Five tips to protect your laptop while travelling

Clever hacks to keep your laptop protected on the move

Five tips to protect your laptop while travelling

While we’re sure none of you like to take your work with you on a vacation, sometimes, it can’t be helped. And vacations turn into workcations. Now, carrying work usually equals carrying your laptop, which is a burden both from a physical and mental standpoint.

For one, laptops are expensive and difficult to replace on-the-fly. Specially while travelling. Secondly, the data on said laptop is usually quite sensitive, which means that we need to take additional precautions to protect that data.

Therefore, we’ve put together this little list of five tips to keep that laptop and the data on it, safe while travelling. Read on.

1. Use universal power adapters

Depending on where you’re travelling, power can be a big problem. Countries like the US and UK use a completely different power standard than we do in India, and while many power adapters work in any region, not all of them do and you’re risking your laptop if you don’t check.

You’ll need to check if your laptop charger supports 110V-220V input – which you can find by looking at the label on your power adapter. If you’re not sure, you can check the manufacturer’s website, and if you’re still not sure, the safest option will be to get a new charger that’s compatible with the laptop and the power requirements of the country you’re visiting.

ALSO READ: What to look for while purchasing a universal adapter?

If your laptop supports USB-C, we’d also suggest carrying a large power bank capable of 30W or higher output power. This will give you some backup power while you find a reliable power source, such that your laptop never runs out of juice and you don’t lose any unsaved data.

2. Backup your data

One of the most crucial steps to take before embarking on any trip. We’d recommend at least three backups, distributed as follows:

i. An online backup to a service of your choosing – OneDrive, iCloud Drive, Google Drive, and DropBox are great options. Take all of your critical data and store it on one of these services, or any other service that you find reliable. This way, even if your laptop is lost or inaccessible, your critical data is available online for you to access at any time from any device.

ii. A physical copy of your data stored at home or another secure location that you can access when you return from your trip. This is just to ensure that if your laptop and/or your accounts are compromised, you still have a secure, physical copy you can use for recovery.

ALSO READ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s iCloud storage

iii. A physical copy of essential data while you’re travelling. This can be stored in a pen drive or hard drive. Encrypt this drive i.e. protect it with a password and carry it with you at all times, or store it in a relatively safe location such as your hotel room safe.

3. Don’t use public Wi-Fi

As far as possible, avoid using public Wi-Fi or free Wi-Fi hotspots. It’s far safer to simply pay for an international roaming plan or to take a local SIM with a higher data cap for your trip as hackers can easily steal your data and login credentials with fake Wi-Fi hotspots.

Hotel Wi-Fi is also not always safe. Again, use your phone’s hotspot when you need data, and if you must use Wi-Fi in a hotel room, try to use an ethernet cable so you at least know what network you’re connecting to.

Secondly, use a VPN. A VPN scrambles your data when connecting to the internet, making it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your information. A free VPN like TunnelBear is fine in a pinch, but we’d recommend paying for a VPN service like ExpressVPN or ClearVPN to ensure that your credentials are a little more secure.

If you have to use public Wi-Fi, avoid downloading any files or entering usernames and passwords anywhere.

4. Invest in a good laptop bag

Laptops are heavy and fragile. If you’re travelling with one, ensure that you get a sturdy, waterproof laptop bag with adequate padding and protection. The bag should also be comfortable enough to carry with you wherever you go, as you’ll need to keep your laptop with you at all times to ensure its safety. Padding and waterproofing will help protect the laptop from accidental bumps, splashes, and of course, rain.

5. Label your laptop

Lastly, label your laptop! As with luggage, placing a sticker on your laptop with relevant contact information offers a higher chance of recovering the device when it is misplaced or stolen. There are good samaritans out there, and of course the police, and if someone finds an abandoned device, they will at least have the relevant information to get in touch and attempt to return your device. The same applies if your device is stolen and then later abandoned.

ALSO READ: 10 ways to keep your laptop protected

Ensure that you’re not giving out any personal addresses or information though, to ensure it’s not misused against you in the future. We’d recommend mentioning your name and a temporary email ID that you created just for that trip.

These five tips are the bare minimum you’ll need to have a safe trip with your laptop. Wherever you go, just remember to exercise caution, and of course, have fun!

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