News recently that the European Commission wants to cut mobile phone overseas roaming charges has highlighted another modern phenomena. The fact is, the internet is so much part of our daily lives, many of us will take our annual vacation this year but still look to connect on the internet while away.
Back in 2009 a report from Ramtech suggested that internet access was even a major selling point for UK-located holiday parks and since then with the sharp rise in smartphone usage that demand has risen massively. The same is true for those holidaying abroad many of whom now seek out accommodation with WiFi or at least a cyber-cafe nearby.
Yet, when on holiday, relaxed and a little switched off, many forget the potential dangers connecting online can present. So we’ve put together our 6 top tips to ensure your holiday can be safe and enjoyable while also avoiding potential pitfalls.
1. Keep any smartphones, laptops, tablets etc safe and close to hand.
Just as they are valuable and at risk of an opportunist theft when in the UK, so they are in a sunny climate and more exotic location.
2. If using internet cafes or hotel public-access computers beware
Keylogging hardware is easy to fit and easy to grab personal data with. It might not be as easy for you to check before you use, but it is worth just checking the connections of the keyboard to check it is routing direct to the PC. Not every proprietor will be as honest as each other either, but the more ‘back-street’ a cafe is, the more likely it might be a front to be stealing customers details either via software or hardware. Just be cautious.
3. Free WiFi is great but not secure
A blog earlier on in the year by our sister site set out the risks of connecting to public WiFi and the same applies when abroad – or even at the airport. There are means and ways of minimising the risk though so have a look at the advice there.
4. Only access sensitive data if you really need to
You are on holiday after all. Try to avoid logging into online banking or other sites where your private information is fully accessible. Sometimes, necessity will require it and the other tips above will help you minimise the risk, but the best way of doing that is to not access sensitive information at all.
5. If using social networks be careful what you post – you never know who may be watching
Sharing the photograph of you and your mates at the airport or posing by the pool, might seem exciting but if somebody reading your profile knows you are away on holiday, that means they also know you are not at home, creating an invitation for thieves make an invited visit while you are not there. This includes not posting comments like “Soooo, excited! Only 3 more sleeps ’til holiday!”.
6. Don’t disappear from view either
If posting on your travels is a spotlight on your home being empty, so can not posting at all on social networks for a week, if you are usually an avid Facebooker or Tweeter. If you don’t think you will be able to check-in while away – and by check-in we don’t mean using location-based networks (see 5 above!) – consider using a scheduling client for tweets and Facebook updates of a mundane kind that make it look like you are still around. HootSuite offer this kind of system.
Your holiday should be a stress-free time, follow the above advice and try and keep it that way.