10 Tips To Protect Your Privacy While Traveling

Best practices from Silent Circle’s privacy gurus to help you to protect your privacy while traveling.

As the warmer weather of summer approaches you may be thinking about a trip or weekend getaway. Whether you’re planning on kicking it in Cabo or frolicking in the French Riviera- Silent Circle’s privacy gurus can help you to protect your privacy while traveling. Here is a countdown of some best practices…

10. Know your destination - If certain types of content are illegal in the jurisdiction of your destination or are at risk of being stolen, don't bring it with you. Possessing illegal or enticing content will make your device an attractive target for confiscation or theft.

9. Use a screen filter - If you want to avoid those wandering eyes at the airport or the coffee shop when you are using your laptop, tablet, or phone, protect your information with a screen filter. This allows you keep your electronic information private and confidential working in a public place. There are a number of products on the market around $20 - $40 and the materials for the filters have improved over the last few years.

8. Keep a backup - Before you leave make a backup of all the contents of the devices that you plan on taking on your trip. Delete any items off the device that you will not need because if this isn’t there, it can’t be stolen! Be sure to password protect the backup and keep it safe at home. This way if something happens to your device there is no need to fret (and it’s probably time to order a Blackphone anyway- shameless plug).

7. Don’t put devices in checked bags - While traveling keep your devices with you at all times. Checking your devices makes them vulnerable for theft, damage, or loss. D’oh!

6. Keep things locked up - Your hotel room should have a safe and it is important to use it to store valuables and devices. Be sure to lock up your valuables after you check in. It is a good idea to ask the hotel before making the reservation if they have a safe in the room. Conde Nast had some further advice on this topic. Note* - 1234 is NOT a good passcode.

5. Use strong passwords - Enable password protection on your devices and give them a strong password. For best practices on password protection visit our previous post on online privacy.

4. Turn off Bluetooth - Scammers are continuing to find new ways to exploit your device. In addition to WiFi, Bluetooth also creates vulnerabilities. If you do want to use Bluetooth, be smart about it and don’t accept pairing requests from unknown parties. Also, try to use a minimum of eight (8!) characters in your PIN. Of course, turn off your Bluetooth connection when you aren’t using it especially in public areas- your credit history, your contacts, and your battery will thank you.

3. Be smart when using WiFi - If you follow a simple metaphor, we all need water, but you wouldn’t drink ANY water you could find. Well, the same is true for WiFi. Don’t trust any old network that you are connecting to – you never know what’s “floating” around in it (OK- no more metaphors). Use a VPN to connect to the Internet (perhaps Hotspot Shield, VyprVPN, Private WiFi, to name a few). Plus, it’s a good idea to turn off WiFi when you do not need access to the Internet.

2. Don’t announce on social media that you will be traveling - Posting about your upcoming travel plans on social media can make you or your property an easy target. If you use a travel site to book your trip make sure to turn off the social sharing options that dump your travel details into someone else’s news feed. Stay mum about your next trip (don’t “check-in” or use anything with geolocation) and wait until you get back to post pictures to make your friends jealous. Also, be mindful of your privacy settings on social regarding who has access to your photos.

1. Use encryption - We’d be remiss not to mention this one. If your devices have the option to encrypt the storage, do it! This will give you peace of mind in the event your device is lost or stolen. If you haven’t encrypted your storage yet, try not to leave it to the last minute- it can take over an hour to encrypt. Don’t even get us started on encrypted calling…

Always use caution when traveling and be mindful of your surroundings. Safe travels.