We rely on our phones a lot when we're traveling. They help us get from port to port, keep us in touch with home and entertain the kids in the backseat on a long road trip. Now that it's time to head out of town for that summer trip you've been counting down to, don't forget to prepare your beloved smartphone for the many follies that could occur as you hit the road. Having your smartphone can be the difference between a memorable trip and a particularly bumpy ride home. Make sure your phone (and personal information on it) stays safe with these tips:
Be super cautious with Wi-Fi. Eighty percent of private Wi-Fi networks are open or poorly protected, including those free networks that you detect while at a restaurant, in the park or in an airport waiting for your flight. Reconsider checking Facebook or sending that last email before you get to your destination.
Don't give away your location. After you snap that photo of yourself at the beach on your phone, be cautious not to geo-tag it for all the world to see (and stalk). You don't want to give people an instant read on your exact location.
Think before you download. It can be tempting to download cool travel apps or use your online browser to find local restaurants, but proceed with caution when clicking, searching and downloading when you travel. Security apps can scan and verify new apps you download to ensure you're safe and secure.
Set a passcode and enable auto-lock. That way, if your phone is lost or stolen, you can have peace of mind knowing that all your personal data — photos, messages, financial information and so forth — are safe.
Alicia diVittorio is a mobile safety advocate at Lookout, a mobile security company and maker of a free app that protects your smartphone. With the Lookout app, you can find your lost phone, lock or wipe the data off your phone, back up your photos, contacts and other content and stay protected from mobile viruses.