Travel Safety Tips! Protect Yourself and Your ID While Traveling

Travel can be a wonderful adventure – but traveling can present risks too. Tourists are often targets for identity thieves who might use information from credit cards, IDs, and passports to wreak financial havoc. Even more challenging, victims might not realize they have been struck until they get back from the trip, potentially making the damage even worse. Limit your vulnerability with these simple travel safety tips that lessen your risk:  

  • Take only the cards and documents you really need 
  • Keep your wallet information in a separate location 
  • Do not leave personal documents in your accommodations 
  • Surf safely 
  • Lock down your phone 
  • Be vigilant 


Take only the cards and documents you really need 

The average wallet or purse often contains a wealth of information that identity thieves can use, including bills, checks, and less-used credit cards. After you pack your bags, unpack your wallet so it has only what you need. 

Keep your wallet information in a separate location 

 Once you have pared down your wallet’s contents, make photocopies of the back and front of your credit cards, driver’s license, and health insurance cards, and keep that copy in a safe place. That way, if your wallet is stolen or lost, you will have all the info you need to prevent damage, even while you are still traveling. Just be sure to keep the duplicate info safe! If it is lost or stolen, you will need to go through the same cancellation process. 

Do not leave any personal documents in your accommodations 

Even throwing receipts into the trash can be a concern when it comes to traveling, since those slips of paper might have your name and credit card information. If you do leave documents in your room during the day, make sure to lock them up, either in the safe provided in most hotel rooms, or you can invest in a travel safe that can hide in your bag. 

Surf safely  

Travelers often use hotel Wi-Fi connections, or coffee shop, to stay in touch with friends and work. Because these connections are not always secure, be very careful about accessing any bank information or other sites with sensitive information. Thieves may have installed “keylogger” software on public computers, capturing your keystrokes, including usernames and passwords. Some people create travel email addresses and forward their email to that account, then delete those accounts when they return. If you are worried about security, you can also create a private mobile hotspot with your phone. Just pay attention to your phone plan and the amount of data you have access to. 

Lock down your phone 

These days, smartphones can contain just as much personal information as your home computer. Make sure that a lost or stolen phone does not become a huge security problem.  You can do this by setting a password on the phone, deleting banking and social media apps (you can reinstall when you are home), and removing any sensitive information. For more information about using your phone and other devices safely, see How can you prevent identity theft on mobile devices? Our top tips.

Be vigilant 

The number 1 tip for protecting your information and yourself is to be aware of your surroundings and your things. Make a habit of regularly checking for your wallet, passport, etc. Is your backpack zipped? Is someone standing unusually close to you? Always keep an eye out and pay attention. 

Once you are home, and on a secure Internet connection again, check your credit card and banking activity to catch any fraudulent charges early. With these travel safety tips, you can relax and enjoy your vacation. To learn more about identity theft protection, download Cobalt CU’s free e-book, Identity Theft Protection Manual