Going on your holidays can be one of the most enjoyable and relaxing periods of the year; jetting off to get away from the stresses of life at home, and recuperate in paradise...at least that’s the idea.
London’s five international airports host 133 million passengers every year, and if you take into account those that Travel to and from the UK through the country’s other international and domestic airports that figure would rise dramatically. With such enormous numbers, comes an inevitable criminal opportunity. Over 1,200 laptops go missing at UK airports every week, according to tfl.gov.uk, showing there’s clearly a need for raising awareness of the potential pitfalls of travelling with tech.
Whether it’s for business or pleasure, more and more people are taking their prized possessions with them when they go away; items such as laptops, expensive phones and music players are all frequent travellers along with their owners.
If you decide to travel with these items it is vital that you keep them safe. Derek Skinner, Head of Recovery for EMEA at Absolute Software, reveals how to keep your gadget out of the hands of thieves.
Here are Derek’s top ten tips for looking after your gadgets while you’re on the move:
1. Don’t dangle your dongle: As proud as you are of your gadget, make sure you keep them out of sight as much as possible. Whether it’s at the airport terminal, a hotel reception or trendy bar, unfortunately there are always prying eyes on expensive pieces of equipment, so conceal them whenever possible.
2. Better safe than sorry: Hotel rooms, however secure, do still have people accessing them during your stay, plus doors can unintentionally be left open or not closed properly. If you have a gadget of worth, keep it locked in a personal safe; most are now compact enough to fit.
3. Foreign policy: Most tablets are now as expensive as your entire suitcase, so keep yourself covered by making sure your gadgets are covered in your travel insurance policy.
4. Backup to basics: Arguably more important than the insurance policy. It is vital that you backup your files (saving on another device like an external hard drive, for example) to make sure that important documents or cherished photos are not lost along with the device. If your laptop is not recovered, these files will be lost forever if they are not stored elsewhere.
5. And keep them separate: Many will carry their USB stick or hard drive around with the device – rendering the backup process redundant.
6. No worse for the software: If you are a victim of theft, there’s software available that can help. Avoid tracker apps/programmes that make you the detective and allow you to monitor the progress of your stolen gadget; the temptation to turn vigilante and try and recover yourself may be too great. Plus, if you lose your laptop abroad, having a general idea of where it is won’t help when you’re back home. Instead use tracking software that has a dedicated theft recovery team behind it who can work directly with the police to recover your laptop, cutting personal risk out of the equation.
7. Close to me: Don’t feel tempted to check your laptop in with your baggage – it’s much safer if you keep it with you.
8. Disable the cable: Don’t assume your computer is safe just because you’re using a cable lock – these can be cut through all too easily.
9. Just encase: If you’re on holiday, you’ll be out and about. Whether it’s at the beach, on a business trip or on a night out, your device is likely to come out with you. You spend hundreds of pounds on these devices, so protection for the outer shell as well as what’s stored inside is a must.
10. Foreign currency: By now you know to bring a travel adapter on your travels, but what you might not be so aware of is the difference in electrical currents abroad. Electricity is transmitted at different frequencies that vary worldwide, so don’t assume that your gadget’s charger is compatible. You could be faced with a frazzled device, so do your homework on electrical currents in your destination before travelling and get a high-quality converter if necessary.
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Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM