This guest post is contributed by Teri Storms who loves to spread the travel news. While she travels she blogs and does freelance writing and editing.
When you went on a vacation in the old days, you needed to make sure your camera wasn’t stolen, your passport and documents weren’t swiped and that your suitcase came equipped with a heavy-duty lock. While those are still viable threats facing any tourist who is traveling across country or abroad, they pale in comparison to identity theft, which is the number-one danger that unsuspecting vacationers face today. Thievery has gone wireless and high-tech, and the last thing you want when you’re visiting Rome, London, or Disney World with the family is to find out that your credit card numbers have been stolen and your bank account drained. There are several precautions you can take to keep your family and your finances safe during a vacation.
Safety Measures That Go the Extra Mile
Taking traditional safety measures when you go on vacation is important, but it’s no longer enough today. While some of us have an obsessive attachment to our smartphones, tablet and laptops, the best way to avoid theft is to leave these gadgets at home. Internet cafe’s and free Wi-Fi facilities often have easily compromised security systems. Identity thieves prowl these areas just like old time robbers staked out ATM machines. User names, passwords and bank account numbers can be compromised when you plug in at these places. Identity theft protection companies like Lifelock can provide another layer of security and defense when you’re on vacation. Lifelock’s identity alert system will notify you if your personal information has been comprised.
It’s not just about staying safe while on vacation, but keeping your home safe when you’re gone. Have a friend or neighbor check on the house while you’re away. Some towns and cities across the country even offer vacation patrols. Before you leave, call the police department and see if these services are being offered in your area.
A vacation is a time to relax and unwind, and in order to do that you’re going to need to take some precautions. Remember: hyper-vigilance is not paranoia. Having your bank account drained by identity thieves isn’t something you want to write a postcard about.
Traditional Safety Measures
Common sense goes a long way when you’re on vacation, and some of the things you do when you’re home need to be altered when you go on vacation. Most of us are accustomed to using debit cards and credit cards for every transaction we make. However, when you’re on vacation, good old fashion traveler checks are a safer way to go. The more electronic transactions you make, the greater the chance there are for thieves to hack the system and steal information. Traveler checks are also safer than carrying around large sums of cash. Not only does every check need to be signed, but they have tracking numbers. If the checks are stolen, chances are the thief will not be able to use them, and the tracking number ensures that you will be reimbursed.
Vacationing with travelers checks, minimal cash and one credit card is the safest way to travel. Today, most hotels have safes. It’s a good idea to lock up your valuables; from passports and visas to flight itineraries that have personal information displayed- all of it should be locked up at the hotel. Your valuables are safer locked in the hotel room than they are carried in a purse or a knapsack, as that is the first place a thief is going to look if you run into trouble on the street.