With all the already implied stresses of travel: Will your bags arrive at the correct airport? Will you make it to the train station on time? Will the hotel still have your reservation in their system? There is no need to add a stolen identity to the list. You should be able to enjoy your trip! Whether you're leaving town for business or pleasure, you must always stay alert. But do not worry. There are simple ways to take precautions; some that may even seem like a no brainer.
These days, who carries cash anymore? Credit and debit cards are so easy to use and they take up less space in your wallet. Some cards even give you rewards after each use. However, your personal information is on the card. All it takes is for one server at a restaurant or one bar tender to write down your card numbers while you're paying, and keep them for their personal records. Have you ever opened a tab at a bar? Of course that's easier than paying for each item you order as you go. But the risk is higher for your information to be stolen. By using cash for meals at restaurants or at bars, you can keep this worry at bay.
Unless you're in a location with your bank branch, ATM's are a must for taking cash out of your bank account and putting safely into your wallet. They're fast, easy, and basically effortless (as long as you remember that pin number). Before entering your pin, take a look around. Make sure no one is watching you. If there are a lot of passing pedestrians or lingerers, lean forward so your body is taking over as much of the screen and keypad as possible. Or, if you're traveling with a friend, share the task and have him or her use their body to block the view from wandering eyes thirsty for your personal info.
You finally made it to your hotel. It's time for you to take off your shoes and rest up for your trip's activities. Hopefully your hotel provides a relaxing home away from home experience. That being said, it is not your home. When you leave the room, do not leave personal items out. Many hotels provide safes guests able to rent. The front desk can give you a key, and you may store passports, credit cards, jewelry, or whatever else strikes your fancy within your rented safe. If you do not want to rent a safe, be sure to take your passport and other important items with you wherever you go (of course while keeping them in a safe spot). Some safe spots are the inside zipper pocket of a coat or jacket, or a travel wallet that can be worn around your neck and inside your shirt with the zipper pockets facing towards your body.
Public computers can be handy during travel. They help confirm the location and address of that important board meeting, or to a café you promised you'd meet your old college roommate at while in town. Oh, the good old days! For research tasks, public computers are great. For personal information filled tasks, not so much. If you forgot to pay that electric bill before heading out on your trip, do not use a public computer to do so. Call your electric company and pay over the phone from a private location. Computers can store your personal account information, leaving it easily accessible for the next person who uses it.
If by chance your information is stolen, report it to your bank and the police immediately. Before traveling, make copies of your debit and credit cards, passport, and any other important information you are taking with you. Leave those documents in a safe location at home or with a family member. This way, if your identity is stolen, it'll be easier for you to take the necessary steps to efficiently fix the situation. The less worries during travel, the better. Just be aware of your surroundings and be extra protective of your possessions. And have a safe trip!
This guest post was written by Cara Giaimo, a blogger for SimpliSafe. Cara covers issues regarding home security, safety, consumer technology, and crime; in her spare time, she likes running, jamming with friends, and making strange types of ice cream. SimpliSafe is a leader in the wireless home security field.