Maybe you have wanderlust. Maybe you have to travel all the time for work. Whatever the reason behind it, you spend a lot of time away from home. Sometimes the trips are just a couple of days long. Other times the trips can last for weeks or even months at a time. There are a lot of reasons that traveling, even for vacation, can be stressful. Safety, however, is usually what tops the list. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping yourself, your stuff, and your home safe as you travel the country (or the globe).
Assuming that you don’t have a spouse or a roommate, the last thing you want is for your home to sit obviously empty for long periods of time. To do so is to invite trouble. Many frequent travelers have house sitters stop by and check on things periodically or, for longer trips, move in temporarily. Another good option is to install a security system. ADT security experts recommend having at least a basic alarm installed. For frequent travelers, however, upgrading to an automated system, the kind that turns your lights on and off, etc., is a worthy expense.
Banks have largely gotten hip to the fact that identity theft is rampant. They will flag and likely even deny any purchase that you try to make when you are on the road and away from your home base. To keep yourself from becoming locked out of your account, call your bank and your credit card companies before you take off. Let them know where you will be traveling, any layovers/stop offs you have and how long you will be gone. This way you don’t have to risk having your cards declined on the road.
It is also a good idea to have an account with a money transfer company. PayPal, for example, allows users to quickly exchange funds from one currency to another. This way if you are running out of funds while you travel you can have friends or family send you money quickly without it costing them a bunch of money or hassle.
Finally, make sure you have a chip card. Mag strip cards are targets for identity thieves and other thieves who might want to steal your funds (there are devices that will allow them to steal your account info just by getting close to your card). Chip cards are safer for many reasons.
Speaking of identity theft, it is important to take steps to protect your identity when you travel. You likely already know most protective steps to take to protect your identity electronically. You know about two-factor authorization, encryption, VPNs, etc. Let’s take a minute to talk about “old school” methods of protecting your identity.
Always use your own machines and make sure you keep track of them. Don’t leave your phone, tablet, or laptop sitting around at a cafe table while you get up to order another coffee. Make sure your spyware is up to date and your firewalls are turned all of the way up. Use a screen protector to keep wandering eyes from seeing any user names you might type in. Turn off the automatic wi-fi on your devices as well.
Knowing what to do if someone tries to harass or attack you is imperative for those of you who travel all of the time, especially if you are traveling to places with far more flexibility with regards to “personal space” than we do here in the United States and very especially if you are female. Sorry to sound sexist ladies but women are at a higher risk of harassment and attack pretty much everywhere. Carrying pepper spray, having emergency apps installed on your phone, knowing basic self defense–all of these are good ideas. Switching out the shoulder bag for a cross body bag is smart. Know how to carry yourself and comport yourself with confidence to reduce your chances of dealing with trouble.
Safety is vital all of the time, but you need to step up your efforts when you travel, especially if you travel a lot. Use these tips to help stay as safe as possible.