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How to avoid the mobile tech troubles that accompany travel

How to avoid the mobile tech troubles that accompany travel

2/19/2014

The long-distance journeys that often accompany the holiday season are now over - but for many of us, travel is a regular fact of life. Perhaps you're one of the many people who needs to trek frequently between the East and West Coasts for business purposes. Or maybe a few weeks into the new year at the office already have you considering what your vacation plans will be over the next 12 months. 

Our day-to-day lives have become increasingly shaped by mobile technology, and hitting the road or taking to the air comes with a unique set of potential hazards and setbacks in relation to our smartphones and tablets. When you're on the go, it's easy to imagine the various ways in which you might damage or lose your device. But with the plethora of helpful apps now available on your handset, in addition to the music and videos you might store on it, your mobile device can help keep you organized and entertained while moving from point A to point B - so keeping it tucked away in your luggage simply may not be an option.

Keep these tips in mind, and you may just avoid the pitfalls of traveling with tech.

Beware the public Wi-Fi network
One of the most potentially dangerous threats surrounding mobile devices and travel relates not to your device but to your identity. When using unsecured wireless networks to surf the mobile Web or download data, you may be exposing yourself to the digital gaze of people you don't know.

In a column for Wired, tech writer Anil Polat gave a telling analogy that should encourage you to use the utmost caution when it comes to public Wi-Fi networks.

"Being on a wireless network you don't control is much like having a conversation in a crowded room. Others who happen to be listening in can glean information from your discussion, and when it comes to Wi-Fi, that could lead to an online account being compromised," Polat wrote.

Avoid sending any sensitive information - particularly financial data like credit and debit card numbers, as well as personally identifiable information like your Social Security number - over a public Wi-Fi connection. You don't have to buy that new pair of shoes while waiting for your flight: Wait until you're on a network you trust.

Power up whenever possible
You've purchased several new albums to listen to during your flight. You've downloaded the final six episodes of the TV show with which you recently became obsessed. You've downloaded a set of work documents you're hoping to pore over and emailed yourself that major presentation so you can review it before your big meeting with the new clients tomorrow - only to find that your smartphone or tablet's battery is (can it be possible?) dead. 

Rewind, if you will. Remember those two and a half hours you were power-napping by the boarding gate while waiting for your connecting flight, and your device was turned on and tucked in your carry-on, its battery slowly but surely draining? That blissful snooze spelled your fate. 

The moral of this tale is that when traveling, you should take every opportunity you can get to plug your phone or tablet into a power outlet. Some airports even have specially devoted sections for this purpose, complete with all the power sources anyone could ask for. Even if you still have half your battery life left - skip the slumber and let your device recharge.

Be prepared in case of damage
If your smartphone tumbles out of your hand while you're running to catch your plane, you may want greater coverage than basic mobile phone insurance.  ProtectCELL's smartphone protection plans offer phone buyback, as well as identity protection tools in case the worst should befall you on airport Wi-Fi.

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