An abundance of online resources and cheap international travel render border-hopping easier than ever for those bitten by the travel bug. While smartphones, external hard drives and cloud storage simplify accessing your personal information on the go.
Unfortunately, this powerful pocket technology also makes it necessary for you to guard your information like a hawk from identity theft, unauthorized transactions and data smugglers. Find out how below.
Tips for before you leave
- Travel intelligently – use a travel carrier when out and about. An organized travel carrier that loops around your neck and contains a clear window able to hold your passport, credit card, emergency cash and/or traveler’s check, is invaluable. These carriers can be situated under clothing, so your most irreplaceable documents are hidden from view and accessible only by you. For ladies, there are Rack Traps, special hidden bra-compartments specifically designed for carrying cash and credit cards
- Be cognizant of hidden fees, currency change charges and country-specific quirks when traveling with your credit card. Avoid paying an astronomical exchange rate or usage fee by inquiring about them beforehand.
- Secure your person before you secure your personal belongings. Remember that no matter how valuable your iPad or the contents of your wallet, the value of your body trumps it. In the unlikely event that you are faced with a physical threat, as long as you remain unscathed, the information or cash that you’re trying to protect can always be recovered or replaced. Consider take a self-defense course before you travel abroad so that you feel prepared with an appropriate response if something were to happen. Check out Antor.org‘s guide to self-defense for travelers for more information.
- Lost your passport? Breathe easy. Passports are no longer just paper booklets filled with handwritten personal information and faded stamps of traveled-to countries. In the last decade, passports have become a high-tech tool: tracking device, information recorder and scan-able data hub, all in one. The US electronic passport, for instance, contains an integrated circuit computer chip embedded with your personal information and a headshot to prevent identity theft and personal crime.
But what if your data is “skimmed” or “eavesdropped” from the passport by a sly tech-savvy criminal? The Department of State has taken several steps against this by encrypting your data and making it unalterable. The biometric properties of modern passports make identity theft virtually impossible. Even in the worst case scenario of losing your passport, it is highly unlikely that a criminal could exploit, thanks to this new technology.