If you’re a true techie, the only time you really unplug is when you’re sleeping. And that means that when you travel, your tech travels with you.
But beware. There’s, potentially, a very big downside to that: theft.
We’re not just talking about someone running off with your tech bag (which could happen). These days, tech thieves can steal sensitive information off your device without ever physically touching it! And then, even worse, it’s not just your tech being stolen but your identity, too.
So how can you keep your information and your travel tech from being pilfered by bandits? Use the tips below, that’s how!
What follows are the best travel gadgets to keep you and your tech safe on your journey. Protect yourself with these top travel tech tips.
Apps and Gadgets For Cyber Security
Traveling with your wirelessly connectible devices puts all your most sensitive information at great risk. If you’re not careful, it opens more opportunities for cybercriminals to steal your information or even your money.
Most of us, when traveling, make use of many unsecured networks shared with thousands of anonymous strangers. These shared connections make it easy for cybercriminals to access your personal passwords, credit card numbers, and other secure info. They can then use this info to assume your identity and access your many online accounts, such as PayPal.
Here are the apps and gadgets you need to ensure your private info stays private.
A Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is without a doubt your most important tool for preventing cybertheft while traveling. It encrypts information on your device before anyone can see it. And it masks your connection information, such as your IP address and location.
How does it do this? Basically, it sets up sort of a “middleman” between your device and the online content you are accessing.
Masking Your Online Identity/Activity
Normally, your online activity is open for the online world to see. Any tech-savvy interested parties can look up your IP address, your online history, even your physical location any time you access online content.
But a VPN runs your connection through a VPN server before it gets to the content. Anyone watching sees only the VPN server accessing the content, not you. Running your connection through the VPN server also encrypts your information before anyone can see it.
This is another important feature of using a VPN while traveling.
With a VPN, you don’t use an IP address based on your location. You use the IP address of the VPN server. Changing the location of your IP address allows you to access apps or websites that may be restricted in the country you’re traveling to.
For example, many countries don’t allow you to access Netflix during your stay. But if you’re using the IP address of a U.S.-based VPN server, you can enjoy uninterrupted access.
Just be sure to research the legality of using VPN in the desired location. This is a relatively new technology, so the laws regarding its use are likely subject to change.
Now, what if the cyberthief isn’t after your devices? They may go right for what’s in your wallet.
Today, they don’t even need to pick your pocket to steal your credit cards. They simply need to get a scanner close enough to create a clone of the card’s RFID chip.
Fortunately, there is now a myriad of RFID-blocking wallets/wallet accessories to protect against this type of theft. Unfortunately, some RFID-scanning technology is still powerful enough to get through these wallets.
That’s why we recommend something a little stronger: the Armourcard. The Armourcard is a fully-functional signal-jammer that’s the same size and shape as a credit card. It sits in your wallet and electronically transmits a signal that jams RFID-scanning technology.
Its $50 price tag is a small price to pay compared to having all your cards stolen.
EMP Protective Pouches
Thieves aren’t the only thing you need to protect against. Here’s a travel tech risk you may not have thought about: EMP blasts.
Now, you’re probably thinking that the likelihood of a significant solar storm or EMP attack in your vicinity is too slim to worry about. And if it did happen, and kill all technology for miles in every direction, a broken laptop is the least of your worries, right?
Don’t be so sure. It may be a slim chance, but it’s also a big emergency.
Being one of the few people in the entire city who can still use a flashlight or two-way radio would be a Godsend. Anyone who considers themselves prepared by packing such items would do well to have them protected.
That’s why companies like Tech Protect have designed military-grade EMP bags and faraday cages to prepare for such emergencies. These EMP-proof containers preserve all tech inside from EMP blasts.
Travel Tech For Personal Safety and Security
Now that you know how to keep your tech safe, let’s check out how your tech can keep you safe. Here are the best technologies for safety and security while traveling.
Pack Extra Lives
By now, smartphones have become an ingrained staple of the modern age. As such, we sometimes forget that this thing we use to make funny faces on Snapchat is our most important emergency-preparedness tool.
We use it to look up directions, call for help, and see in the dark. Well, until the battery runs out, that is.
Aside from convenience, it’s essential for emergencies that you bring plenty of power banks and charging cords on your journey. It’s a good idea to keep these prepacked in your usual travel bag at all times so you’ll never forget them.
And if survival is what you’re going for, you can’t beat the BEARTWO Splashproof Portable Solar Charger. The water-resistant power bank charges in sunlight so you’ll always have a way to recharge your devices.
It can charge two devices at once and doubles as a solar flashlight with a super-bright, built-in LED. That’s a lot of emergency-preparedness for only $27.
GoTenna Mesh Portable GPS Devices
Going on a cross-country backpacking trek through the Himalayas? You can’t expect to get cell coverage there. But your trekking party can still stay safe and connected with GoTennas.
These portable GPS devices don’t require any WiFi connection or mobile data. They connect to each other wirelessly for up to 3 miles.
Just download the app on your phone and you can see the location of your traveling partners as long as they’re in range. You can even use the app to text each other.
It’s sort of like bringing a short-range cell tower with you, or a long-range walkie-talkie.
“Baby Monitors” (Home Surveillance Apps)
Don’t like the idea of leaving your home unwatched when you travel? Watch it yourself!
There are plenty of high-quality home surveillance apps you can download for cheap. Simply set up a camera system and you can watch your home from the app at any time. This is a good option if you can’t get a housesitter or afford a professionally monitored home security service like ADT Security.
But the system that one-ups all the rest is the Ring Wi-Fi-Enabled Video Doorbell. In addition to video surveillance, it has a motion sensor and can warn intruders they are being monitored to deter unlawful entry. That means it will also alert you of any such activity.
It is compatible with certain Alexa devices for voice-activated control. And for $3 per month, it allows you to record and share video.
Portable, Personal Alarms
Now that your home is safe during your travels, what about your current lodgings? Protect your home-away-from-home with a travel-friendly, personal security alarm.
There are plenty of motion-sensor or button-activated alarms you can find to secure any temporary residence cheaply and uninvasively. Most are about the size of a flash drive so you can pack plenty without occupying too much luggage space.
If your travel destination neighboorhood seems a little sketchy, bring some doorway alarms. Attach them to each doorway to alert you if anyone enters. You can set these up to go off if anyone opens your luggage, too.
The B A S U Personal Alarm works similar to a rape whistle. Simply pull the pin to set off an extremely loud siren that sounds for thirty minutes or until you shut it off.
This alarm is TSA approved so you can keep it in your carry-on bag (or your keychain) on the airplane. That way, it’s on-hand before you even get to the baggage claim.
Stay Safe With This Travel Tech
Traveling is meant to be a healthy, inspiring, and wonderful experience. It can open our minds, expand our horizons, make us grow in ways that nothing else can. It should never be a painful memory of that time you had your identity stolen, your home broken into, and your PayPal account hacked.
Don’t be an easy target. Keep yourself and your travel tech safe and secure by following these tips.
Want even more travel tips? You got it! If you’re planning an extended stay for educational purposes, check out our Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad.