Travel Tuesday: What you need to know before travelling with your laptop

Taking your computer on vacation can guarantee entertainment and cut costs, but it comes with risks too. Pascal Preti

It’s travel Tuesday, where we check in with travel expert Claire Newell from Travel Best Bets for tips to make your next vacation a breeze. 

Traveling with a laptop is not just for business travellers anymore.

Taking a computer on vacation is a great way to stay entertained in flight and is often the most inexpensive way keep connected to loved ones once you’re at your destination.

Our computers are pricey little investments with valuable information that you certainly don’t want to compromise, especially in another country. Here are some tips on preventing just that.

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Be sure not to update any of your computer software when you are logged into the hotel’s wireless internet. Make sure your operating system and software are updated before you go. That’s because this “update” could allow cybercriminals to install malware that monitors everything you do on your computer—including intercept passwords, etc.

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Also before you go, make sure your computer has antivirus software installed. While this is no guarantee that you won’t get a virus, it goes a long way towards protecting your computer.

That being said, you may also want to back up your data before you leave home just in case something does happen to your computer while on vacation, you can do this on a hard drive before you leave home.

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When using wireless, make sure the network is encrypted with WPA2. Basically this means it needs a password before you can access it. Ask the front desk to confirm.

This next one pretty much common sense, but keep your computer locked up.

If the hotel room has a safe, keep your computer in it and if you plan on carrying your computer with you in the car, put it in the trunk before you get out.

Also be careful when going through security.

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Make sure you go through the metal detector at the same time as your trays and personal items.

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Wait for all of you items to come out before putting your shoes back on or packing up your personal items. I have heard stories of laptops getting swiped at security in airports.

You may also want to buy an electrical converters and adapter.

If you’re traveling overseas, you’ll need to consider international differences in voltage, and then deal with the different sizes and shapes of the plugs.

Check the label or owner’s manual on your computer to be sure.

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