Stay Safe: How You’re Vulnerable to Identity Theft When Traveling

travelThere are many risks that travelers face when packing up and jetting off. The nature of the pursuit leaves people unprotected and very vulnerable. Over the years, the type of crime that travelers are a risk of falling victim to has changed. Now, more than ever before, identity theft is on the rise, and many unwittingly adventurers are finding their journeys cut short due to an unsuspected attack.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s time to put away the hiking boots and backpack for good! Although the risk is there, it should never stop you from doing what you love and getting out to see the world. By taking a few simple steps to help understand the threats and do what you can to minimize them, travelers can protect themselves and continue their journey without having to constantly worry about the chance of disaster.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft comes in many different forms, but they’re usually the means to a similar end. When criminals intercept your details, they do so in order to use that information for their own monetary gain. In the simplest form, they could merely aim to collect enough information to be able to access your bank account and drain the money from it; however, more complex variations on the scheme include fraudulently applying for loans or credit using another person’s identity and then leaving the victim to deal with the fall out.

Although most good banks and organizations will resolve with the situation accordingly and make sure you’re not out of pocket, the immediate repercussions when on the road and traveling could be disastrous. You could easily face your funds being frozen, bank accounts locked and even police enquiries, so avoiding the situation at all cost is a necessary practice.

Physical Theft

Physical theft is a common and, unfortunately, likely problem that all travelers are potential victims to. Due to the fact they carry so many personal and sensitive documents around with them, tourists regularly become targets for pickpockets and thieves. Similarly, the lack of secure storage when backpacking and staying in hostels leaves valuables at significant risk.

Fortunately, this is a problem that has been acknowledged by many, and steps have been taken to reduce the threat. Many hostels offer lockable safes to all their customers, and many money belts are designed to keep your cash and documents safe and close to your body while traveling around. However, it’s still important to be aware and stringent with these practices. Avoid leaving your bag lying around unattended when on the road, and make sure you hide valuables in hidden pockets so no sticky fingers can reach in and grab them.

Public WiFi Networks

Identity theft is not just a problem in terms of physical crime; one of the most vulnerable points for travelers’ information to be stolen is when connecting to the internet. This is because, often, people on the road have to rely on public WiFi networks to be able to connect. These networks are notoriously unsecure as they leave your data flying around unprotected and completely visible to prying eyes. As you input passwords and credit card details into websites, then malicious hackers can intercept and gather that information before using it for their own benefit.

Unfortunately, public WiFi is a necessary evil for life as a traveler; however, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid becoming victim to online identity theft. First, try to ensure you only use dependable WiFi spots. There are many rogue hotspots set up specifically for data collection, so sticking to named and trusted brands—such as Starbucks and McDonalds—or using traceable sources—such as your hostel WiFi—ensures that you won’t stumble into one of these digital traps. To protect yourself further, it’s worth installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This handy piece of software acts as a middleman and encrypts your data before you access the public network. This means you can input information without worrying about onlookers and can surf the internet safely and securely.

Credit Card Interceptions

Unsurprisingly, credit card information is some of the most sensitive, and most coveted, data out there. This is because, although other information allows criminals to commit fraud, having direct access to someone’s bank account is a much quicker and straightforward payout. There are numerous techniques all over the world that criminals use to try to intercept card details, so any traveler could be exposed to many scams and tricks during their journey.

Some simple steps to take to improve your security include being stringent with cash point usage. ATM’s are a hotspot for credit card fraud. Criminals tamper with the machines to prevent cards coming back out, and watch over your shoulder as you repeatedly input you pin number, or even use heat-sensing technology to pick up which buttons you pressed. To avoid this, aim to use trusted cash points that have long queues and report any thing suspicious immediately. Also ensure you always cover your pin and even press a few extra buttons for good measure to avoid heat tracking! If you are worried about a certain transaction, make sure you ring your bank as soon as you can, as reporting it early can make a big difference in ensuring a refund.

While worrying about the risks should never be enough to prevent you from traveling, it is always worth being cautious! These few steps are a great place to start to optimize your security and stay safe on the road. If you have any more tips that you feel should be added to this list, then be sure to leave a comment below.

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How to Save on International Holiday Travel

There are loads of people who love to travel on the holidays, but most of them pay a premium to do so. If you want to travel for the holidays 2016, your window of time is well open. There are many techniques that you can employ to score some awesome deals, whether you want to go someplace in particular or if you have no particular destination in mind. With more than a year before you leave, this is when the best deals will still be available.

If you just need to get out of town, and want to go somewhere that’s outside of your home nation, you will do best if you pick a place that has different holiday traditions than your own. If you’re like many of our readers, you live in a nation where most citizens celebrate holidays that happen in November, December, and January.

This is typical of so-called “first-world nations” for many reasons. Marketing and national economy realities make it efficient for all people groups in a nation to get their celebrating out of the way within a period of a few weeks. This enables the larger economy to move along with minimal interruption and infrastructure strain.

Much of this strain comes in the form of travel burden. In the United States, there is more travel on the road and airways during November and December than in most other months of the year combined. This results in higher costs for all. Airlines have to pay more fuel and operating costs as more people move through their facilities. More personnel demands, more delays, more things to repair: it’s all part of the holiday season. These costs get passed down to consumers, who are already paying more to get seats on crowded airplanes.

While this aspect of late-year airline travel cost can not be completely avoided, it’s possible to fly for less simply by traveling to a nation which doesn’t have widespread December holiday culture. It may seem hard to believe, but more than half of the world is a good destination contender for this kind of holiday. If you want to get out of town while the rest of your nation is celebrating Christmas or some other Judeo-Christian holiday (or another holiday that happens around this time), just go someplace where people don’t celebrate those as much.

The only other way to save on holiday travel is to make plans for times when so many people aren’t moving around the planet by air. The other savings alternative is to buy your tickets well in advance. We’re talking a year or more in advance. It may be outside of your nature to plan a trip that far in advance, but this is how the pro savers do it.

You could also make a habit of practicing travel savings strategies using credit cards. There are many top finance blogs which will give you better tips than I could fit in a short post like this. But suffice to say, this is one of the main ways that people make their international holiday travels a lot more affordable. Whichever of the above methods you choose, I hope you find a way to get a great deal on your holiday travel.

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Travelling to Vanuatu? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Vanuatu is arguably one of the best destinations in the Pacific. With its pristine beaches and serene environment, Vanuatu can be the perfect place to spend your holiday this year. For those planning to visit Vanuatu, here’s what you need to know:

Best Time to Travel to Vanuatu

The busiest season in Vanuatu is from April to October because of the pleasant weather. Airfares during this time of the year are also the most expensive. They are cheapest from November to March because weather is humid and water temperatures are not so ideal for swimming. February and earlier are a little slow, which means that there may be some fantastic deals available. However, there may be fewer people to meet or locals to make friends with during this time of the year. Depending on the season, you can take advantage of travel deals and discounts when you booking online. ­

While the changes in climate are not so drastic in Vanuatu and you can actually travel there any time of the year, choosing the date of travel will really depend on what you want to do during your trip.

What to See and Do

In Vanuatu, you can go scuba diving, go on a village tour, roam around Port Vila, go hiking to the Mele Cascade, visit Chief Roi Mata and the National Museum and Cultural Center, fly to the “Mystery Island” where you can hike and swim in the beaches, go boating, soak in the hot spring or go fishing. Vanuatu offers landscapes, rainforests, diving/fishing spots, and stunning island views you will truly enjoy.

Shop for a Holiday Package

Vacation packages are not difficult to find if you know where and how to look for excellent travel deals. It is possible to find all-inclusive vacation packages with discounted prices on hotels, car rentals and even flights. Save yourself some money by taking advantage of holiday packages to Vanuatu.

One thing you need to realize is that not every holiday package is the same. Some may look like a great deal when it actually doubles the actual price. Ultimately, you can save tons of money by choosing among great holiday packages to Vanuatu than booking everything one by one starting from your hotel room to your airfare. It can save you time and money—guaranteed. The trick is that travel companies are aware of the best airfares and hotel rates better than you do. Also, they buy in bulk so their offered rates that are much lower than the rates offered to you when booking everything individually.

Money Saving Tips

For those exchanging money, Port Vila (capital of Vanuatu) offers the best rates. If riding the bus, save huge amounts by getting one heading to the Cascades for only 500 VUV and 2,500 VUV for entry price. For those on a budget, avoid the resorts if at all possible. Resorts tend to overcharge for everything from services to food. Opt for a local hotel and pay for a fraction of the price. While prices in Vanuatu are relatively lower than in other more well-known destinations in the Pacific, saving even more money from a vacation is always good.

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How to Enjoy a Romantic Paris Getaway on a Budget

Dubbed the World’s Capital City of Love, Paris can be really as magically romantic as you choose to make it, whether you have a fortune to splash or working on a budget. This article is especially for you who is looking for ways of planning and enjoying a romantic, low-budget getaway to this great french city. Check out our tips below:

1) Plan Your Trip Ahead

First of all, you need to decide on the trip and how you get there. There are some great offers that can let you save a lot, for instance, with the Orbitz coupons. Also, the choice of places to tour are some of the major factors that can affect your romantic trip to the City of Lights. Being one of the most expensive spots on the planet, price can also be another major setback. It’s good, therefore, to do some homework and research on all these factors before the actual visit to ensure that you get the best at affordable costs when the actual day of your romantic getaway comes.

2) Time to Visit

With fewer tourists, the fall and winter are the best times of the year to visit Paris both budget-wise, as well as in order to avoid large crowds of tourists at places like the Eiffel Tower. If there is a significant difference in time-zone between your home country and France, before leaving home it is also important that you have at least a few days of adjusting your body system to this change by shifting your dinner and sleep times to roughly conform to Parisian time.

3) Accommodation and Dining Deals

Just like in any other city, you will find a myriad of tourist traps in Paris with people wanting to rip you off by selling you expensive food. Avoid these pitfalls by visiting sites like Groupon, KGB Deals and TopTable.com to find places you can dine and make room reservations on a budget. What is more important is that you can also get discounts, coupons and points by using the services of these sites and lower the cost of your stay even further.

4) Get a Paris/Metro Pass

You should consider acquiring a Paris Pass whenever you are visiting Paris. It is reasonably priced considering the fact that it can help you avoid queuing at more than 60 major attractions, monuments and museums including the Seine River Cruise, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe (unfortunately excluding the Eiffel Tower). In addition, the Paris Pass offers you unlimited travel on the Paris metro, buses and the RER within the city’s CBD; as well as a guidebook and the most important thing to your pocket, coupons to dine and shop on a budget! A daily/weekly Metro Pass can also help you save some cash since you will not have to buy each pass individually whenever you need to move around. Keeping track of the places you go to also becomes much easier.

5) Places to Tour on a Budget

The city of Paris has hundreds of places that you can tour by either spending very little or nothing at all. For instance, you can have a romantic stroll by the Champs Elysees, shoot romantic photos outside of Notre Dame or on the Seine bridges, enjoy seeing the sculptures outside the Louvre or even tour the world-famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery. You could also consider a romantic Seine Dinner Cruise, a Trocadero horse-&-carriage ride, or just enjoy panoramic views of Paris from atop the Sacre Coeur!

6) Romantic Eateries to Visit

For a place to have an intimate candle-lit dinner, accompanied by a bottle of French champagne, beneath the stars on a romantic Parisian night, there are hundreds of hotels, restaurants and cocktail clubs in the City of Love that you can take your lover to. Some of the most popular choices here include Flute l’Etoile, Hotel Taylor, Le Baron Rouge, Hotel Avalon and La Dame de Canton.

Enjoy your trip!

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4 Essential Items You Need for Your Adventure in Europe

No spring break is complete without a fetching trip to Europe. While looking to soak in some culture and importing an air of je ne sais quoi, it is important to keep in mind of 4 essential items that can either make or break your European escapade. All of these will help you enjoy your trip better and keep you on your toes. Here is the list of the things you need to live it up and stay safe while holidaying in the Member states of the European Union:

Currency

Ain’t no sunshine when money is gone: this is probably the first and most important thing you will need. While this one is a no brainer (Travel without money? We’re not yet Christopher Supertramp), it is important to keep in mind about the destinations you plan to travel. As of right now, the Euro is the currency in 19 member states out of the 28 member states in the EU. Now, with the Schengen visa, you can also travel to non EU member states like Switzerland and Norway. This would mean you should carry a little bit of the local currency. While it is not much of a hassle these days to convert currency, it may help to have small batch in case of emergencies.

Dictionary

The European Union has 24 official and working languages as of right now. Of these 24 languages, there are 4 languages that are most spoken. According to a special Eurobarometer report published in June 2012, German is the most widely spoken language. After German, it is Italian & English and then it is French. While there is a very good chance that you may find someone who can understand English, why not pick up some local flavour and speak in the native language? Carry a translator or a dictionary to help you out when the words don’t come so easy. If nothing else, add yet another feather to your cap for trying to learn a new language!

Adapters

The European Union is made of multiple small countries and crossing them is only a matter of hours. It is good to keep a variety of adapters for the plug points and connectors you may come across while on travel. For example, your favourite flat iron and your trusty DSLR’s charger need to have adapters. Phones, laptops and cameras by themselves can run on the different voltage levels found in the EU though. Bear in mind, if you plan to travel to the UK, you will need to carry yet another adapter. UK has a different style of plugs as compared with the bulk of Europe.

Maps and Guides

Some of the counting charm of Europe can be experienced by walking around. This is a great way to see the thriving street art, the local culture in action and get around new experiences while travelling. Most of the member states are very friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. Keep a map or a guide handy to know what to look out for. There is always a lot to see while taking a walk. So keep your wits about and carry your camera too!

This was just a brief on what to look out for when taking a trip to Europe. Keep your head up for the basic needs of travelling too, like hotels and flights. In Europe, with the influx of people and tourists, there are a variety of options to consider for stay and travel. In this season, you are likely to get a very good deal with major sites like www.Orbitz.com and its easily accessible Orbitz coupon codes save on deals at Orbitz. Relish these like fresh gelato.

Bon courage, mon ami!

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