How to Stay Protected While Traveling Abroad (5 Tips)

Traveling abroad is an exciting adventure, offering new experiences and cultures to explore, but staying safe is crucial, especially when you’re in a foreign country or visiting unfamiliar places for the first time.

As we rely more on technology, protecting yourself while traveling goes beyond just physical safety – it also includes digital security. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned traveler; dangers can be unpredictable, and cybercrime could be just around the corner.

According to an ExpressVPN blog post, the travel and tourism industries are ranked third-most affected by cyberattacks. It’s always wise to be prepared for the worst-case scenario (knock on wood!).

This article will guide you through practical steps and tech tools to ensure your travels are safe and enjoyable.

1. Secure Your Devices

Your smartphone, tablet, and laptop are essential tools when traveling, but they can also be vulnerable targets for theft or cyber attacks.

To start, set up a passcode, fingerprint, or facial lock on all your devices if you haven’t already – this is absolutely essential.

For smartphones and tablets, ensure that “Find My” (or a similar tracking feature) is turned on. In case your device gets lost, you can easily lock it to prevent unauthorized access.

Find My tracking feature

Also, make sure all the software and apps on your devices are updated to their latest versions.

Keep all the essential apps and programs you anticipate using easily accessible. For example, have map apps, translation apps, and other vital tools readily available on your home screen or desktop. This ensures quick access when you need them most.

2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a critical security measure that adds an extra layer of protection to your online accounts. When enabled, 2FA requires not only your password but also a second piece of information to verify your identity. This second factor could be a text message code, an email confirmation, or an authentication app like Google Authenticator or Authy.

Authy authentication app

One important thing to keep in mind is that when setting up 2FA for the apps you anticipate using overseas, it’s best to use an authentication app like Authy or Google Authenticator for the second layer of identification, instead of having codes sent to you via SMS. You might not have access to your local phone line when traveling abroad.

3. Use Travel-Specific Apps

Travel-specific apps can be incredibly useful not only for staying safe but also for keeping you informed and organized when you are abroad. The apps you need may vary depending on where you are traveling to, but here are some types of apps to keep in mind:

  • Navigation Apps: and Google Maps offer offline maps, ensuring you can find your way even without internet access.
  • Language Translation Apps: Google Translate and iTranslate can help you overcome language barriers, which can be crucial in understanding safety signs or communicating in emergencies.
  • Local News Apps: Keeping a local news app on your phone helps you stay informed about any potential hazards or important updates in the area you’re visiting.
  • Ride-Hailing Apps: Uber, Lyft, or local equivalents can provide safe and reliable transportation options.
  • Local Government Immigration Apps: These apps can offer crucial information on immigration policies, local laws, and emergency contact details.

4. Keep Backup Copies of Important Documents

Losing important documents like your passport, travel insurance, and booking confirmations can be a major setback while traveling.

Passport and documents

To mitigate the impact of such losses, it’s essential to keep backup copies of all your critical documents.

  • Digital Copies: Store digital copies of your documents in a secure cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud. This allows you to access them from any device with an internet connection.
  • Local Copies: Take photos of your important documents or keep digital copies stored on your phone. This way, even if you are without internet access, you can still access them.
  • Email Backup: To be extra safe, email copies of your important documents to yourself. This provides an additional layer of backup that can be accessed from anywhere.

5. Use Smart Travel Gear

Smart travel gear can provide you with extra peace of mind when traveling.

Here are some smart travel items to consider:

  • Smart Luggage: Luggage with built-in GPS tracking can help you locate your bags if they go missing. Some smart suitcases also come with locking mechanisms controlled via your smartphone, ensuring your belongings are secure. If you want to track smaller devices, you can also consider using Apple AirTags.
  • Apple AirTag device
  • RFID-Blocking Wallets: These wallets protect your credit cards and passport from RFID skimming, a method used by thieves to steal your information wirelessly.
  • Portable Battery Packs: Keeping your devices charged is crucial, especially if you rely on them for navigation and communication. A good portable battery pack can ensure your phone is always powered up.
  • Smart Locks: Smart locks for your hotel room or rental property provide added security. These can be controlled via an app, allowing you to monitor and control access.
  • Security Cameras: Compact and portable security cameras can help monitor your hotel room or rental property. Some cameras even offer live streaming to your phone, so you can check in anytime.

Bonus: Monitor Your Financial Transactions

Last but not least, keeping an eye on your financial transactions is crucial. Setting up transaction alerts is a good starting point. Most banks and credit card companies offer these alerts via email or SMS, allowing you to be immediately informed of any suspicious activity. This proactive approach helps you catch potential fraud early and take necessary actions to protect your funds.

Checking transactions

Additionally, it’s wise to keep your bank’s contact information handy. If you need to report any credit card fraud, having the right numbers at your fingertips can save you from panicking and not knowing whom to call. Being prepared ensures you can quickly address any financial issues, allowing you to enjoy a worry-free travel experience.

Final Thoughts

Traveling abroad is a thrilling way to explore new places and cultures, but staying safe should be a top priority. Using technology can really boost your security on the road. From securing your devices and using VPNs to setting up two-factor authentication and using smart travel gear, these steps help keep your information and belongings safe.

Also, be cautious with public Wi-Fi, keep backup copies of important documents, stay aware of local cyber threats, and monitor your financial transactions closely. These strategies will help you stay protected so you can focus on enjoying your adventure.

By following these tech-savvy tips, you can have a safer and more enjoyable trip, giving you peace of mind to fully enjoy your travels.