Your presentation is polished. A week’s worth of networking events have been RSVP’d to and synced with your calendar. And the right attire? You’ve perfected the art of carrying on and arriving wrinkle-free. With your most important business travel priorities handled, now’s the time to take steps to protect your privacy. After all, we don’t always know if and where data thieves are lurking.
While you may never have your privacy compromised when traveling, you can’t be too careful. Consider applying these tips to achieve extra peace of mind on your next business trip.
Use Secure Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi networks make it easy to work in coffee shops, convention centers, and even at the airport. But the price for free internet access is being more at risk of data theft. However, one easy way to secure your electronic devices is by using a secure Wi-Fi hotspot network. Select American Express business credit cards like the Business Platinum Card from American Express offer free and secure Wi-Fi at over 1 million Boingo hotspots worldwide.
Your business credit card may also offer free airport lounge access which has private Wi-Fi in addition to other amenities. The American Express Business Platinum lets you enter The Centurion, Priority Pass, and Delta Sky Clubs for free. Some Chase credit cards, like the Sapphire Reserve, also come with Priority Pass access.
In addition to private Wi-Fi, you may also consider using a VPN (a virtual private network). A VPN encrypts your computer activity which adds an extra layer of security anytime you connect to a public or private Wi-Fi network.
Don’t Use Public Computers
When possible, always use your own phone or laptop to access the Internet. This is especially important when you must submit any credit card or personal information. A public computer in a hotel business center or a Wi-Fi cafe may track your activity.
If you must use another person’s computer, see if you can check the “This is a public computer box.” Also, be sure to log out of your account to prevent saving your login credentials.
Disable Sharing Features
It’s not a bad idea to disable sharing features like Bluetooth, AirDrop, and Wi-Fi when in public. Doing so stops you from accidentally sending files to the wrong person. It can also prevent someone from compromising your device without your knowledge.
Stop printing your boarding passes and other travel itinerary information. Keeping paper copies means you are more likely to leave your information behind in a public place. Keeping the data on your phone is both more secure and convenient. The TripIt Pro app stores your itinerary and loyalty account information in the same place. You can also use TripIt to share your travel information with coworkers without risking eavesdropping from other travelers.
It’s also not a bad idea to avoid traveling with flash drives, data CDs, and other physical business material. Use cloud storage instead, when possible. Alternatively, consider mailing the items to the destination. Doing so also frees up more suitcase space to better pack your business attire.
Switch to RFID Blocking Wallets
Data thieves don’t have to pickpocket your wallet or hack into your computer to get your information. Advanced thieves can potentially acquire your credit card information with a contactless scanner that pulls information from your credit cards and badges.
An RFID wallet uses a metal lining that blocks scanners from obtaining your information. Your credit card, passport, and company ID badges most likely have a 13.56 megahertz RFID chip. Make sure your RFID blocking wallet will guard this frequency for the best data privacy protection.
Install Privacy Screen Filters
You don’t know who will look over your shoulder when you’re working on a plane or in public. Adding a privacy screen filter to your laptop makes it harder for overlookers to see your screen. Even if a person doesn’t have malicious intentions, a screen filter lets you keep your affairs to yourself.
Choose Seats with More Privacy
If you have a choice of where you sit on a plane or train, try choosing a window seat instead of the middle or aisle seat. If flying business class, try flying on flights that offers suites with a privacy wall or an angled seat that limits your visibility to other passengers.
Limit Social Media Posts
Whether this trip is strictly business or includes some bleisure, it’s not a bad idea to limit your social media posts. You don’t know who might see your post, increasing the potential to compromise your security at home and while you travel.
This doesn’t mean you can’t put anything on social media. Use your best judgment before posting.
Use Strong Passwords
Your laptop and phone may already require a passcode to clear a lock screen. Go beyond the generic “password” or “1234” passcode to protect your device. Also, try to keep your devices in sight at all times during working hours. This measure helps protect devices just in case a nosy person tries using your devices when you’re not looking during a break or after hours.
An increasing number of apps and websites require two-step verification. You will need to enter a time-sensitive code sent as an email or text message to complete the login process. Consider activating two-step verification for the extra security layer.
Don’t Store Valuables in Your Car
Keep valuables in your hotel room, ideally in the room safe, to prevent theft. Vandals may break into your car at night or even in a parking garage during the daytime and steal your belongings. Leaving your computer, planner, or loose change can make your vehicle too tempting to resist.
Tip: Check TripIt Pro’s Neighborhood Safety Scores feature ahead of your trip to know the risk of harm or theft in the area(s) you’re traveling to.
Create Travel Notifications
If you will be using a no annual fee business credit card for your travels, you can easily set up travel notifications with the bank. Notifications can prevent your card from getting frozen accidentally, and are an easy way to monitor spending and verify large or unusual purchases.
These various safety measures can help protect your personal and business privacy when you travel. It’s not a bad idea to adopt these steps even when you’re not traveling. The extra effort is worth the additional peace of mind.
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