With travel restrictions lightening up just about everywhere, more and more people are starting to spend vacation time away from home again. While it is exciting to go on an adventure somewhere new, safety must always be a top priority.

Some of the best ways to maintain your safety involve using technology wisely.  From cyber security to your own physical well-being, technology has a more considerable impact on safety than you may realize. If you’re planning a trip, here are some tips to put your mind at ease.

Notify People You Trust (And Don’t Trust Too Easily)

A good rule of thumb is always to notify people where you are going, when you leave, and when you plan to return. This can be as simple as a quick email or text and is an excellent way to make sure your location is known if you plan to be in unfamiliar places. Of course, you should only ever discuss your itinerary with people you know well and feel good about. Don’t trust too easily: while it may be fun to make new friends on your vacation, it’s always safest to keep key details to yourself. Try to keep personal and contact information private and only share the most anonymous means of communication when possible. And, if you ever feel like someone you just met is being too friendly or asking too many questions, trust your gut! It’s better to seem rude than to put yourself in danger.

Don’t Post Your Trip 

While it may be tempting to post photos of your most recent adventures right away, this is not a good idea. Though it may sound far-fetched, posting pictures frequently when traveling, especially if you’re alone, can be dangerous for multiple reasons. 

First, making note of travel pictures has been a popular method for burglars, since it basically tells them who is and isn’t at home. By posting where they are or how long they will be gone, travelers make it simple for robbers to case their homes, leading to much higher rates of break-ins. To be on the safe side, be sure to post only after you’ve returned home!

Second, when you post where you are, it can notify unsavory people of your location. Even if you don’t include a location tag, people can sometimes easily discern where you are based on your background. Rather than giving potentially creepy people your exact whereabouts, wait to post until after you have left the location, or, better yet, the entire city!

Cyber Security

With technology advancing at a remarkable rate, it has never been easier to steal someone’s information. From being able to scan your credit card to hacking into your devices, criminals have plenty of methods for gathering data. One of the easiest ways you can protect yourself is through a VPN. If you like to travel with your laptop or don’t want to spend extra on mobile data, it is necessary to log into public Wi-Fi. Plenty of people do this on a regular basis, but not everyone realizes the risks of doing so. Despite being very convenient, unsecured Wi-Fi is a quick way for hackers to steal data, which makes having a VPN and connecting to a secure link vital. Even with something so simple, you can provide an extra layer of protection and have one less thing to worry about during your trip.

Print Documentation

While it may seem to be more convenient to have all of your documents saved digitally, there are plenty of ways that this can go wrong. Having your phone die, get stolen, or simply break could result in you being stranded. Unfortunately, phones have become almost too useful, making it easy to rely on them too much. It is always a safe bet to have hard copies of all important documents, especially for things like insurance or tickets. It is also smart to have physical copies of maps and addresses, just in case you get stranded without a phone. If you’re traveling abroad and want to be especially prepared, it pays to memorize emergency contact information as well as contact information for embassies.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

This may seem obvious, but always try to be aware of your surroundings. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of visiting a new place, which is part of what makes tourists easy targets. Something as innocent as taking your phone out to snap a photo can mark you as a potential victim of pickpockets and other unsavory folks. Always try to be cognizant of your surroundings and exercise caution anytime you travel; this is the best way to keep yourself safe.

Know Your Route

Knowing exactly how to get where you need to be, even without a digital map or GPS, is an excellent way to keep yourself safe. Even just having confidence when walking around makes you less of a target, and it can only benefit you to be familiar with different routes and transportation options. Booking a service such as a private van shuttle to get from place to place is also a safe bet, especially considering traveling by taxi or ride shares may be risky. There is no such thing as being too cautious!

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