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.


Top 10 crazy, but useful, tips

(Worker adjusts watch image by 2020VG, royalty free)

Some of the best tricks don't require deep pockets. Here are a few clever suggestions to try out on the road:

  1. If you've got a long camera strap, then hook the camera to your belt. This may protect it from hitting the ground when dropped, and may even stop a snatch attempt.

  2. Tape your shiny new camera or laptop with scungy old electrical tape and stickers to make it look old and ratty.

  3. Plaster your bags with locks. They may be cheap, easily cracked or broken locks, but they'll make the bag next to yours look like a much more attractive target. Sorry, bag next door!

  4. Regularly back up your memory cards to USB drives or DVDs, and mail a copy home.

  5. Remove or cover any brand labels on your carry bags, and rub it with sandpaper and some dirt to make it look old. The less you advertise, the better.

  6. Use a security cable or bicycle lock to tie your locked suitcase or laptop bag down to an immovable piece of furniture in your hotel room for things that won't fit in a hotel safe. Also, if you have to put your laptop bag on the floor when out and about, try to put the strap around your chair or table leg, or even your own leg, to prevent bag snatchers.

  7. Buy a cheap watch, rather than pulling your smartphone out to check the time.

  8. Get a waterproof bag from a dive shop. If your bag takes a dip when moving from jetty to boat or back, at least your essential electronics will survive. Zip-lock bags for your electronic gear are equally helpful, and they come in a range of sizes.

  9. If you're catching a sleeper, dim the lights on your phone, camera, or MP3 player to avoid drawing attention in the dark. Also consider sleeping with your most valuable items in one bag, which you can hug like a childhood teddy bear or even use as a pillow, also placing the strap around your arm.

  10. Scan or take a photo of your passport, travel documents, credit card, insurance policy, and visas, then save it to an encrypted USB drive or other storage device — and even email it to yourself. That way, should you lose any of your documents, you'll have an electronic version as a backup. Just be sure not to keep it in the same place as your passport.

Be safe and vigilant at all times, and remember that you're not on your home turf, and thieves know the lay of the land better than you do. Never leave your belongings lying around, and, to put it simply, don't trust anyone.

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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!