Scan all of your identification papers, credit, and debit cards, and keep electronic and hardcover copies in various safe places. Start by scanning the front and the back of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, debit cards, as well as your health insurance cards, Green Card, visas, etc. You want to capture everything you must carry in your wallet when you go on an international trip.
Always empty your wallet before you leave on a trip, and don’t bring any cards or documents that are not absolutely necessary. Arrange the items that you’ll scan, so they fit on 1-3 pages. Merge the multiple scans into one multi-page PDF and save it into a password-protected vault program on a secure virtual cloud backup. Under no circumstances should you leave the electronic scan(s) and/or the PDF on your laptop! If your laptop gets stolen, you’d be at risk of severe identity theft. Also, be sure to clear your cache and browsing history so nobody can trace your steps, something you should do frequently anyway.
Next, make two printouts of your scans. You should keep one printout at home in a safe, along with your other valuables. The other printout you should carry with you in your luggage, but always separate from your wallet and well disguised. The purpose of the printout at home is to make sure that you have a non-electronic backup for family members in the case of an emergency. The purpose of the travel printout is in case your wallet is stolen, you have…
- an exact record of what was in your wallet—no guesswork, no forgotten details
- the contact numbers of all of your providers to take immediate action, such as cancel cards and put fraud alerts on your accounts even without wifi access
- the crucial passport and identification numbers which will make it a snap to get immediate, temporary travel documents and credit card replacements
Make it a habit to call your credit card providers a couple of days before you depart for an international trip and give them the dates and locations of your travel itinerary. Credit card providers are invaluable partners in making sure your credit cards are protected while on the road. Aside from scheduling your credit card payments ahead of time so you can travel worry-free, you also want to tell them the exact dates when you will be leaving the country, which cities you’ll be visiting and when you will return.
They will notate your account with your travel details to ensure that your card will always work, regardless of where you’re at. Plus, should there ever be a problem with your account, your proactive action will be working in your favor, because it shows that you’ve done everything in your power to prevent fraud. Remember, when it comes to traveling, credit card providers can be your best friends.
Put your business in the cloud. If your business depends on local files that are only stored on your computer—not on the web, in Dropbox or on the cloud—a theft of your laptop while on the road could be catastrophic. A backup drive that you carry along won’t be of much help either, because in most thefts, when the laptop disappears, so does the backup drive.
To avoid this nightmare scenario, shift your business to the cloud, such as Dropbox, Google Drive or One Drive, so that all of your crucial files are non-local, meaning you can access them from any computer anywhere in the world. Plus, given that it’s cloud storage, they are virtually backed-up by default. If all of your devices disappeared at once, you would get a new laptop and be up and running in no time.
Migrating over to the cloud is not complicated whatsoever, yet it’s not something you want to start right before a trip to avoid file chaos or access issues. If you’re going to take your business on the road, start learning about cloud services months before you board a plane or hop into your car. Take this opportunity to clean out and organize your files. During this process, pay attention to your mindset around technology and enthusiastically shift your idea of online entrepreneurship from a “keeping-my-fingers-crossed-that-it-will-all-work” mentality to a practical responsibility. When you genuinely embrace what it means to do business in the cloud, I promise you’ll feel light, nimble, and empowered. As an added benefit, your cloud backup protects against a computer crash or virus no matter where you are.
Be sure to have a secure password vault. As an online entrepreneur, you have to manage dozens and dozens of login accounts and passwords. All too often, people are using rudimentary tools, such as a Word document or a paper notebook to save their passwords. It’s like leaving your credit cards and money right on the doorstep along with the key to your house. Or they have to constantly reset their passwords to get access to their online tools. It’s not a good idea, and most certainly not the way to run your business – ever.
Another mistake that most people make is that they use the same password for all of their online accounts. Yikes! From an identity theft and fraud perspective, it’s perilous to use a universal password for all or most of your banking and online accounts. Therefore please do take the time and install a vault program. Organize all of your online accounts within the vault using unique passwords. Even better, use a password generator to create your impregnable password. You can use one-touch copy and then paste your password so you won’t have to type it.
Memorize the primary password for the vault program and only write it down if you can’t 100% trust yourself to recall it. The password for your vault should only be stored on the cloud or in your fireproof safe at home, never on your local drive. One more handy security option is setup a bio-security login on your smart phone, usually a fingerprint or voice recognition, and a 2-step verification where you will receive a unique code from your institution via SMS or email, and which you’ll need to reply back with.
Here’s my final tip: install a tracking software on your laptop and phone. Should your laptop or phone be stolen, it’s a good idea if you have a GPS location software installed. Thanks to the tracking software, you’ll be able to locate your laptop and make it easy for law enforcement to return your property to you. It’s also advantageous if you’ve lost or misplaced your devices.
There you have it, my dear fellow globe-trotting entrepreneur. Pretty geeky stuff for soul-driven gal, no? Perhaps you might like to know that back in the day, meaning in the early 2000s, I was a founding executive and VP of Marketing for America’s inaugural Identity Theft Resolution provider. We launched the world’s first fraud prevention and restoration service years before there was any awareness, not to mention entire industry sectors that sprung forth as a result of the full-blown global epidemic that cybercrime and identity theft have become.
We were the early pioneers ringing the alarm bell, informing and educating the public, lawmakers, banks, credit unions, and insurance companies about this growing problem. Being a visionary, I love being at the cutting edge, and that 6-year long career sprint was definitely another of my innovation chapters, which is why I know a thing or two about good old online housekeeping.
I hope that all these savvy travel tips bring you peace of mind and protection as you embark on your soulful travels. Of course, my hope is also to welcome you to one of my upcoming international Soul Purpose Wealth retreats. My retreats are always inner and outer adventures yet they are grounded, safe, and enchanted journies. Check out our next destinations, and I hope to see you at one of our future retreat.