How to keep all your devices safe when traveling

How to keep all your devices safe when traveling

The world is more connected than ever before – even on vacation. If you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’ll likely be taking a device, or two, or three with you. Learn how to keep your cell phone, laptop, tablet, and other devices, as well as the information stored on them, safe and secure with BBB’s cybersecurity tips for travelers.

How to stay secure while traveling

  • Only take what you need. Do you need your cellphone, tablet, and your laptop? Limit yourself to the bare necessities, remembering that any devices you take with you will need looking after.
  • Keep an eye on your stuff. Never leave your devices unattended or in the care of a stranger. If you need to leave them in your hotel room, consider locking them in a safe or in your luggage. If you need another latte while catching up on remote work at a local coffee shop, take your laptop to the counter instead of leaving it on the table. This will keep your information and device safe from prying eyes and thieves waiting for their next opportunity.
  • Be careful about how you charge up. Portable chargers or wall outlets are preferable if you need to charge your device in a public space like a coffee shop or an airport. If you must use a public USB port, avoid potential “juice jacking” by choosing to charge only - without sharing data - when prompted by your device.
  • Check your settings. Adjust your settings to prepare for travel. Turn off the auto-join feature to avoid connecting to shady Wi-Fi hotspots as you travel. Turn on the “find my phone” feature so you can track your device if it gets lost and disable it if it’s stolen. Check the privacy and security settings on apps and web services, and adjust them if needed.
  • Always enable password protection. Make sure your devices require a password to unlock them. Use a strong password, PIN, fingerprint, or facial scan to ensure a stranger can’t unlock your device.
  • Keep your antivirus up to date. Before you leave, ensure your antivirus software is up to date on all your devices. Once you return home, run a scan to make sure you didn’t pick up any malware during your travels.
  • Back up your files. Back up your photos, files, and any other important digital data you have before and during your trip. That way, you won’t lose your valuable information if your device gets lost or stolen.
  • If you stream, don’t forget to log out. If you log into any streaming service while away from home, log out before leaving. If you stay signed in, the next visitor to the space can not only use your subscription; they can even access admin controls to change your password or get a hold of your payment information. If you realize you didn’t log out after you arrived home, don’t panic. Visit the streaming service online, head to your account settings, and choose the option that allows you to log out on all devices.
  • Use secure Wi-Fi networks. Think twice before using public Wi-Fi networks, especially if they aren’t password protected. Never make a purchase or login into accounts while on public Wi-Fi. Bad actors could be “eavesdropping” on your connection, waiting for you to reveal sensitive, personal information. Wait until you can access a secure network to carry out important transactions. Or, if you have a cellular connection, use your phone as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot.

For more information

Visit the BBB Travel HQ for more ways to plan and enjoy traveling, while staying safe from scams. If your next trip is work-related, visit BBB’s Business Travel HQ too.

Also, check out BBB's tips for protecting your personal information when traveling