Smartphones have revolutionized how people travel. With one device, travelers have access to maps, translators, culture guides, and help desks that can make sure they get from one place to another. Without smartphones, international travel would be much more difficult for tourists and the locals who want to understand them. However, smartphones are also a prime target for pickpockets, and they’re easy to lose if you’re not careful. Follow these five tips for keeping your phone close when you’re on the road.
Invest in a Durable, Waterproof Case
Image via Flickr by njaminjami
While your phone might be safe when you’re driving to work or out with friends, it faces a whole host of dangers when you’re traveling. Your phone may drop in busy streets, it falls down a cliff when you take a picture, or it gets splashed at the pool. It doesn’t matter if you have a secure password if your phone is fried and won’t turn on. To counter this, invest in a case that matches your surroundings: If you’re going to the beach, find something that protects your phone against water and possibly sand. This can save you plenty of stress when your phone falls out of your bag.
Don’t Leave Your Phone Out in the Open
While this tip might seem obvious if you’re out at a bar or in a gift shop, there are certain times throughout the day that many travelers leave their phones lying around without thinking about it. Hostel travelers often head to the bathroom or shower without tucking their phone away, when they’re actually providing a prime opportunity for someone to grab it in the room.
To prevent this, you should at least hide your phone if you’re only gone for a few minutes, and lock it up when you’re gone for a while. You might even consider bringing a waterproof bag so you can take it with you while you’re showering and getting ready.
Keep Your Phone in Your Front Pocket
Even the safest cities in the world have pickpockets looking to quickly grab and dash away with your wallet or smartphone before you know it’s missing. In fact, pickpocketing rose to 1,700 cases per day during the 2012 London Olympics and an estimated one out of four tourists will be pickpocketed in Barcelona this year.
Fortunately, there’s one easy way to reduce the risk of a pickpocket grabbing your belongings: Move your phone and wallet from your back pockets to your front pockets. It’s a lot easier to notice if someone is grabbing your front pocket and it eliminates the risk of someone grabbing behind you as you walk down the street.
Install Security Apps to Track or Clear Your Device
If you’re traveling with a smartphone like T-Mobile’s Galaxy S7, consider downloading some security apps that will keep your information protected in case you lose it. Android Device Manager is a great app for managing your phone remotely. You can make it ring or beep even if it’s on silent, and will get GPS coordinates on how to find it. If your phone is untrackable — or you don’t want to spend the day searching for a pickpocket — it’s possible to wipe the information clean to make sure the thief doesn’t get any of your personal information. Apple devices can use Find My iPhone for a similar app.
Check Your Insurance Plan
Before you leave, call your carrier to better understand your insurance options if you lose your phone. In some cases, you might have to wait days or weeks before you receive a check or replacement phone, which can be frustrating when you’re traveling and don’t have access to a backup device. Furthermore, some insurance policies don’t cover lost or stolen devices, which means you would have to pay out of pocket, despite the fact that you’ve been paying insurance for the past several months or years.
These are a few ways to keep your phone safe when you travel, but the best way is to keep a wary eye on your phone and your surroundings. Awareness is the best defense against pickpockets and even beach accidents.