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Now that we’re living in a largely technological age, most travelers understand the importance of keeping your laptop and personal information safe. You’re more vulnerable to theft when navigating new surroundings, and it’s more common to connect to unsecured WiFi networks when you’re overseas.

But think about the type of information you would lose if you ended up with malware or a virus. Or how this could be used if it fell into the wrong hands. A personal laptop can usually unlock everything from personal information and emergency contacts, to bank passwords and hotel and flight confirmations.

So it’s absolutely essential that you protect your laptop and personal data when you’re traveling overseas. Here’s how.

Physical Protection / Keeping Your Eyes Open

The first step is to physically protect your laptop. Your digital data is safe as long as your laptop is safe, and that latter part is doable with a bit of focus.

Use a secure laptop bag for traveling and keep the bag itself in your visual range at all times. Use a bag that makes it comfortable to carry the laptop everywhere so that you never lose it out of your sight, and have the bag hang in your front rather than in your back.


Review Your Digital Protection

It’s likely that you’ll connect to multiple foreign wifi networks while you’re away. This can be quite a dangerous move if these networks are not secure.

The best course of action is to make sure that your computer is well protected with an antivirus solution. If you don’t have one, there are plenty you can get for a good price, like this panda security discount. You can also use a VPN as described below.

Use a VPN

For those that aren’t really used to the term, a VPN is a service that masks your identity online; a Virtual Private Network which allows you to connect to the internet from a location of your choice, even if you’re on the other side of the world.

This goes down to your very IP, which will be masked so that whoever sees you or your activity will think you are from wherever you say you are.

Thus, you can make it seem like you are just another local browsing the web. Your private information is safest when those that would see it stolen don’t actually know that you are hiding it so it’s important to keep discretion up.

Backup Data and Update Software!

 Use Security Features to Prepare Your Laptop for the Worst

Even though the chances that you’ll actually experience a theft might be pretty low (depending on what country you’re visiting), it’s still important to make sure that you’re prepared in case something does happen.

There are software solutions today that allow you to track your device in case of theft through GPS, as well as those which will utilize your laptop’s integrated camera to take pictures if the computer has been stolen and broken into. It will send pictures to the authorities, and if you want, you can even have them sent back to your home designated computer.

Utilizing such features means, in a worst case scenario, you’ll always have the upper hand.


Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air Laptop


Portable Battery Charger & External Battery Pack

Universal Travel Adaptor


Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is the American travel photographer behind Waking Up Wild, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.


  1. Yes, travel is with very high risk on loosing a laptop, and I have lost twice my laptops. The lesson now for me is to copy my data to a mobile storage every three months and make sure it does not get lost too.

    In case of theft, what software had I better use to track my device through GPS?

    • Sorry to hear about your trouble losing laptops Long! I’ve also learnt the lesson to have a backup of my data the hard way – luckily I haven’t lost a laptop, but I broke one, so it’s basically the same!

      Check out this post for recommendations on software to track your device if it’s been stolen – some great programs for GPS Location Tracking and SpyCam:

  2. Great advice, Meg. That VPN feature I have not used at all! But my husband has researched for an external battery pack for my laptop (Dell Latitude Pro) but has not found any. It seems they are just for smaller devices like phones and tablets. Do you know of any?

    • VPN is a great feature, I used it in China because they have a country wide firewall which prevents access to a lot of Western sites, including mainstream social medias. But the VPN bypassed that and let me connect through servers in America. It was fantastic!

      Re the external battery pack, I think it’s going to be different for every device, so perhaps you’re right that it may only be for smaller devices. I don’t know on Dell though, so I would jump onto their website and see if there’s an email for their support team. They should be able to give you an answer one way or another.

  3. I had my laptop stolen from my office when I was living abroad. I had a tracking device on it but it didn’t help at all, but I am glad I had back ups and most things were in the cloud so I didn’t lose too much stuff. I still wonder what happened to it in the end.

    • Oh no! Sorry to hear that Adelina :( Back ups are so important, I learnt that the hard way too – mine wasn’t stolen, but I dropped it and lost everything. So the cloud is now my best friend lol!

  4. Considering that the laptop has become an integral part of our travels, we do need to give it the importance it deserves in terms of security. Good and practical advice about looking out for the physical safety of the laptop. Advanced tracking features to trace the laptop if stolen or lost sounds very useful.

    • Absolutely Sandy & Vyjay – its a nightmare to lose your laptop, especially when so much of our personal data is contained. Glad you found the tips helpful :)

  5. I always make sure that I have a great antivirus and I am up to date with my security features – but your point about VPN is marvelous. I know people who travel for work and use their office laptops always use it – but it never struck me as I could use it too! Great post.

    • Glad to hear that you’re set with antivirus and up to date security Shraddha :) Yes, definitely recommend a VPN, I use Express VPN and they’re great!

  6. I never keep my laptop while travel. I have a lot of important personal and official information on my laptop. If I lose it then I will lose everything of my life. What do you think if I use cloud data store service like dropbox? I don’t feel dropbox is safe.

    • Hi Tereza, you could definitely use dropbox or the cloud for storing your important documents. I keep copies of documents in my private dropbox, and it’s nice knowing that I can access them easily if I don’t have access to my laptop, but that they’re secure and private for the rest of the time :)

      Re dropbox being safe, I think for the average use it’s perfectly secure. Ultimately, any time you send your data anywhere on the internet, you’re assuming risk. But the security concerns with dropbox would be that your files are stored on their servers, so a dropbox employee could technically access your data if they wanted to go rouge (albeit I don’t think this is likely, and very few employees would probably have those access rights), and the company has said that if they’re subpoenaed by law, their terms of service say that they will willingly decrypt your data and hand it over.

      Those are the only two security risks I can see from using dropbox, but I really don’t think they’re a big concern for the average user.

      If this does concern you, this post was really helpful for outlining the pros and cons, and suggests other storage services if you have really sensitive information:

      Hope that helps!

  7. These steps are quite necessary while travelling with a laptop. Using VPN before connecting to a public WiFi is a good idea to protect your privacy. Physical protection is also necessary.

  8. Good advice but beware believing a VPN is completely secure. It seems like it should be but your VPN provider could be the single point of failure either by an individual, country or agent. Encryption over vpn is better.

    • Tony is spot on accurate with his comment. Thanks you!

    • Yes definitely important to make sure you’ve researched a reliable service. Great tip on Encryption, thanks! I’ll update the article with your comment :)

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