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Travel Smarter: Our Travel Tech Checklist

by | Jan 17, 2023 | Mobile, Work From Home

I recently took my first vacation in a long time. It wasn’t much, just a 4-day weekend to Charlottesville. I made sure to plan it on a holiday weekend so it interrupted as little work as possible. Every time I travel I have a tech checklist to make sure I’m ready if any of our clients have an emergency I need to take care of while I’m away. Most of the time, there’s nothing to worry about. But it’s good to have my ducks in a row for emergencies when they arise.

Here’s my main tech checklist. My goal for traveling is to ensure that what I’m taking is necessary and I’m simplifying as much as possible.

  • Charge all devices to 100%
  • Pack laptop, tablet, phone, watch, headphones
  • Laptop charger. I evaluate what I’m taking if I need more than the laptop charger to stay powered up. The Macbook chargers now allow you to use interchangeable cables, making it nearly universal.
  • If I’m only traveling for a day or two, I will omit the charger to save weight and rely on an external battery for charging and emergencies.
  • External battery bank, compatible with all devices and capable of charging if I don’t have the laptop charger.

Once I have all those things ready to go, I run through a safety checklist:

Configure a VPN

VPN is first on my task list because it can sometimes take a while to set up, test, or have your IT person get configured during business hours.

Free Wi-Fi may be offered everywhere when you’re on the road, but it can also be dangerous. You don’t know who else is using that Wi-Fi. An attacker hanging out on the connection can easily steal your data if you’re not protected.

It’s better to use either your mobile carrier connection or a VPN. We prefer to use the VPN that connects back to the office, but other VPN apps exist that will allow you to tunnel your traffic to a safe location.

If you plan to connect to company resources, you should always plan to have a VPN ready to go. It’s a good idea to test Remote Desktop while you’re at it.

Download Travel Apps

Have you ever sat at an airport gate wondering why it looked so empty? How did everyone else know about the gate change? They most likely had the app for the airline and received a notification.

Before you leave for a trip, make sure to download any apps you may need for your travel. It’s better to download them when you’re at home on your own Wi-Fi and have them signed in and ready to go before you leave the house. If you wait until you’re at the airport, reception may be an issue and you’ll be in a hurry.

Some of the apps you may want to grab or update before your trip are:

  • Airline, train, taxi (Uber or Lyft)
  • Hotel or accommodation
  • Amusement park or event
  • Camping ground
  • Weather
  • Any local or regional apps to stay in the known

I always make sure I use the airline’s app to check in to my flight ahead of time, that way I’m sure I’m signed in and ready to go. I also tend to delete Uber and Lyft when I’m not using them so they’re not tracking my whereabouts, so reinstalling before heading out is important.

If your hotel has an app, use it to check in, get a digital key if they offer one, and check for any promotions or events happening nearby that might affect your travel itinerary. Getting stuck waiting for a marathon or bike race when you’re on a deadline is the worst.

Run a Backup

Unfortunately, mishaps occur when traveling. You may leave your phone behind on a boat, have your luggage lost, or get your device stolen while in a crowded area.

10% of all laptop thefts happen in airports.

Don’t lose all your data with the device! Back up your devices to the cloud or local storage before you travel. This ensures that you won’t lose the valuable information on your device. You also won’t need to think twice about enacting a remote “wipe my device” command if necessary.

Double Check Your Security Settings

Make your devices as secure as possible before you hit the road. When we’re traveling, our minds are occupied by other things. So, you may not think to check your antivirus or avoid suspicious phishing links.

Protect your devices before you go using:

  • Screen lock with passcode
  • Sharing features turned off
  • VPN application
  • Find-My-Device feature turned on
  • Make sure drives are encrypted
  • Antivirus/anti-malware
  • DNS filtering

Additionally, and especially for corporate devices, you should have them enrolled in Mobile Device Management (MDM). This will allow you to ensure devices are secure no matter where they are. And if they do get lost while you’re out in the world, you can make sure they’re locked and unable to be accessed.

Get the Right Cords & Adapters

People leave behind countless chargers and adapters every day. They litter airports, restaurants, and train stations around the world.  Make sure to bring a backup charger for your laptop, tablet, or phone. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying a premium for a new charger in a gift shop. Your device could also go black if you lose its charger and can’t quickly get a new one.

Have Backup Power

A great way to ensure you have the power you need is to buy a small charging battery. You can find these in most major retailers or online. They are small “blocks” that hold a charge and can power up a cell phone in a pinch.

Having this extra backup also helps you avoid potential juice-jacking ports. These are fake or compromised public USB charging ports. Hackers use them to steal your data when you plug in.

Our techs always have a universal power bank in their bags that can charge everything they need. We prefer the Anker 737 right now. I also use the Anker Powerwave Go 3-in-1 charger. It allows me to take the battery right off the stand and charge on the go.

Check Your Mobile Plan

If you’re traveling out of the country, you’ll want to check your mobile plan. If you don’t have the ability to call internationally, then you may not be able to text or call home.

Carriers can add an international capability to your plan, but ask about pricing. It can get expensive if you’re on long calls or using mobile data. An alternative is to set up a VoIP app you can use with your office, friends, or family while you’re traveling. These enable both calls and SMS, but you do need an internet connection.

Improve the Security of Your Devices Now

Don’t leave your devices unprotected. This could mean a breach of your banking app or personal data. Contact us for device security solutions to reduce your risk.