Let’s be honest! The most essential item when traveling is the cell phone, especially for smart phone users. We use our phones as a GPS, keep track of reservations, confirmation numbers and itineraries using apps, and take photos. To be safe during travel, we have to think smart — not just trust the smart phone to do the thinking for us. Use these 5 cell phone safety tips when you travel (or just out and about) and travel smart!
5 Cell Phone Safety Tips for Travelers
- Use a passcode! Sure, passcodes are annoying. We use our phones so often that entering a passcode can get annoying. Consider the alternative, though. You lose your phone and before you have a chance to notify the phone company, the person who finds it racks up lots of data usage, makes calls outside your network or searches your phone to find your address and robs your house. Just a few things to consider there!
- Do not use Facebook check-ins! When you “check in” using your smart phone, you advertise to social networks exactly where you are. Anyone who is a friend of a friend on Facebook might just see that check-in, realize that you aren’t home and break in. Don’t make yourself a target. (And it seemed so harmless…. just a way to share the fun in your life with friends…. Smart phones need smart phone users!)
- Do not save your home address in your maps/GPS. You know where you live. Instead of advertising your home address to whomever finds your phone, use a general address instead. Or your town. You don’t need turn by turn directions to your driveway, so don’t give away where you live. (That goes for car-installed GPS as well. Believe it or not, valet service employees have been known to use that GPS to rob diners’ homes while they enjoy a fancy dinner.)
- Share photos after you get home from vacation. But it’s so fun… I know! You want to share your child’s enormous grin with granny and granddad and all your closest friends on Facebook (Instagram, Twitter, etc). Yet, when you share those photos in real time, you advertise that you are NOT home! Think about it… What’s the best time to rob a house? When the residents aren’t home…. think Home Alone, the movie(s)!
- Install a “Find my Phone” app. True confession, I need this just to find my phone in the house! But that’s a story for another time and place. Some phones now have built-in software to help owners find them, but if yours is older or simpler, you can download the free app. If your phone is lost or stolen, you have a better chance of finding it. These apps can also lock your screen to prevent others from using the phone or accessing your files (Do you pay bills electronically? You probably have credit card and password info in your email.)
But the most important cell phone safety tip is this: DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE (or update Facebook statuses, use your travel apps, or adjust your playlist or anything else)!!! A recent study by the University of Michigan Transportation Institute discovered that while overall traffic fatalities are down 22%, the number of fatalities caused by distracted cell phone users is up by 42%! Put your phone away and concentrate on the driving. After all, if you update your status “Headed to the beach” and crash while typing, you won’t get there. Think about it!
Do you agree with my 5 cell phone safety tips? Have one to add? Leave a comment below. Let’s be smart together!
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