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Digital Safety While Traveling: A Brief Guide

When travelling, most throw caution to the wind. And that’s understandable – holidays are an escape from the daily grind.

But as you check emails while waiting for your grande Cappuccino… danger lurks.

At the other end of the airport coffee shop, a fellow traveller is catching up on work… but they aren’t writing an expense report.

Nope. Instead, they’re capturing passwords from unaware travellers.

This is just one of many digital risks you’ll face on the road. But by taking a few common sense precautions, you can avoid these pitfalls.

Cloak Your IP When Using Public WiFi

A slimy hacker getting their hands on your data… it’s enough to make your skin crawl. 

But what can you do? Sometimes, you NEED to jump online while travelling. If your SIM from home doesn’t work abroad, connecting to airport WiFi might be your only option.

Mobile VPNs shine in these situations. They encrypt your connection when you connect to their servers. Think of an ironclad tunnel, linking your device to a public WiFi source.

To a hacker, data sent along this “tunnel” is essentially invisible (it appears as indecipherable garbage). So by deploying a VPN app immediately after going online, you can keep baddies at bay.

BONUS: Want to watch your favourite shows… anywhere in the world? Use your VPN’s hide IP function. Do this, and you can watch Hulu from Argentina. Or South Africa. Or… wherever.

Destroy Foreign SIM Cards After Use

Some mobile providers prey on vacationing customers. Back in 2013, watching twelve hours of YouTube cost Canadian traveller Matt Buie $22,000.

Because of this, many travellers will buy a local SIM card upon arrival in a foreign country. But what happens when the trip ends?

Most toss their SIM chip in the trash. Big mistake.

Your name is attached to this SIM card. Even after it expires, a crook can easily recharge your account and steal your information. They can even use your identity to commit crimes.

So before disposing of a foreign SIM card – destroy it. Step on it, cut it… whatever will render the card unusable.

Be Mindful Of Your Surroundings When Using Your Phone

Got your phone on a plan? If you did… take a second to check its resale value.

For example, the iPhone 15 goes for as much as 1,200 USD. That’s 1-2 month’s wages in some countries.

So if you’re on your phone constantly, be careful. All it takes is a moment for an opportunistic street criminal to swipe your Samsung.

Always be aware of your surroundings. In crowded areas, keep your phone in your pocket – and if you need to use it, step into a secure area like a shop.

Lastly, take steps to limit damage if someone does jack your phone. Biometric locks work best, as smudge marks make it fairly easy to crack most passcodes. 

And enable your phone’s kill switch functionality – that way, you’ll prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.  

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