Travel tech security tips

Travel tech security tips

Summary: Whether you like holidaying with your gadgets or you're required to travel for work, there's going to come a time when you have to consider the safety of your gear, or the data it holds.


At the airport

(Airport image by Ryan Smart, royalty free)

Airports aren't as sterile and safe as you may think. While gun-toting security guards wander the halls in search of Al-Qaeda types, there are conniving thieves operating in relative anonymity. The most unfortunate news is that plenty of theft goes on behind the scenes, where you have no control. The best you can do is try to keep irreplaceable items with you and always travel with insurance.

Ironically, it's at the security gates that your expensive gadgets might go missing. Be sure not to place your laptop, phone, and other expensive items on the X-ray machine until you're almost about to pass through the metal detectors. If possible, also keep an eye on your belongings as they go through, and make sure that the person ahead of you doesn't take off with them.

When waiting for your flight to be called, make sure your laptop bag and other belongings are with you at all times. It only takes the briefest of moments for someone to snatch them. Thieves also employ tactics to distract you, while another person takes your bag when you're looking the other way. Loop the bag strap around your leg or arm while you're seated, so you'll feel a tug if someone does attempt to steal it.

Another aspect to be wary of, even if it seems highly unlikely to the average person, is that your laptop may be subjected to an airport security search. Countries like the US allow searches of internationals without warrant. If your data is precious, then it's worth the effort to encrypt and protect it.

Topics: Travel Tech, Security

Irene Mickaiel

About Irene Mickaiel

Irene is product manager in Australia for CBS Interactive sites such as CNET Australia, GameSpot,, ZDNet and TechRepublic. Before Irene became hooked on IT media, she worked on illustrated reference, lifestyle and education books.

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  • Interesting Article...

    Not every single item applies to every single person, but it is a good reminder to be vigilant. I would also say that flying first class can help avoid many of these issues as well. You usually get a separate lounge to wait in and on many flights are in a completely different part of the cabin than others. The chances of a thief paying for a first class ticket is a lot less likely.

    The one item that I disagree with is "Regularly back up your memory cards to USB drives or DVDs, and mail a copy home."
    You should use an online photo service that will let you redownload full resolution images (SmugMug is a great one) and backup nightly to it (yes, using public WiFi if necessary). This avoids the possibility of the mail getting lost or stolen.
  • Backup to cloud or disc

    That's a fair point and a very good idea. Of course, I have been in many towns in poorer countries where finding a computer with Internet is one thing, but uploading even a single high-res image is unthinkable.

    Oh how I wish I could add flying first class to my preventative steps ha!