongings at all times.  If you’re having trouble fitting everything, try rolling your clothes instead of folding them, “packing” eBooks on your device as opposed to lugging around physical tomes, and paring down the number of shoes you’ll need for a one week vacation.

If you must bring additional luggage that needs to be checked, make sure it does not contain anything valuable or irreplaceable.  Important documents are one example, but you should also be wary of checking laptops or other valuable electronics, expensive jewelry, or prescription drugs that are either expensive or essential to your health.