Exploring the world is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It exposes you to cultures and places that are worlds different from your own, which can be a fun and enriching experience.

And with the progression of technology and the proliferation of information available on the Internet, travelling is something that’s become very accessible for the modern-day traveller.

From navigational apps to online booking platforms, technology has simplified the process of planning and executing trips. 

However, this convenience also comes with the responsibility to use technology wisely and securely. 

The Internet, for one, is a platform where many types of people congregate. The majority of these people act in good faith; however, there are an unscrupulous few who are malicious actors who want to prey on a traveller’s naivety. 

As such, you need to practise caution when dealing with digital tools to ensure that your holiday trip is safe and enjoyable.

Safety should be your number one priority when travelling to unfamiliar territory. Read on to learn how you can use technology wisely in your next adventure.

1. Know The Local Area’s Emergency Number

Technology like smartphones allows you to do a wide range of functions. This is the case even if you aren’t connected to the Internet.

One basic but vital feature that modern phones allow you to do is call the local emergency number. If you find yourself in a precarious situation, such as being lost in the wilderness, calling the local area’s emergency number can be the action you need to get the help you need.

That said, it’s essential that you know the area’s local number. Most local emergency number hotlines allow you to call them without a SIM card—so long that you’re within range of a cellphone tower.

So before you travel overseas, be sure that you know the emergency number of your destination to heart. In Australia, it’s 000; in the US, it’s 911, and so on.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can also keep a list of the phone numbers of the local hospital and police in your person. This way, you can immediately contact the relevant responder when you or someone you know is in trouble.

2. Bring a Waterproof Bag For Your Devices

When travelling, always try to keep your valuables safe and dry. A damaged camera or smartphone can set you back hundreds of dollars—enough to ruin the entire mood of the trip. 

And this can happen if you fail to keep your electronics safe from rain and spillages adequately.

One way to safeguard your electronics is by putting them in a special waterproof bag. This bag should be specifically designed to keep your devices safe not just from water and liquids, but also from fine particles like sand and gravel at the beach.

You can also invest in waterproof cases like a sling waterproof phone case that allows you to go hiking with your phone strapped around your neck or submerged underwater with little risk of it getting wet.

In any case, travelling smartly entails keeping your belongings dry and in top condition at all times. Investing in waterproof casing can accomplish just that, enhancing your holiday experience.

3. Keep Digital Copies of Your Identification

When travelling, it’s important that you always have digital files of important information on hand. Losses and thefts have a non-zero chance of happening when you’re out and about—and you want to be prepared in case this happens to you.

One way to keep yourself safe is by having digital copies of your ID and passport on your phone. This can help you prove your identity in case you manage to lose your wallet. It also helps you facilitate the recovery of your documents faster when you return back home.

That said, be sure that your phone is locked behind a strong password so that no bad actor can access your files. Having this extra layer of security can help you stress less during your holiday and become more prepared for the worst.

4. Read Internet Reviews Before Making Any Bookings

Before you book a tour from an agency or a hotel, cross-check in review websites whether the place or tour you’re booking is legitimate or any good.

Making bookings through hotel booking websites like Agoda, Booking.com, or TripAdvisor is generally safe, especially for established chains. So are bookings made on tour websites like Klook and GetYourGuide for tours. However, there may be some tours or hotels within these sites that have questionable quality or safety protocols.

In such cases, it’s important that you look at the reviews made by previous customers who have experienced these experiences. 

Checking out reviews beforehand will also help you set your expectations of a particular experience, which can give you better ownership over your itinerary. 

It also helps you avoid website scams. This article published by Westpac helps you know how to avoid such scams.

Being a smart traveller means leaving no stone unturned. If you find that a particular travel agency has a questionable reputation, then it’s best to ditch it for a more reputable provider.

5. Choose Secure WiFi Networks When Travelling

Free public WiFi can feel like a godsend when you see it, but in unknown places, it could put your data at risk.

Hackers can use these hotspots to intercept data and breach private information from devices connected to them. As such, it’s best that you avoid doing anything sensitive like banking or shopping on a public network.

One way to keep yourself protected when you use public WiFi is by using a VPN to encrypt your activity and “hide” from hackers. 

Better yet, when travelling overseas, get a data SIM card or pocket WiFi that you can use to conduct all your necessary digital activities. It’s much safer and convenient that way.

6. Download Essential Travel Apps

When you’re out on holiday, it’s a good idea to have apps that can help you navigate, communicate, and gain local knowledge.

Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze are stellar navigation apps that can help you navigate the roads of the city or town you’re in. These apps can even give you a commute route and timetable, making it easier to navigate on public transportation.

Rideshare apps are also extremely helpful to give you access to safe and reliable transportation. GrabCar, Uber, and DiDi are some options you can consider depending on where you’re visiting.

It’s also a good idea to get the local communication app of the destination you’re visiting. For instance, if you’re visiting Japan, LINE is the most common communication app that locals use. If you’re visiting the Philippines, Messenger or Viber are popular choices.

Translator apps are also helpful to communicate with locals, particularly if you’re visiting a place where locals aren’t known to speak good English.

7. Pack Smart with Better Tech Products

Another way to travel smart is to pack light. Fortunately, you can choose to pack some technological products that can let you leave some bulkier stuff behind.

For instance, you can consider investing in a high-quality smartphone to substitute a bulky mid-range mirrorless camera. 

You can consider bringing Airpods instead of wired headphones to free up your baggage space. You can also consider getting a smaller power bank to lighten up your load.

There are many tech tools that can elevate your trip experience. You don’t have to bring many of them—just the quality ones.

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