We Are the Champions (Of Online Safety While Traveling)

Animated person skiing

We’re about to embark on my favorite biannual event: The Games. Winter, Summer – I don’t discriminate – I love the athleticism, the competition, the hype. If someone were to offer me a trip to the Winter Games (hint, hint), I’d drop it all and go.

These athletes spend years training and preparing for a potential trip. Many only found out in the last few weeks that they’ll be competing in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In preparation for a trip like this, they have to consider training schedules, jet lag, nutrition, nerves, and so much more. One area they shouldn’t skimp on? Keeping their technology organized and safe, too.

It’s a big endeavor to be in Pyeongchang for nearly three weeks. You may still need to pay bills, access email, and communicate with family and friends back home. With a password manager like LastPass, athletes, coaches, media, and spectators alike can manage and secure their online life while abroad in a way that’s not only secure, but also convenient. Here’s how:

Back up documents

Whether it’s driver’s licenses, passports, visas, or social security numbers, it’s undeniable that there are a lot of documents to keep track of while traveling. LastPass allows you to upload copies of everything in your vault, making them easily available if any of your physical documents are ever lost in the chaos of traveling (or simply left back at the hotel while you’re out and about).

Don’t forget your credit cards and bank account numbers – those can be stored in your vault as well. Then they’ll be available for easy filling if needed while booking adventures from your phone or tablet. If your wallet is ever stolen or misplaced while traveling, all your card information is easily accessible within your vault, allowing you to quickly cancel any cards and ensure financial security. Pro tip? Include the customer service phone number on the back of your credit card as a note in LastPass, so you know exactly who to call if the card goes missing.

Set up emergency access

You’ve got everything in LastPass so you can get to it if needed. But what about if something happens to you? Grant trusted family members or friends access to your LastPass account in the event of an emergency or crisis. They don’t need to know your master password (because no one should!) but if necessary, they can request access to your sites and information. A bit grim, but practical.

To WiFi, or not to WiFi?

Ah, the age-old question. (Okay, at least decade-old.) Do you connect your devices to public WiFi, or not? We’re so used to being connected all the time that unfortunately, it’s a struggle to lose that connection while traveling. But the reality is, not all public WiFi networks are safe.

For payment transactions, online banking, and any other online activity that may involve user names, passwords, and personal information, avoid using open WiFi that could leave your information exposed to anyone snooping the network. Save those activities for secured WiFi connections. If you can’t avoid open WiFi, at least be sure you’re connecting to your sites via HTTPS (and update your passwords when you return home) or consider a highly-rated VPN.

Turn on Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an additional login step, making it extremely hard for hackers to gain access to your accounts. But don’t worry, the system is very easy to set up! Just download the LastPass Authenticator before you go. Follow steps and you’ll be set up in minutes. Since you always have your phone on you, you’ll still be able to easily access your accounts.

It’s also important to manage your MFA settings before you leave. If you think you won’t be able to connect to internet, enable offline access, allowing you to use all your accounts despite any connection issues.

A few other tips that’ll keep you safe while traveling:

  • In your LastPass Account Settings (available from the vault), be sure to change your restricted countries to include any ones you’ll be visiting on your trip. LastPass requires a verification step if you’re trying to log in from an unknown location, so it’s best to change this in advance to avoid being locked out!
  • Make sure your OS, apps, browsers, and other software is all up-to-date with the latest, before you head out the door. Updates often include important security fixes and enhancements.
  • Try to avoid it, but if you do use a public computer, be sure never to click “Remember Me” when you sign into an account and clear the cache when you’re finished.

When you return and are back on a secure connection, change any passwords you used while abroad, just to be on the safe side.