Low-cost tips to protect your gadgets when you travel

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Most of us can’t even go to the grocery store without our smartphone, let alone take a whole trip. How else would we order an Uber or find the best nearby restaurant?

 

These days, toting hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of electronics around the globe is the new norm. But traveling with expensive gear does come with risks, like thieves looking to profit from unsuspecting tourists. Or, absentmindedly leaving our gadgetry in odd places.

 

Since we rely so much on our tech when we travel, it pays to put some effort into keeping it secure. Here are a few low-cost ways to keep your electronics safe on the road.

 

Take inventory

Before you pack, make a list of any expensive gadgets you are taking. Note the brand name, model, color and any other distinguishing characteristics. If an item gets lost, you’ll have a detailed description to give hotel staff, local police or your insurance company. Plus, you can use the inventory as a checklist when you repack to ensure you don’t leave anything behind.

 

Tag your tech

Remember when your parents wrote your initials inside your jacket so you wouldn’t lose it at school? They were onto something.Attaching your contact info helps increase the odds of being reunited with your tech. You can do it old-school with a pen and masking tape, or use an app such as TechTagger.

 

Go incognito

Expensive brand logos look like dollar signs to a potential thief. Carry your gadgets in a nondescript bag and conceal any logos with a cover, case or sticker to make it harder to tell how much your tech is worth. Tip: If you’re lounging on the beach, use a cleaned-out sunscreen bottle to discreetly stash your phone, keys and other small gadgets. This will keep them out of sight while protecting them from the sun and sand.

 

Secure your wires

Traveling can be hard on your tech. Cords get tangled. Charger cables get bent, inflicting wear and tear on the wires inside. Reinforce your charger by removing the spring from a ballpoint pen and wrapping it around the cable near the connector, where chargers typically bend the most. Cut notches on the sides of a used gift card and wrap your headphones or cords around it to keep them secured inside your bag.

 

Use the hotel safe

Don’t want to take all of your devices out and about for the day? Instead of leaving them unprotected in your hotel room, take advantage of the hotel safe to secure any items you leave behind. Tip: Insurance providers may not cover an item stolen from your hotel room if a safe was available and you didn’t use it.

 

Shield your data

If your phone or laptop does get stolen, the last thing you want is for the thief to mine it for your personal info. And you definitely don’t want to fall prey to hackers while you’re using your tech, either. Engage screen lock. Use password protection. Back up your data. Encrypt (or remove) sensitive files. Beware of public Wi-Fi.

 

It’s almost impossible to travel without gadgets these days. While they can make your adventures easier and more enjoyable, they can also leave you vulnerable to loss. A little extra security for your tech can save you a lot of money in the long run.