5 Holiday Travel Security Tips

Written by Kate Lake on December 13, 2023

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If holiday movies have taught us anything, it’s that holiday travel can be stressful, comedically inconvenient, and a breeding ground for dramatic gestures. They’ve also taught us that, no matter how crazy things get, a little bit of holiday spirit will make it all okay. 

Unfortunately, hackers don’t abide by the same rules. 

Holiday travel can be hectic and exhausting — but don’t let that catch you off-guard when it comes to security. Public transportation can put your devices and information at risk — especially in crowded public spaces and when you don’t follow best practices. If you plan to travel during the holidays this season, practice these five steps to make sure your devices and information stay secure. 

1. Before You Travel: Start Tracking Your Device

Set up device tracking on the devices you plan to take with you before you travel. This way, if your device is lost or stolen, you can both attempt to find it and take the proper steps to secure its data, either by remotely locking or wiping it. 

Apple’s device tracking app is called “Find My,” and Android’s is “Find My Device,” and there are third-party solutions you can use as well. Depending on which apps you use, they may have additional helpful features, like the ability to make the device ping to help you find it, or allowing you to send a custom message to display on the lost device so people can return it to you.

Pro tip: Don’t wait until a device is lost or stolen to learn how these capabilities work. Familiarize yourself with the app and its capabilities when you set it up. This way, you can secure it immediately and act quickly to retrieve it. 

2. Avoid Public WiFi

By nature, public WiFi is open, and it often lacks adequate protections. This makes connecting to it a security risk.

One common attack vector over public WiFi is data interception: hackers may intercept a user’s data (i.e., passwords, financials, corporate information) when it’s transmitted over a public network. In addition, malicious hotspots may impersonate legitimate networks, which could lead users to unknowingly connect to a fraudulent network, putting their data at risk.

Using a personal VPN to access the internet can reduce the risk of public WiFi. Alternatively, accessing the internet via cellular data instead of WiFi can be a more secure option. 

3. Be Wary of Device Sharing

Device sharing always comes with some level of risk, and your first line of defense should be to avoid sharing devices altogether.

However, travel can be unpredictable. If you find yourself in a bind where you need to check your personal email or account on someone else’s device, use incognito mode so you don’t drop cookies on their browser or accidentally save passwords. If you lend your device to someone else, request that they do the same.

4. Use a Charging Brick — Not a Direct USB Port

You know those USB ports built directly into outlets, airplane seats, cafe tables, etc.? Don’t use them. They may be convenient, but there’s risk associated with plugging directly into a public USB port. Malicious actors can use compromised ports to install malware or steal data from connected devices. 

Instead of plugging into the USB ports, always bring a charging cable and block with you so you can plug directly into a standard outlet to charge. Carrying a charged power bank with you can help you avoid the charging issue altogether.

5. Check Your Company’s Guidelines

If you ever plan to travel with a company device or do work on a personal device while on-the-go, check-in with your company first. Usually, they’ll have guidelines in place for safe mobile work. If there aren’t official guidelines in place, talk with your manager or security team to understand how to safely travel with your device.

Take Security Further

While these tips are easy and effective ways to secure your devices and information during travel, they’re not comprehensive. Mobile device management (MDM) can significantly boost you and your team’s security, no matter where they travel or work from. 

JumpCloud takes the security of MDM one step further by unifying it with identity and access management (IAM) for robust, comprehensive security anywhere. Learn more about JumpCloud MDM.

Kate Lake

Kate Lake is a Senior Content Writer at JumpCloud, where she writes about JumpCloud’s cloud directory platform and trends in IT, technology, and security. She holds a Bachelors in Linguistics from the University of Virginia and is driven by a lifelong passion for writing and learning. When she isn't writing for JumpCloud, Kate can be found traveling, exploring the outdoors, or quoting a sci-fi movie (often all at once).

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