Protect Your Personal Data When Traveling to Florida

Ready to hit the road? You’re not alone: according to the website ValuePenguin, vacation spending equals approximately 2% of the total budgets of all U.S. households every year. And with 24 of the 100 most popular destinations, Florida ranks as the favorite U.S. state for families on vacation.

When it comes to traveling, there’s already plenty of work to do in terms of planning, packing, and making all the preparations to leave home. These days, there’s almost always personal electronics involved, but many people don’t stop to consider that when we travel, the data we carry and our Internet habits can potentially put our private data at risk. To make sure you get the most out of your Florida vacation, we’ve got a few tips for data security on the road.

What to Bring
The first step is to ask yourself, “Should I bring my laptop? My tablet? or is my smartphone enough?” There are pros and cons to each device, and because many of the features overlap, visitors need to consider how much they need or will use each device. That information can be weighed against size, weight, costs, insurance, and security to help you get the most bang for the buck.

Once you’ve narrowed down which device or devices you need, there are few steps to take before you ever leave home, and some to consider while on your trip:

  • Minimize the amount of data taken, especially anything saved to removable media such as CDs, DVDs and thumb drives. Remember, if it’s easy for you to carry, it’s easy for thieves, too.
  • Perform a FULL backup of every device, and secure them with strong, unique passwords (a different password for each device). Make sure you lock the backup copies in a secure location like a safe deposit box while you’re gone.
  • Pack only essential ID and credit cards (debit cards are best left at home).
  • Connections in cyber cafes, public areas and hotels can be safe with a VPN, but should still be used with caution. Watching videos on the web or reading e-books are fine at the airport, but don’t do any online shopping while you’re there.
  • Never enter your credit card data if there is even the slightest chance a network might not be secure. And even WITH a VPN, never enter the PIN code required by new EMV chip credit cards.
  • Bluetooth can be a bonanza for hackers. Use it sparingly, and switch it off (or set it to “hidden,” not “discoverable”) whenever you’re not actively using it.

Home Again, Home Again
As soon as feasible after your trip, have all devices scanned for malware, viruses or other corruption. It will be tempting to check your email as soon as you walk in the door, but you should avoid connecting to any trusted network until you’ve thoroughly tested for malware.

Any compromised device needs to be purged, reformatted, and rebuilt from trusted sources/media. Once that’s done, reload data from the backups you took before your trip.

Once you’ve made sure all devices are secure, go in and change your personal passwords on all devices. The ideal would be to change account passwords, too, preferably using a device besides the one you traveled with.

Keeping your personal information safe and secure while traveling doesn’t have to be hard work. With a little bit of preparation before you go–and some common sense while you’re gone–you should be fine. While these guidelines are certainly not foolproof, every additional measure taken can help reduce the chances of cybertheft and keep your vacations fun.

Times 10 Travel

Being native to Florida, Times 10 offers valuable information to businesses both locally and abroad who are looking to make a viable, effective connection to the state of Florida. Times 10 covers the most widely used methods of travel, and helps deliver effective results to businesses.

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