information security

London Travel Blog

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Okay.. just want to make a bit of a caveat here before I start.. these are only suggestions and should be taken as such.  But, well, its something that I have done and would probably recommend to friends and family going on a long trip, your mileage will vary .. also any and all products that I may put in here are not pitches for those products but something like them.

With that done.. lets get on with the show.

You're heading on a long trip but you are probably carrying with you a few items that you are probably, okay, most definitely going to want to secure.  These things are.. simply stated, your wallet (i.e. physical cash), your credit cards and last but not least, your passport. 

For myself, I picked up one of these travel wallets when I was in Australia.  A bit late in the game for my trip, but certainly was worth it .. piece of mind wise and well, I happen to like the wallet.

I am sure there are a ton of wallets out there.  If you're worried about pickpockets, this will give you some measure of security in that regard because of the chain.  Obviously, your security is only as strong as your belt loops but it will discourage the casual thief.  For the most part, that is the best you're going to get.  Obviously, if someone is professional or well, motivated enough, there is more than likely little that you can do.

As far as passports and credit cards are concerned.  My advice is that you get something along these lines.

Generally, I wouldn't suggest something of that size unless you wish to also use it as a backup photo card (i.e. a place to offload photos during your trip when you've run out of space but can get to a computer and transfer them over).  Something with a basic amount of encryption should be plenty as it will keep people from nicking your data should you lose it.  But even an unencrypted one (I had an unencrypted drive) will still be worthwhile.  The things you should have on this drive are the following.

1. pdf copy of your passport.  most modern copiers these days will allow you make a pdf copy and send it to you over your email.  this can be accomplished at most fedex/kinkos or your school or place of work.  this will save you having a copy of it lying around for anyone to take.   as an added precaution, I would also suggest that you place this online somewhere secure.  I had a copy of mine in my google documents account.  It obviously does not have to be there, but in the interest of information security, its a better place than just emailing yourself a copy.

2. the last 4 digits of each of your credit cards, expiry dates and their 1800 numbers and numbers for when out of the country.  This will save you a TON of hassle, esp. if your wallet gets picked.  Being able to quickly call each of the banks associated with your cards .. well, is just a good thing.  Also, its good enough that you have the last 4 digits of the cards, you do not need the full card numbers.   This will shield you, esp. if you just grab yourself a non-encrypted travel drive (its just a suggestion, the encryption and gives you a bit of extra security but not a necessity).  If it is you that is cancelling, the card companies will be able to verify it through use of personal information that generally speaking should not be available anywhere on your person, like your social security number.. leave that at home.  Again, I'd keep this information in a google document or in your email somewhere.  

3. the number of the embassy in each country you are planning on visiting.  Addresses as well are equally useful.  Chances are, you'll never have to use them, but if you do, well, its good to know that they're within a click of the mouse.  If you're going to country that doesn't have an embassy for your country (like if you're a US citizen and heading into say.. Syria) then my suggestion is that you take the number of a country that you think would be likely to help if say something goes awry (like the UK). 

4. a copy of your travel health insurance policy.  A lot of this stuff is done online now-a-days so it isn't too difficult to get pdfs from printing off web pages or do the trick with photo copiers.  This will save you having to wave a copy of it around although its a good idea to have a copy of it, esp. for tours where having proof of insurance is required.   But in the loss of your travel folder (the place you probably are going to put bits and pieces of loose paper you might want to keep, like ticket stubs and whatnot, until you lose interest in the idea of making a big travel book.. ;)) being able to just print off a new copy isn't a bad thing.  Again, having this up someplace online isn't a bad idea either.

5. contact numbers of friends and relatives.  Not generally all that useful unless your friends and family are really far flung, but having your contact list online (google, yahoo or any other place also helps) is good for when you want to send that occasional postcard or just generally abuse the hospitality of unsuspecting relatives.

Anyway, thats about it.. although I am sure if I really think about it, I can come up with a few others.
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photo by: ulysses