1. In Your House
Before leaving on your trip – stop your mail/package deliveries so your personal information won’t be vulnerable. Leave some lights on, have your lawn mowed – don’t alert intruders you are gone.
Make sure your important documents and electronics are packed in your carry on bag. Don’t leave to chance someone else being able to access information through your checked bags when flying or bags aren’t in your possession.
3. Your Wallet
It’s a good idea to pare down your wallet before your trip. Leave your checkbook at home, take only a couple credit cards, and travel as light as possible. I also suggest traveling with a RFID blocking wallet or bag. This will help prevent skimmers from stealing your credit card or passport information.
4. Identity Theft Protection
I suggest you consider purchasing an identity theft protection program. It’s helpful in alerting changes to credit reports, accounts and providing coverage if your identity is stolen.
5. Passport/Important Documents
Making copies of all your travel documents, credit cards and passport before you leave on your next trip will save you a ton of time if you have any of these items stolen! Leave copies with family members not joining you or have accessible digital copies. If you lose (or have stolen) your passport or credit card don’t forget to immediately report the loss to your bank and/or local embassy/consulate.
6. Credit/Debit Cards
There are quite a few ways you can product your identity with your card use. First; before your trip – sign up for charge alerts and inform your bank (and card companies) where you’ll be traveling. Adding a PIN # to your credit card is also an extra layer of security. If it gets stolen it won’t be able to be used as easily. Use credit cards or cash when you travel (debit cards are much harder to dispute charges or withdrawals). Get cash at bank ATM’s – other locations are more popular with skimmers. Lastly – don’t let your card out of your sight when making a purchase or paying at a restaurant.
7. Computer/Cell Phone/Wi-Fi
Before departing make sure you have strong passwords, update all software, and activate the tracking devices. A few other tips include be careful using public wi-fi, use a personal hotspot if possible, protect your data by using a VPN and disabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not using. Lastly – my husband and I started traveling with an inexpensive laptop (no information stored on it) to cut back on safety issues.
8. Use a Safe
If there’s a safe available at your destination – I recommend using it to store your passport, documents and cash. Don’t trust having your valuables lying around or have all those things on you if you’re only sightseeing for the day.
9. Social Media
Posting live on social media is an invitation to thieves while you’re traveling (it also shows your house is empty). The best case scenario is to share photos when you’re home. If you can’t wait to make your friends and family jealous – then I suggest you wait a day or two and don’t post in real time. 🙂
10. After Your Trip
When returning home from vacation there a few extra measures you can take to make sure your identity is safe. Check your credit reports, credit card charges, and receipts – also shred boarding passes and hotel keys (info is stored on those!). For extra measure change your passwords on frequently used accounts and apps while you were gone.
This all may sound overwhelming – but with a bit of foresight and caution; the odds are better keeping your information safe while traveling!
Until the next adventure – bon voyage!