For some, traveling has become a common occurrence to a point where the auto-pilot state has snuck in. For others, maybe it’s a road less traveled and there are things you may not have thought to think about. Either way, it is important to take preliminary steps in order to avoid identity theft, hacking and other unmentionable actions that can add unnecessary burden to your travels. Here are a few steps you can take to save yourself some future trouble:

  • Keep sensitive data off your hard drive

Saving sensitive data on your devices leaves you vulnerable to data loss in the event of hacking, theft or physical damage. Keeping sensitive data in the cloud is a good habit to implement into your life as access and storage isn’t directly reliant upon your device. This means that no matter what happens to your device, your sensitive data is safe and sound. General good practice is to perform weekly backups of all your devices so that you can access your most recent information in the event of one of them getting lost, stolen or damaged.

  • Use a VPN

As mentioned in 5 Basic Tech Tips: From Managed Service Providers to You, connecting to public Wi-Fi means risky business, especially when accessing sensitive data or shared folders. If you decide to take this route, make sure you have a highly credible VPN set up and are only browsing the internet when signed into it. This will encrypt your data, forcing hackers to crack a code in order to access your information. As an extra precaution, make sure to turn your Wi-Fi option off on your cellphone to keep your device from connecting to an unsecure network. If you need to access public Wi-Fi and don’t have a private VPN, you’ll want to avoid sending private emails and logging into accounts, such as banking and shopping apps, and using a credit card.

  • Turn off location trackers

Although this is a highly convenient resource for travelers, it leaves you vulnerable in the hands of hackers. When your location features are on, you are sharing information about your where-bouts, giving hackers real-time location tracking. This can lead to identity theft, robbery and device access. Double check your applications and switch their tracking to ‘off’, especially ones where this type of information isn’t relevant for it to work.