7 Tech Tips for a Hassle-Free Vacation: From Bag Tracking to VPN

I’ve traveled to 32 different countries, and let me tell you, travel can be stressful. However, with some know-how and planning, you can make your getaway more relaxing and less worrisome.

Stick to Trusted Sites

Avoid Fake Travel Sites and Apps
Crooks often create fake travel apps and sites to rip you off, and AI tools make it even easier for them. Fortunately, there are ways to spot these scams:

  • Check Official Resources: The Better Business Bureau can help determine if a business is legitimate. If you can’t find the business there, it’s best to avoid it.
  • Read Online Reviews and Ratings: Check sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Google. Beware of overly positive or negative reviews, and look for a balance with consistent themes.
  • Check Accreditation and Licensing: Legitimate travel agencies often belong to industry organizations like the American Society of Travel Advisors or have International Air Transport Association accreditation. Look for these credentials on their site.
  • Look for Transparent Pricing: Legitimate sites are clear about all costs. Be wary of hidden fees or unclear cost explanations.
  • Use Secure Payment Options: Reputable sites offer secure, well-known payment options. Be cautious of sites that only accept bank transfers or money orders.

I recently took a fantastic trip to Japan. Watch my travel tips on YouTube—you’ll definitely want to add this to your bucket list!

Keep Track of Your Bag

Lost luggage can ruin your trip. Many major airlines (including United, American, Delta, and Air New Zealand) allow you to track your luggage in real-time through their official apps. Download the app before your trip.

Pro Tip: Search for the app through the airline’s official website to avoid copycats.

For extra peace of mind, use an Apple AirTag in your checked bags.

  • Apple AirTags: Great for iPhone, Mac, or iPad users.
  • Tile Essentials Four-Pack: Includes various tags for keys, wallet, luggage, and more, suitable for Android users.

Set Gmail and Drive to Offline Mode

Bad connections can make it impossible to load your inbox. Luckily, you can still queue up replies if you plan ahead.

In Gmail on Desktop:

  1. Go to Settings > See all settings.
  2. Choose the Offline tab, then check “Enable offline mail.”
  3. Select how many days of messages you want to sync.
  4. Click Save changes.

For Google Drive:

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Click the settings cog > Settings.
  3. Turn on Offline.

Recent files will automatically save offline. To manually select files:

  1. Click on the file you want.
  2. Select File > Make available offline.

Secure In-Flight Wi-Fi

Hackers can create fake Wi-Fi networks with names similar to the airline’s. If multiple options look similar, ask a member of the airline staff which network is legitimate.

Use a VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your data, acting as a shield from prying eyes. While not as reliable in the air, it’s still worth using, especially when visiting sites containing financial or personal information.

Double-Check AirDrop Settings

Receiving strange pictures via AirDrop can be more than a prank—criminals may send keyloggers to track everything you type.

On iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > General > AirDrop.
  2. Set to receive items from Contacts Only or turn it off.

On Mac:

  1. Click Control Center in the menu bar.
  2. Click AirDrop. You can turn it on or off and choose who can send items.

Protect Your Phone

Your phone holds more value than just its resale price. Think about all the accounts and personal information it contains.

  • Shield Your PIN: Use Face ID or your fingerprint in public.
  • Avoid Easy PINs: Use a long, complex passcode.
  • Use a Secure Passcode: If not using Face ID, create a passcode with numbers and letters if your phone allows it.
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