When travelling, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of being somewhere new and forget about safety. In truth, there are lots of ways that your identity can be stolen while you are on holiday. Make sure that you follow these crucial steps to ensure that you are as safe as possible every time you travel.
1. Leave unnecessary cards and documents behind
First, take a look at your wallet or purse before you travel. There are many things you may carry around with you that you don’t actually need while abroad. Your passport will serve as your proof of identity and you definitely need to take it, so you can leave any other identity cards and documents behind. This will include your driving license if you are not renting a car when you arrive. You won’t need credit cards except for perhaps one that you intend to use, but it is always safer just to use local currency. If you don’t need it, leave it at home!
2. Travel light
When you go out of your hotel room to explore your surroundings, you don’t need to keep everything with you. Things like passports and credit cards may not be needed while you are out and about. You certainly won’t need them to sit by the pool and sunbathe – don’t risk these items being taken out of pockets or your discarded wallet while you decide to take a dip. Make this a rule: if it’s not needed, leave it behind. This also applies to notebooks where you may have written down passwords or passcodes – if possible, use a cipher so these aren’t written anywhere. An easy cipher is to move everything one letter or number along. For example, 1234 would become 2345, and ABCD would become BCDE.
3. Keep everything stored away
Things that are left in your room aren’t automatically safe – you will need to secure them further. A good idea would be to lock them away inside your suitcase with a padlock. A room safe may also be used, though be cautious here: some of them may be easy to hack into. Make sure that you set the code yourself and that you do not write the code down anywhere, or use an obvious number such as your date of birth.
4. Check all accounts on your return
When you get home, make sure to check all of your accounts immediately. This way you will see whether there has been any suspicious activity, such as money being taken out of your bank or purchases that you did not make. You can also take the precaution of changing passwords to your email account, social media accounts, and online banking just in case there is any risk your details were compromised.
5. Use a VPN
Whenever you connect to the internet, especially while in a public place such as an internet café, make sure that you use a VPN. There are different VPNs out there to choose from, so make sure that you do your research. It’s a good idea to use VPN Compass to find the best option for your particular country. This will prevent hackers from accessing your data through your internet connection. There are lots of predators out there who will stake out public Wi-Fi hotspots, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. When you’re in a different country and can’t easily phone your bank without racking up huge bills, you don’t want to have to explain to them that you have been hacked.
With these smart safety tips, you should be able to protect your identity while you travel.