Travel Safety Tips You Should Know
Our cybersecurity experts share crucial travel tips that everyone should know.
The holiday travel season has arrived, and for many of us this means quality time with family, friends, and of course, relaxing with food and drinks by the fire.
But even though the holiday season means downtime with loved ones, that doesn’t mean we should fully let our guard down. Travel comes with an entirely new set of safety risks and challenges, often very different from what we’re used to at home.
To help you keep you and your online accounts safe and protected during the holiday season, we at Cyrus have put together some top travel safety tips you should know before you settle down with that glass of eggnog.
Prep with safety in mind
As any good Eagle Scout knows, the key to safety is to always be prepared—and this is 100% true when it comes to travel.
There are several important steps that you can take to protect yourself in advance when planning your vacation.
- Prepare your travel wallet. Instead of bringing all of your credit cards, debit cards, and membership cards with you abroad, select one main credit card for your trip pre-approved for purchases abroad. To be extra safe, bring a backup card safely stored in a separate location in your luggage, in case any emergency issues come up.
- Make copies of your important documents and credit cards. Keep these copies in a different place than the originals, and then take photos to keep on your phone as a third backup.
- Complete your online payments before you travel. If you pay important bills or rent online, make those payments before you leave for your trip so you don’t find yourself transmitting sensitive financial data over sketchy foreign WiFi networks.
If the local WiFi isn’t secure, consider using a virtual private network like the all-new Cyrus VPN, to keep your activity and location safe from prying eyes.
What can Cyrus VPN do?
- Mask online identity — Hide your IP addresses and appear anonymous online
- Hide your location — Select any country or region and no one will know where you really are
- Encrypt your network — All traffic and data is encrypted and invisible to outside sources
Keep important documents safe
Always keep your important documents—like your passport, driver’s license, or medical ID cards—in a secure location while traveling.
It’s also a good idea to keep copies in separate locations, so if one is lost or stolen, you won’t lose it all. And as a reminder, never ever travel with your social security card. Keep that at home.
When you get to your hotel room, store your important documents or other valuable items in the safe, along with any extra cash or credit cards. If something is lost or stolen, report it immediately. If you lose a credit card, have your bank put a stop on it. If you’re abroad and lose a passport, get in touch with your nearest embassy immediately.
Beware of travel scams
Scammers love to target travelers, and there’s no shortage of scams that have been specifically designed to take advantage of travelers who aren’t paying attention. Your best defense is to familiarize yourself with the most popular scams so you can identify and avoid them.
Some of the most common travel scams include:
- Fake listings for vacation rentals, which usually request payment in the form of a wire transfer
- Phishing sites offering free or cheap vacations in exchange for your credit card information
- Fake travel reservation websites—according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, about 15 million online hotel reservations are made on scam sites every year!
- Service providers like taxi drivers or waiters shortchanging foreigners
- Taxi drivers taking longer routes to maximize the cost of your ride
- Offers of free items, tours, or attractions, which are often used to distract you from pickpockets
- Unreliable tour operators
- “Discounted” tickets sold outside of attractions
Be on the lookout for people on the street trying to convince you of something that seems too good to be true, such as:
- If you’re told you were “specially chosen” or selected for an “award”
- If you’re asked to disclose your social security number for any reason at all
- If someone seems uneasy about disclosing specific details about the reservation or a rental
The old adage is right: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The hidden dangers of WiFi, ATMs, and Social Media
Avoid Public WiFi
When you’re traveling, do your best to avoid using public WiFi networks. If you can, try to set up a hotspot with your phone, which is significantly safer than no-password public WiFi.
If you’re in a situation where you must use public WiFi, avoid logging into financial accounts or making online payments using your credit cards. Public WiFi is often watched by hackers looking for your financial data.
A solution is to use a virtual private network (VPN) to mask your location and device identity.
An encrypted private network, such as the new Cyrus VPN, allows you to use your phone or browser anonymously, even on public WiFi networks. It’s the best way to stay invisible to hackers, and use the web safely.
Beware of sketchy ATMs
Be extremely wary of the ATMs in strange areas. Thieves often set up skimmers over ARM card slots to steal credit card information. Whenever possible, stick to ATMs inside the branches of well-known banks.
Stay safe on social
Finally, be careful about sharing photos on social media which share specific details about your location.
Thieves may target your public posts for insights into your activity in order to take advantage of you. As difficult as it may be to not post that perfect selfie in front of your hotel room, consider waiting until you’ve checked out to get those likes.
Stay safe this holiday season with Cyrus!
After your trip, it’s important to keep an eye on your bank accounts and credit reports for suspicious activity. Often, scammers may wait a few days or weeks before breaching accounts and attempting fraud with the info they may have gathered during your trip.
We know this is hard—53% of people say constantly monitoring financial activity is a challenge.
This is why it’s a great idea to use a personal security and identity theft monitoring service like Cyrus.
We created Cyrus to protect your devices and online accounts from fraud and other cyber attacks. In addition to monitoring your credit and financial activity, Cyrus offers password protection services, and sends instant alerts in the event of any unusual activity or data breaches.
Try Cyrus for free, and enjoy the most advanced personal cyber security service available anywhere, with 24/7 support.
Happy holidays from Cyrus!
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