8 Social Media Safety Tips for Travel

You’re excited about your trip. You’ve checked everything off your packing list, dropped your pups off at a friend’s house and taken the obligatory snapshot of your packed suitcase to post on Instagram. Your friends and family have asked for constant updates, so you’ve downloaded all the latest versions of the social apps specifically for this purpose.

But wait... Before you’re all jet-set-and-fancy-free, you might want to be a little more careful. Remember it’s not just your friends hanging out on the internet. Anybody could be checking out your social media accounts, casing your profiles and getting a play-by-play of all the stuff you’re doing just by reading your IG and Twitter. You can never be too careful, especially when it comes to sharing your personal information online. Here are eight safety tips to make sure you stay safe while away from home.

Keep it Private

1. Don’t Share Your Itinerary

Keep your flight and accommodation information private. By sharing publicly, you're telling thieves the exact times you’re going to be out of your home, and stalkers the exact place where you’re planning to sleep. A popular trend on social media sites is to “Check In” at the airport and post where you are going. While this status update can seem harmless, it give others the information that your home is already vacant.

2. Don’t Share Your Meetup Plans

Meeting an old friend for coffee at your favorite cafe? Keep it between you two. If someone is tracking you via your social media and you share where you’re going to be, you might be setting up a situation in which you’ll be very vulnerable. If you can’t resist posting an adorable photo of your food or drink, save the photo to post at a different time or as a #TBT later down the line.

3. Don’t Share Info About What You’re Traveling With

Anything you have with you that might be valuable to someone else — your passport, your new iPad, $500 in birthday money — keep it off social.

4. Don’t Share Anything Sensitive (Particularly on Public Wi-Fi)

Even if you’re not posting your plans all over social, be careful of any online activity on a public or open Wi-Fi network. If the network is unsecure, don’t share any sensitive information. This means you shouldn’t log into bank websites or use your credit card to purchase something online. Experienced hackers can gain access to public Wi-Fi hotspots and steal information if you aren’t careful!

Safer Ways to Share

5. Keep it Personal

You don’t have to keep your friends in the dark on your trip. Start a group text, or create a WhatsApp thread. This way you can keep the pictures and updates flowing without the worry.

6. Wait it Out

Wait until your vacation is over, then post all those beach pics. Go crazy with your geotags and maps that show exactly where you’ve been. No one can use the info against you now!

7. Turn it Off

You love updating your friends, but it’s also nice to just turn off the technology for a bit. Just let your friends know you’re using your vacation as an opportunity to unplug for a bit but that you’ll give them a big update when you return. Make a point to take pictures but don’t post until you’re headed home. Two birds, one stone.

8. Educate Your Kids

If you have kids, make sure they understand what’s ok and not ok to post while you’re traveling and why.

TMI? Thieves Don't Think So!

Everything about your life and trip that you put on social media is up for grabs, and you can’t control whose hands it falls into (yes, even if you make your profile is private). While your intention may be to just update your friends, you’re giving away a few crucial facts to those with less than noble intentions. Take a moment to think like a thief:

Social Media Post Translations

Leaving on a jet plane ... to Hawaii ✌ 🌴 🏄 🏝

What this means to a thief:

Hey, I’m not home. Come steal my stuff.

Eating with new friends! Check out this sushi and saki combo 🍣

What this means to a pickpocket:

I’m over here and I might be distracted.

Off to spend the birthday 💲💲💲 on a new leather jacket #splurge

What this means to a mugger:

I’m carrying around at least $500 in cash.”

The Bottom Line

Social media is supposed to be fun. Take all the selfies while you’re gone, but don’t let social ruin your vacation. Keeping your information safe is a great way to ensure your personal safety. While it is fun to share your adventures with your friends and family, your safety is more important than any photo or status update!

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The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.