The holiday season means traveling to see family and friends, and is a wonderful time of year. That travel includes planes, trains and automobiles. Although that movie was hilarious, travel can be hazardous to the protection of your privacy.

Here are some basic tips to keep in mind while traveling on planes, trains and automobiles during the holiday season.

  1. Don’t leave your laptop, tablet. USB drive, other removable media or mobile phone in your car trunk. I get a call a month on stolen removable media from cars. They are stolen all the time, and the consequences can be dire for you individually and for your company.
  2. Don’t leave your laptop, tablet or mobile phone unattended on a plane or train. I take the train all the time, and love it, but it is amazing to see how people go to the restroom or café car and leave their mobile devices unattended. Bad idea.
  3. Use complex passwords on all devices so if you forget them or they are stolen, your data is not immediately vulnerable and accessible. Sometimes if you leave your devices in the waiting area in the airport, or on the plane or train, a nice individual will return it, but still, you don’t want your data automatically exposed.
  4. Be careful not to store or leave your devices in the seat pockets of airplanes or trains. This also happens all the time!
  5. Destroy your travel documents (including boarding passes) when you are finished with them by shredding them. There is a lot of personal information on those documents and savvy hackers can use the barcodes to get all sorts of information about you.
  6. If your mobile technology is lost or stolen, call your company IT department immediately or remote wipe them yourself.
  7. Lock your laptop and other mobile devices in your hotel safe.
  8. Wipe your laptop before and after you travel to high risk areas such as China, Russia, the Ukraine, Iran or Iraq. If you are traveling with a company computer, get a loaner and work with your IT department to make sure there are no “presents” on your laptop when you return from these high risk areas.
  9. Use your VPN connection any time you are accessing your company information and not free wifi.
  10. Frequently update your virus and firewall protections.

Happy holidays and safe travels!