Planning a trip this Thanksgiving? More than 50 million of us are! Here, how to navigate the modern world of ‘travel technology’ to ensure you arrive safely.
Staying at an Airbnb? Bring your own lock.
Each night, 2 million people stay at an Airbnb. And while the vast majority don’t encounter problems, there can be risks, like when vacationer Rachel Lewis woke up at her Airbnb to discover someone had entered the locked apartment and stolen her luggage. Her advice: “Travel with your own portable door lock.” This inexpensive device gives you peace of mind, notes Lewis. “You can relax and enjoy your stay, knowing you’re in control.” One to try: Addalock ($17.95, Amazon).
Also smart: Consider staying at places with a keyless entry, says Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, host of The Healthy Voyager travel series. Keypads are “almost always mentioned in the online listing.” Just confirm with the host that the code is changed with each guest.
Ride sharing? Ask before climbing in.
When we’re in a rush, it’s easy to hop into a car without confirming it’s the Uber or Lyft we ordered. The surefire way to sidestep this mistake? “Simply match the license plate on the car to the one on your app,” advises Molly Fergus of TripSavvy.com. “It takes seconds and is foolproof.”
Also smart: Ask, “Who are you here to pick up?” Only the driver will have your name. And consider linking your phone to your friends’ phones through an app like Find My Friends, so loved ones know where you are.
Using an e-ticket? Store it in ‘secret.’
Smartphone users now routinely keep electronic boarding passes on apps like Apple Wallet or Google Pay — but that’s exactly where phone thieves would look first for information on your identity and travel plans. The sneaky-smart solution? Scott-Hamilton suggests storing e-tickets on your device in a place snoopers wouldn’t look if they found your phone. “I put them in an email folder that only I know is related to my trip,” she says.
Also smart: According to a recent study, 97 percent of smartphone users revealed that they’ve witnessed at least one incident of “shoulder surfing” — folks peering over someone’s shoulder trying to catch a glimpse of their phone’s PIN. To prevent PIN-pilferers, just tilt your phone away from the person next to you.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.