Safety is always a big priority when traveling abroad, and everyone knows the importance of being vigilant and aware of your surroundings; of protecting yourself against tourist scams and threats.
But while most people worry about their vacation being ruined by thieves, or hospital visits, most people don’t think twice about cyber threats.
While it’s obviously important to care about your physical safety, these days you’re actually much more vulnerable to online threats than you are being mugged on the street. Because personal data has become far more valuable than your wallet.
When you consider that the personal data held on just one of your devices includes usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, flight details, logins, etc having this information stolen is quite the nightmare situation.
So without getting too complicated, we’re covering today some of the basics – straightforward, easy steps you should be taking to protect your personal data, every time you travel.
We’ve written a lot about the ins and outs of using a VPN for travel, and why it’s an absolutely essential piece of tech – and that’s because it legit is essential; something every traveler should have, and treat with the same importance as your passport and insurance.
Because that’s exactly what a VPN is – in most cases it’s both a passport, and an insurance; a passport to information and free access to uncensored internet, and insurance against a cyber attack.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of a VPN, or if you’ve heard the acronym but don’t really know what it stands for, this is a Virtual Private Network – a program you run on your devices which allows you to securely and privately connect to the internet.
The perks of using one as a traveler include accessing region-restricted websites, minimizing your risk of being hacked while using public WiFi, and preventing your bank accounts and email from being frozen.
And while they’ve previously been thought of as ‘a nice thing to have’, now, in 2020, it’s more important than ever to have a VPN.
Internet is something we’ve come to rely on as travelers, and anyone able to venture off the beaten path with absolutely no connection is somewhat of a unicorn and deserves our reverence.
Yes, I’ll admit that I’m addicted. I like having constant online access while traveling; to be able to pull up Google Maps when I’m lost in Venice, to make bookings on the go, and stream Netflix on a long haul bus ride.
It’s not easy to find WiFi when you’re traveling, and all the usual haunts for travelers; the airports, cafes, hotels; these networks aren’t safe (you’re very vulnerable to cyber attack when you connect via open networks). So the prospect of traveling with a reliable device in my pocket, which offers constant 4G WiFi where-ever I go, is password protected, lightweight, has a long battery life, and isn’t expensive, well, that’s just made my day!
A portable WiFi device is exactly that. It goes by many different names; you might have heard it called a portable Wifi hotspot, mobile hotspot, portable WiFi, pocket WiFi, portable WiFi router….the list goes on. But regardless of what you call it, here are 6 solid reasons you need one!
As tech savvy travelers, we’re constantly stressing the importance of traveling with a good VPN; about the dangers of using public WiFi, why your privacy is otherwise at risk, and the best ways to keep your data safe and protect your tech.
A Virtual Private Network is the most important thing to have for internet use while traveling. It encrypts your traffic and sends it through a secure server, which means you can browse the internet securely and anonymously.
There are many perks of using a VPN, like accessing country-restricted websites (like Netflix), and skirting around Government censorship (like China), though the reason a VPN is actually essential is a matter of safety; using a secure connection means that no-one can hack you to steal data like they could on an open, public network (think free internet in airports, cafes, and hotels).
So, having established that a VPN is right up there with your passport in terms of what not to forget, the following are things you need to know about using one when traveling.
We’ve written plenty of posts about the importance of traveling with a VPN; about the dangers of using public WiFi, why your privacy is otherwise at risk, and the best ways to keep your data safe and protect your tech.
But one thing we haven’t yet addressed is exactly what you should look for in a good VPN; what type of features are the most important for international travelers.
A Virtual Private Network is the most important thing to have for internet use while traveling. It encrypts your traffic and sends it through a secure server, which can be in a country of your choosing.
For instance, you could be logging on from Peru, but as far as your browser is concerned, you’re accessing the internet from Australia. This is great for getting around internet censorship in countries such as China, but also means that your connection is totally private.
You’re able to browse the internet securely and anonymously, and no-one can hack you to steal data like they could on an open, public network (think free internet in airports, cafes, and hotels).
But not all VPN services are created equal. So, when evaluating your options, you should make sure you get the following functionality and services.
Being away from home can be hard even if you’re having the time of your life traveling; whether you’re on holiday, taking a gap year, or have moved abroad permanently, sometimes all you want to do is chat with your friends and family.
Thankfully, these days we don’t have to rely on traditional snail mail and wait two weeks just to get a smiley face emoji, and the internet means that staying in touch is now easier than it has ever been.
From sending messages on social media and sharing photos of your adventures to audio and video calls, there are all sorts of apps that help you to stay in touch with your loved ones overseas and combat feelings of homesickness.
And most of the time, bar the cost of your WiFi connection, you can use the following apps to stay in touch for absolutely free.
From podcasts to Netflix, and reading a good old fashioned book, there are many ways to stay entertained while you’re traveling, though one of the most popular ways to pass the downtime is by playing online games.
The world is increasingly more connected, and now that many cities have WiFi on the streets, and you can even connect from the plane, more and more people are turning to online gaming for those moments you find yourself needing to kill time.
From playing Candy Crush while you’re sitting out an airport delay to hunting Pokemon across Venice, there are many reasons people log in to play. However, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind before you start your game.
Vane pumps have been around since 1874, when they were invented by Charles C. Barnes of the USA. Though, for any-one not keenly interested in mechanics, they are one of those inventions that form an integral part of our daily lives, but that commonly go unnoticed.
And they do play an integral part in our daily lives.
Vane pumps are usually used as high-pressure hydraulic pumps for cars which allow for braking, supercharging, air-con and auto-transmission. Though there are also mid-range pressure pumps used for things like soft drink dispensers and espresso coffee machines.
That said, these pumps have also become an essential part of air travel, and without them, today’s modern airplanes simply wouldn’t operate.
So to that end, today you’ll learn a little more about vane pumps; a hommage to the mechanical genius that allows us to fly from country to country, and recognition for a piece of engineering that has had a huge impact on our lives, whether or not we know it.
Whether you’re snapping pics to post on social media, or shooting new material for your professional portfolio, taking pictures is a part of travel. As the number of stamps in your passport grows, so too does the documented footage of your adventures around the world.
No matter how much you might cherish each one of these photos, there’s no denying that they’re taking up space on your computer and overwhelming your emails attachments.
Sure, USBs can get the job done if you want to share your photos with a family member or travel partner – you know, and not blow up their inbox because of the size limit on email attachments – or are trying to transfer all your photos from your laptop to your desktop.
But what if we told you that there’s an easier, faster way to do it?
Safety is always a big priority when traveling to another country; it’s good practice to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, and people do everything they can to protect themselves from becoming the target of tourist threats.
After-all, no-one wants their vacation ruined by thieves, tourist scams, or hospital visits. But what about online threats?
While many travelers prioritize their physical safety, we often don’t think about our cyber-safety when traveling. When we connect to the Internet, we don’t think at all about how we’re connecting. We just do. And we expect that nothing will come of this. But, connecting to an unsecured network overseas is incredibly risky, and allows anyone using the same network to access your information; they can see data like your usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers.
Let’s be real; abstinence has never been a practical solution, so telling travelers to stop connecting in airports, coffee shops and streets is never going to happen. BUT you can protect your data and still connect by traveling with a VPN.
Working while traveling – for many people this is the dream; to set up an online business and freelance as you’re traveling the globe. And in our increasingly tech savvy world, there are even more opportunities for freelancers than ever before.
But, traveling the world as you’re working from your laptop presents a unique set of risks, and one of the biggest considerations is how to protect yourself from data theft.
Unfortunately, as technology has evolved, so also has the common criminal. In an age where identity theft is an all too regular occurrence, devices and user data should be protected from prying malicious attacks at all costs.
Open Wifi networks and malicious software await travelers at every step of their journey, so using devices while on the road should undoubtedly require the same level of care as a wallet or passport.
If you’re a digital nomad who freelances and runs your business while jumping from one country to the next, the following are tips for how to keep your data safe while you’re abroad.
Technology has become such an everyday part of our lives that we’re traveling with more than ever before. From phones to digital camera, tablets, laptops, and kindles, tech is something that every traveler packs.
Losing or damaging your tech is a worst nightmare, especially when you’re traveling, and unable to replace or fix it, being so far away from home. But every year thousands of smart phones alone are lost, stolen, or damaged while on vacation.
Considering the expense of personal technology, the inconvenience of losing your boarding passes, photos, and contacts, and the security risks of having your personal data and information available for hack, it’s imperative to protect your tech and electronics.
Here are some very simple steps. Basic? Yes. But we’ve found that the most basic tips are the ones that travelers most often forget (or take for granted).
If you’re someone who likes to travel for longer than the average 2 week vacation, there’s no doubt that one of the most challenging things you’ll face is staying in touch with people back home.
The simple fact is, to continually travel the world you sacrifice the majority of your pre existing relationships. Even if you’re close with your family and friends, it’s very easy to lose contact when you’re in completely different locations.
After-all, you’re busy traveling, they’re busy with their stuff, and without even realizing it, you end up missing out on milestones and momentous occasions because you’re on the other side of the world, in a different time zone.
But staying in touch doesn’t have to be expensive, and with tech nowadays it’s actually very easy to keep in contact.
Everyone enjoys some Netflix and chill, and there’s nothing like rolling into a hotel, tired after a long journey, and putting on a couple of shows while you get some rest.
Whether you’ve had a lazy day at the beach, or a dream day between waterfalls and temples in Bali, having access to home comforts while traveling is quite the luxury. However, due to the geo-restrictions imposed on Netflix, your viewing experience is going to vary wildly from one country to the next.
In many nations, you could login to find that your favorite shows are just gone. And, if you think finding a movie is hard back home; imagine suddenly having a catalog that is up to 90% smaller. It happens.
Thankfully, there is a solution!
No matter how small the local catalog is, you can “spoof” your location to another country to increase the number of options. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an online service that permits you to switch your IP address to any country you like.
As soon as you use a VPN to pretend to be in a different country, you can watch the larger Netflix catalog! So, which locations have the smallest catalogs? And where is it a good idea to pretend to be instead?
Vacay! V-A-C-A-Y! There’s a smartphone app for everything these days, and when it comes to travel, our phones have become like our own personalized travel agents.
From finding flights, to accessing real time translations, they’ve become a one stop shop for everything we need to search for, book, and enjoy our holidays.
But if you browse through the travel section of the app store, you’ll find thousands of useful apps, and obviously, these aren’t all going to fit on your phone! So, to help you out we’ve narrowed it down to the 7 we find the most useful.
Here are 7 useful travel apps you should download … every traveler should have these on their phone!
Did you know that as of last year, 82 airlines provide some form of in-flight WiFi?
In-flight WiFi is becoming a necessity for airlines to compete in today’s market, and even small carriers such as Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Air Côte d’Ivoire from Ivory Coast, and Air Mauritius are getting in on the WiFi game.
Fortunately, airlines are also working on improving their current technology to improve internet speeds in a way that makes it possible to use almost any app during your flight.
When Routehappy measured global in-flight WiFi last year, they found that 57% of flights offer strong enough WiFi to browse the internet, but only 16% provide fast enough WiFi for full video streaming and speeds comparable to your connection at home.
With that in mind, the next time you’re on a flight with WiFi, here are the best apps to use regardless of your airline.
You can spot a frequent traveler from miles away. They’re the ones that know how to score an upgrade, always pack a portable phone charger, and somehow manage to appear fresh after a 10 hour flight.
Frequent travelers have an easier time traveling, because their experience means they know which useful gadgets to use. Having the right technology with you can greatly enhance a trip, though with so much technology these days, the trouble is often knowing which gadgets to invest in.
So, if you’re struggling to narrow down your tech list, the following are must-have gadgets that frequent travelers use, along with the travel style that they best suit.
Whether you’re a digital nomad, business traveller, or simply using the internet while on vacation, travelling abroad poses a unique set of cyber-security threats to internet users.
Those who travel for business are the most vulnerable since they usually carry a variety of sensitive information on their laptops, smartphones, and other devices.
However, even if you’re simply using open Wi-Fi connections while travelling abroad (ie connecting at hotels, airports, or cafes), it’s important to understand that there are still many risks involved with using public internet sources.
When traveling internationally, many cellphone providers charge high rates to cover roaming fees. Sending a text or checking emails quickly becomes a costly expense for travelers.
Many people think that the only ways to avoid paying massive bills is to leave their cellphones at home. But if the thought of living without your smartphone while you travel makes you want to scream, don’t despair.
Many cellphone providers offer affordable options to help you stay connected no matter where you are in the world. Learn about the following five ways prepaid phones can save you money when traveling.
One of the most significant marketing trends for the travel and tourism sector in 2018 is live streaming. The technology has evolved as such that anyone with a smartphone device can reach out to viewers and possible visitors and provide a fresh perspective on holiday destinations, accommodations and all kinds of travel experiences.
MO’s prediction on 2018 social media trends states that the live streaming market could be worth over $70 billion by 2021, with four-fifths (80%) of consumers preferring to watch a live video than any other form of social content.
Travel agents, airline operators, holiday resorts and any other type of tourism brands must jump on the live streaming bandwagon before being left behind.
I typically don’t live life with regrets, though if I was pushed to name one regret, it would be not being able to speak a foreign language.
Especially since I used to be able to.
And to be honest it’s quite embarrassing. Being in a foreign country where the locals are making all the effort to speak in English and I can’t string a sentence together in theirs.
Telling people that yes, I did learn Japanese in High school, but now it’s all but disappeared.
So on my most recent trip to Japan I decided that enough was enough. I was done with feeling ashamed and guilty that I hadn’t put the effort into retaining Japanese as a second language, and I wanted to replace that with a feeling of pride at being able to thrive in real world conversations.
I told myself I wasn’t going to travel with a portable translator, and a couple of months before I left I downloaded Rosetta Stone on my desktop and phone.
When we think of useful travel apps we think of browsing the app store and downloading something useful to our phone.
And certainly, nowadays there are apps for just about everything; flight schedules, money journals, foreign language translations – there’s something to meet every traveler’s need.
There are many mainstream apps that almost everyone has; social media apps for staying connected, perhaps online banking to stay on top of your bills while you’re overseas. But by the same token, there are also a range of apps that will make your life easier, that you may not have realized you need!
There’s literally nothing worse than losing your photos or files (maybe travelers diarrhea, but to be totally honest, given the choice I would probably prefer the diarrhea!).
Imagine this: you’ve spent 2 weeks in Finland taking incredible photos, kept an excel document of everyone’s phone numbers and email addresses that you met along the way, but 2 weeks later it’s all been completely wiped from your computer.
And that’s not a fake scenario, it actually happened to me. I literally have zero photo proof that I’ve ever been to Finland or eaten reindeer.
Or you’re in the middle of an epic round the world adventure, and suddenly you can’t find the folder with all your flight confirmations, hotel and tour bookings, and itinerary.
Also happened to me.
And even though I consider myself to be reasonably tech savvy, trust me when I say it’s a struggle to recover those important files. And before I heard of Disk Drill, I never succeeded at file recovery. Now though, it’s a totally different story.
With travel photography becoming increasingly popular, a good quality camera is now a necessity for most travelers. But the biggest question is, what kind of camera should we use?
Whether you are an already experienced photographer or a beginner looking for ideas on which camera is the best, I see a lot of misguidance when it comes to advice on travel cameras.
A of lot of the time, I see people recommend equipment that would leave any professional photographer envious. And a lot of it. But from my own experience, you don’t need a very complex setup or the most expensive gear.
I traveled with the Fuji X100F through Southeast Asia for a few months and couldn’t be happier with it. For me, this is my ideal travel camera, and I want to share the stories that I was able to capture with that one single camera.
Almost every traveler packs their phone these days; when you have a GPS, a translator, an entertainment system and a camera all rolled up into one device, your phone becomes an essential part of the travel experience that you can’t afford to lose (with the prices of new phones lately, it’s often literally something you can’t afford to lose).
But every year thousands of smart phones are lost, stolen, or damaged while on vacation. In Australia alone, the AMTA reports more than 100,000 mobile phones are lost or stolen every year. That’s 2,000 each week or one mobile phone handset every six minutes.
And that’s not even considering the phones which are damaged, or hacked as part of cyber-theft.
Considering the expense of phones these days, the inconvenience of losing your boarding passes, photos, and contacts, and the security risks of having your personal data and information available for hack, it’s imperative to protect your phone when you travel overseas.