12 Ways To Keep Your Personal Data Safe While Traveling

Discover the essential tips to shield your data on the go and travel worry-free.

Cyber security
Updated May 28, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Whether you're a seasoned globetrotter or a weekend warrior, every adventure comes with a hidden risk: the threat to your digital security.

While pickpockets and lost passports are travel woes of old, modern dangers lurk in the shadows of Wi-Fi hotspots and public charging stations.

So, step up your travel game with these essential cybersecurity tips and keep your data safe wherever your journeys take you.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Use a VPN

DenPhoto/Adobe man uses app vpn on screen

If you’re staying in a hotel while traveling, your internet connection likely won’t be secure. That gives hackers an easy way to steal your data.

One of the best ways to protect your data in these situations is by using a virtual private network or VPN. This is a great way to encrypt data and hide your IP address from prying eyes.

Disable auto-connect

inthasone/Adobe using a laptop while on an airplane

When you are at home, the odds are good that you select the auto-connect option for your Wi-Fi and internet connection for convenience. However, leaving this setting activated means you might accidentally connect to a nefarious network when traveling.

So, before you travel, turn off this feature on your phone, laptop, tablet, and other electronic devices, just to be safe.

Update your devices

Kaspars Grinvalds/Adobe software updates on mobile phone

While it is important to ensure your internet connection is secure, it’s equally vital that the devices you use to connect to the web are also secure.

Before you travel, fully update all electronic devices you plan to take. And if you have downloaded any security software, make sure that gets updated as well.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

Bring your own chargers

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe businesswoman charging phone

There are a host of clever travel scams that data thieves can use to steal your information. One of the more difficult-to-detect schemes is “juice jacking.”

To commit this crime, scammers could potentially load malware on USB port charging stations. You can find these free stations in busy areas such as airports and the lobbies of hotels.

It is important to note that while “juice jacking” is technically possible, the Federal Communications Commission says there are no confirmed instances where it has been used.

Still, it makes sense to play it safe and use your own portable charger to charge devices.

Enable two-factor authentication

jirsak/Adobe two-factor authentication

Odds are good that your email, social media accounts, and many apps have asked you to enable two-factor authentication. Make sure you do so before traveling so you can protect your data.

Instead of simply requiring a password, two-factor authentication also asks for a code or PIN. This request is usually sent to another device, such as your phone or computer.

While two-factor authentication doesn’t make your accounts hack-proof, it does provide a bit of extra security.

Back up your data

momius/Adobe back up your data regularly

Securing your data isn’t just about protecting it from a security breach. Instead, you also want to prepare for such a breach in case it happens despite your best efforts.

Backing up information can help you recover if your data is breached. If you're hacked and have to wipe your devices, it helps to have that information backed up safely at home.

So, transfer a copy of this important data to a USB or external hard drive.

Use device managers

Starmarpro/Adobe team members using laptops

An easy way for hackers to steal your personal information is by stealing your devices. The risk of such a theft looms large when traveling, especially to popular tourist destinations.

If your device is stolen, having a tracker or manager can be a tremendous help, as it can help you track where the device is.

Apple has a tracker called Find My, which can track any number of Apple products. Android has Google Find My Device.

Change passwords before and after your trip

Jenn Miranda/Adobe time to change password text

A strong password is one of the best ways to protect your accounts and information. Changing your passwords frequently works even better.

So, change passwords before you travel to something especially strong. When you return home, change passwords again. That way, if anyone stole your passwords while you were traveling, they couldn’t get into your accounts.

Also, ensure each account has its unique password rather than sharing a single one among all accounts.

Be discrete

Montri/Adobe system hacked alert

While many hackers use advanced, sneaky techniques to steal your data, some hackers use simple tricks like looking over your shoulder and snooping.

Using a VPN can help protect your data, but it won’t stop people from snooping. If you’re using a phone or laptop in public, be careful to shield your screen.

Ensure that people aren’t watching you when you enter sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Ask for a loaner device

Goffkein/Adobe online booking plane tickets

If you’re traveling for work or school, consider asking your company or school if it will lend you a work-specific phone or computer so you can protect your personal information.

These devices usually have their own encryption and can be wiped clean of data when you get back home and return them to your company’s IT department.

Keep an eye on your devices

Kittiphan/Adobe A young women planning her vacation, using a smartphone and laptop to search for different places and hotels, ensuring a well-informed and exciting trip

While it may seem obvious, an important way to protect the data on your devices is by keeping an eye on the devices themselves. Don’t leave your phone or computer unsupervised in public spaces, and be wary of pickpockets in popular tourist spots.

Similarly, keep your devices locked in the safety lockbox when leaving your hotel room. That way, no one with access to your room can steal your information.

Limit what you store digitally

Tierney/Adobe airplane travel theme

Most of our information is stored digitally now, including data associated with our bank accounts and credit cards. However, if you can avoid storing it digitally when traveling, you should.

For example, make sure your devices do not carry lists of passwords or your Social Security number, driver’s license number, or address.

Bottom line

Prostock-studio/Adobe woman using laptop for booking trip

In today's digital world, a lost passport is no longer the only worry on your travel itinerary. 

Data breaches and identity theft can loom large, casting a shadow over your hard-earned vacation. Don't let your digital security be an afterthought. 

Pack these precautionary tips alongside your sunscreen and top travel credit cards, and safeguard your data so you can truly enjoy every moment of your adventure.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards


Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee



Why we like it

Author Details

Lucy Clark

Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.