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How to Keep Gadgets Safe in Your Hotel This Summer

Some quick tips to keep your tech safe and sound

Published by Claire Broadley

Most of us take our phones on holidays; often, we’ll take a tablet. If you work while you’re overseas, you may also travel with your laptop -- as much as you wish you didn’t have to.

Securing devices while travelling is a challenge. If you hate the idea of leaving your expensive laptop in a hotel room, don’t worry; here are some travel tips.

Get Insurance

It’s sensible to get travel insurance before any vacation, even if you aren’t leaving the country. Check that the policy covers your gadgets; some will limit the maximum insured value for a single item, so ensure that it’s high enough.

If you have gadget or home insurance, it might cover your phone, laptop, or even your tablet while you’re abroad. (Get travel insurance too, though.)

Locking Valuables

If you’re taking a laptop on holiday, purchase a laptop lock before you go. These locks attach to your tablet or laptop, then loop around a solid object; a bed post, a chair, or even the sink if you’re desperate.

Most laptops have a tiny locking socket for this exact purpose. You may never have noticed yours. It’ll be close to the power or USB ports.

When shopping around for a lock, you’ll see the locking port referred to as a “Kensington” port. You don’t necessarily need to buy Kensington-branded locks; other brands will fit, and there are key and combination variants. Beware anything that looks too cheap.

Tablets tend not to have these handy lock sockets. Don’t worry; you should be able to buy a locking plate that attaches to the surface with strong adhesive. The plate won’t budge if it’s correctly applied, and the lock will provide an effective deterrent against opportunistic thieves.

Use the Safe

In a hotel, a safe in your room is theoretically a safer bet than a safe at the hotel reception.

However, many small safes lack robust security and can be easily broken into by a thief that’s in the know. Hotel safes are also typically too small for large tablets and laptops anyway, because they are designed for papers and passports.

If your safe is flimsy, or isn’t fixed to the floor, the hotel safe may be a safer option. Check that it’s in an area that is monitored 24/7.

Install Security Software

Every time you travel, you should ensure your virus and malware definitions are up-to-date before you leave -- just in case the WiFi networks you use have infected devices on them.

It’s also a good idea to pay for a VPN while you travel. This will encrypt your communications on public WiFi, and it’ll also give you the option of spoofing your location to your home country if you need to use geo-restricted sites and services.

Finally, you might want to put some tracking software on your devices so that you can locate them if they go missing. It’s not a good idea to chase thieves to get stolen goods back, but this kind of software can help the police if your laptop’s taken. Find My Mac is a good solution for MacBooks, and there are affordable alternatives for PCs.

If Your Device is Stolen

If your phone or tablet is stolen on holiday, don’t panic. We’ve written a guide that will help you secure your accounts and get the evidence you need to claim on your insurance.