If you are the least bit connected digitally, then you are definitely like approximately 44% of the rest of the planet who travel with their laptop or some other form of mobile device. But, how do we insure stress free travel by eliminating the possibility of theft or loss of our computer? Here are several suggestions that might solve the problem for you and bring you some peace of mind when travelling anywhere with your device, even if it’s a short road trip!
- KEEP IT PADDED
OK, this may be obvious to some, but you’d be surprised how many laptops are flung, shoved, and smashed into suitcases, backpacks, travel bags, and whatever other form of carry-on exists…even just under the arm!! But, these various forms of…”luggage”, offer no protection to your laptop. It doesn’t take much to crack a screen, let alone, the security issues that are promoted having your laptop somewhat out in the open like that. Purchase a padded, non-descript carrying case, specifically built for transporting a laptop. Pricing varies, but there are inexpensive designs out there that will do the trick.
- TURN IT OF
Make absolutely sure your power is OFF, not on ‘hibernation” mode. The heat that will still be generated by your hibernating computer, with no ventilation since it IS packed away securely, will quite possibly cause severe damage to the delicate components of your laptop. Remember, heat is the #1 enemy of a computer.
- KEEP IT IN SIGHT…BUT KEEP IT OUT OF SIGHT
YOU should ALWAYS keep an eye on your laptop, but you should take extra precautions to keep it out of everyone else’s sight. Laptops top the list of most stolen items during travel. And this is because most people place it on the seat next to them in the airport, or leave it in full view in the car while they’ve stopped to get a bite to eat. Be diligent and train yourself to be a little paranoid in this case…that the world is out to steal your computer! It will work to get you into a mode of thinking that is less careless and more attentive.
- BACK IT UP AND LOCK IT DOWN
What could be worse than losing your laptop or the information in it? Everything you have stored in it, sensitive personal and/or professional information, precious photos, etc.?? To protect your information, start by locking down your information with a strong password and encryption. DO NOT STORE YOUR PASSWORDS ON YOUR LAPTOP!
As far as your lap top goes, make sure that all your important data is stored and secured on a hard drive at your home or office, or stored on the “Cloud”, so you can retrieve your data and pick up right where you left off as soon as you replace your missing computer.
- REMEMBER…YOU’RE IN PUBLIC
When wandering in between WiFis, it’s very easy to pick up hitchhikers in the form of viruses, malware, or “data snoops”. Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware installed and running in the background. Keep your firewall up to block unsolicited connections to your PC. When connected to an unfamiliar network, again, sometimes it’s best to be a tad paranoid and treat everyone as if they were the enemy. Also, be mindful of how many inquiries on your personal info you make while using a public WiFi. Checking your financial accounts while away on vacation or business might seem like a good idea, but if you’re on a public WiFi, you’re just asking for trouble. If you must perform an on-line transaction, make sure the web address begins with “https” and there is a locked padlock icon in the corner of the browser window, or in the address bar itself, indicating that you are connected to a secure site.
- FINALLY…KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE
It is important that you record the make, model and serial number of your lap top. Having this information on hand is crucial for reporting it if it becomes lost or stolen…and perhaps maybe recovering it.