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5 security tips to know when travelling abroad

October 10, 2019
5 security tips to know when travelling abroad

Thinking of travelling abroad? Before you buy your tickets and rush out the door, let’s take a look at some essential security tips you ought to know.

1. Lock, everything

This is our number one rule! Lock everything and at all times! Get yourself some sturdy padlocks. Lock every single zipped compartment in every one of your luggage and bags. This includes any compartments that do not contain anything.

Always lock your carry-on bags. This minimises the chances of someone rummaging through them without you knowing. Remember, it only takes a moment of distraction for something to be taken. This often occurs when your bag is in an overhead locker during the flight or waiting in line at a busy and packed terminal.

Do your plans include travelling via or to the USA? Then you must get a TSA (Transport Security Administration) approved lock. TSA screen all passengers’ luggage before placing them into the plane. From time to time, TSA may choose, at their own discretion to open a passenger’s luggage for a closer inspection. By having a TSA Approved lock, means they can unlock your luggage using a master key. Without one, the TSA can access your luggage using bolt cutters. Thus destroying your locks and even zippers at the same time. Once finished, your luggage is left exposed to thieves wanting to have a look through.

Did you know that if you use an AirBolt, you can turn off the TSA lock once you have left the USA? This means, that you can keep the same lock no matter where in the world you travel. This makes the AirBolt the perfect companion for travelling anywhere in the world.

Don't let your guard down at hotels either

Checking into your hotel doesn’t mean that you can become lax on your security. When you are out of the room, ensure that all bags and luggage remains locked at all times. Connect them together with a padlock or chain for that extra bit of security and peace of mind.

If you would like to step it up a notch, you can still keep your luggage locked and tracked all with the one padlock. The AirBolt lock with its Bluetooth connectivity is the perfect one for this. Use the Android or iOS app to access its many features. Airbolt uses crowdsourced location tracking and gives you proximity alerts and logs. Did we also say that Airbolt comes with the ability to remove the TSA locking mechanism? Now you can carry fewer keys (or none at all) and feel safe that your bags are secure, in any part of the world at any time. Travelling abroad or locally has never been easier with the Airbolt.

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2. Check the fine print of your travel insurance.

There are so many varieties of travel insurance under the sun. Some come as part of your credit card, whilst others need you to purchase upfront.

Once you think you’ve found one, how do you know whether it will pay out if something goes wrong? Before locking in the first one you see, always do your research. Check for exemptions. Certain policies may not cover for countries during moments of riots or civil unrest. Others may not cover for pre-existing medical conditions. We all know of horror stories about travellers getting caught out in another country’s medical system. All because the policy did not cover a pre-existing medical condition.

There are also policies that may not cover high-risk activities. Does your plan include bungee jumping or sky diving? Check that the policy covers any accidents or injuries arising from these activities. It may mean that you'll need to pay a higher excess than a standard cover.

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But what else should you check your policy for? Check that it covers your valuable items and to what limit. Does it cover your Leica S Medium Format DSLR Camera S? Certain insurers will ask you to declare specific items in order to cover them. Another point to consider is the total value of your luggage. Does your insurer cover for everything that is inside if it's lost or stolen?

It pays to read through the T’s & C’s of your travel insurance. Ten minutes of reading can save you thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. Plus it will give you the peace of mind knowing that if something does go wrong, there is a safety net. Because when you are travelling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is how to pay for something completely unexpected.

3. Is free wifi really free?

When you connect to your hotel or restaurant’s free wifi, do you know whether it’s a secure connection? The chances are that it is highly likely not. It doesn’t matter if you want to check your Facebook feed or upload a picture of your dinner to Instagram. Your keystrokes can be intercepted by anyone with the right software and know-how. This means that all your personal information such as email and passwords can be stolen. And without you even knowing it. This can then lead to identity theft, stolen funds and the list goes on.

So how can you minimise your exposure to virtual threats? Firstly, get yourself a VPN or a Virtual Private Network. This can hide your network activity and data from prying eyes. Secondly, only access sites that use the HTTPS protocol. This ensures that your connection to the site is secure. Plus, this is one of many ways to validate an authentic site from a fraudulent one. To further protect yourself, turn off your file and print sharing in your settings. Finally, make sure that your Bluetooth only connects to devices you know.

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4. Use the cloud

Store everything that you need before travelling abroad onto the cloud. Unless you are a super organised person, you are bound to forget something before you leave. What if you lose your electronic devices too? Having it on the cloud means you can still access your data from a (secure) computer.

Check that you know your password, but don’t make it easy for someone else to guess. Don’t use password01. Your password should have capital and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. You can make it using a long sentence such as 122BakerStreet!A.C.Doyle. Or you can use random letters in an acronym format (that only make sense to you), such as BStAC.D@122.

It is a good idea to keep these documents and information on record:

  • passport
  • travel itinerary, booked accommodation, tours
  • vaccination record, (make sure you are up to date for the countries you plan on visiting)
  • Travel insurance policy and T’s & C’s
  • Serial numbers, receipts and photos of all valuables going on the journey with you
  • Credit card details (inform the bank prior to leaving)
  • 5. Make your luggage stand out in the crowd.

    On a rather innovative and different note. If you are looking for a way to deter thefts occurring in terminals, platforms and anywhere else there’s a lot of people, this is one for you. Put your face on your luggage…. A luggage coverage skin that is. It will ensure that nobody accidentally (or intentionally) takes your luggage ever again! And if you spot someone with it, you will be able to stop them from getting away. I mean, how can anyone dispute that they picked up your luggage by accident?

    Points to remember when travelling abroad

    You can never be too cautious when you are out travelling abroad. Take a moment to take in these last points prior to taking to the skies.

  • Find out where your nearest Australian embassy or consulate is. Keep a record a phone number and address, it will save you valuable time googling online.
  • Try to blend in as a local, don’t stand out. Leave your expensive jewellery at home. Otherwise, it will make you the prime target for scams and thefts.
  • Use a helmet and seatbelt. Just because the locals don’t, doesn’t mean you don’t have to either. (It can void your travel insurance if an accident occurs and you haven't been using a helmet/seatbelt).