Travel warning: all the gizmos and gadgets we carry with us daily take on a bigger dimension when traveling.
The development of new digital technologies has opened up new opportunities for travelers, but at the same time has increased exposure to scams and security risks while on the road.
You may be traveling far from home this summer, but hackers with access to your digital data are only a few keystrokes away from your bank account, credit cards and overall identity.
Many travel insurance plans now offer Identity Theft protection as an included benefit.
Besides worrying about hackers, you should also be concerned about other stuff popping up derailing your best laid travel plans. Perhaps there is a natural disaster or your baggage is lost or your flight delayed. Other stuff like illness or loss of a job could force you to pull the plug on your trip.
Are you covered for these travel scenarios?
How to Secure Your Digital Stuff?
Backup Your Documents
Scan or take pictures of your travel documents, including your passport, airline tickets, hotel reservations and insurance papers on your phone in case the originals are lost or stolen.
Sanitize Your Devices
Before leaving home, remove all non-essential personal information from your computer, phone and other devices. Make sure to set a strong password on your computer and mobile devices and look into possibly having the devices automatically wiped after a large number of incorrect password entries.
Assume Your Data Is Not Secure
Anyone can gather your data without much difficulty. Some countries monitor data and emails, while airports and hotels are generally public or semi-public internet hubs. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure your privacy and to access websites that might be blocked by local internet providers. A VPN is a private and secure internet network that you can reach via any internet connection. Never submit sensitive payment information on websites if the browser shows “http” instead of “https.” Also, turn on two factor authentication on all of your email, banking and credit card accounts as an added measure of security (provided that you can receive text messages at your destination).
There are a variety of apps that can help keep you informed and secure while on the road. The State Department’s Smart Traveler app is available free of charge from both iTunes and the Google Play store. It’s a great source of information about specific countries, travel advisories and warnings.
Don’t Fry Your Devices
Make sure that you have the right adapters. Check the tech specs of your devices and the electrical standards of your travel destinations.
Why Travel Insurance?
If You Need To Cancel Your Trip
When visiting a foreign country, chances are that you have already paid in advance for your flights, hotel rooms, and other bookings. If you do have to cancel your trip, you stand a chance to lose all of those upfront trip costs paid in advance. With travel insurance, you can relax because you can be refunded in full (for your insured pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs) if you cancel for a covered reason under the policy.
If Your Flight Gets Delayed
There is always a possibility that your flight will get delayed due to a myriad of events, and you could be stuck overnight waiting for the next flight. Travel insurance (with travel delay coverage) can cover this and ensure that you get paid out a set dollar amount to cover hotel rooms and meals while you wait for your re-scheduled flight.
If There Is A Natural Disaster At Your Destination
Natural disasters can occur at any place and at any time, and being prepared for them is essential. If there is a natural disaster that strikes in the place that you are planning to travel to, your insurance can help you get all the money back that you have spent on organizing the trip or allow you to interrupt your trip and return home (with the costs to return home as well as the remaining unused trip costs being covered).
If You Get Sick Or Injured On Your Trip
Sickness or injury can strike anywhere, and being prepared for this is absolutely critical. Travel insurance can cover the cost of medical care that you will have to incur when visiting a doctor in the place that you are traveling to and can help you get evacuated to the nearest adequate medical facility if the situation is too severe for the local medical providers to handle.
If Your Baggage is Lost, Delayed or Stolen
As unfortunate as it is, losing your baggage when traveling from one place to another is something that is incredibly common, especially when you have connecting flights that are taking you halfway across the world. If you are carrying anything that is valuable with you, and you lose your bag at the airport, travel insurance can cover the cost of those items (up to policy limits) and can also cover you if your baggage is delayed for a period of time or even stolen.
Other Travel Notes
CardTrak also advises when traveling, especially international, will likely raise red flags due to the high rate of fraudulent transactions outside the U.S. After a few transactions getting from the airport to the hotel, you may find your card(s) frozen, including ATM cards, until the financial institution knows you are making the transactions. Unfortunately, the bank or credit union will call your home phone or mobile phone. So make sure your phone will work at your destination or make sure you promptly contact the bank to avoid declined transactions.
Additionally, check out travel tips from non-profit organizations like Consumer Action. (For example: frustrating travel fees and passenger rights.)
As well as staying on top of travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State.