Online with Dock Line – Social in the Summer

Summer vacations and traveling with your devices.

Summertime means BBQ’s, vacations, adventures and of course capturing all of our special moments on our mobile devices. When we’re busy packing suitcases, making reservations and seeking out the best rates for flights, often the last thing on our minds is the importance of protecting our electronics.

We know to store our devices away from water when we’re boating, water skiing or swimming. Even though some newer devices are water resistant, they can still develop problems. It is a good idea to keep your devices stored in a cool place. Their batteries could overheat and ruin the device or even worse, you could get injured if they explode. Nothing puts a bummer on a vacation like a blown up phone and losing your favorite photos.

When it comes to vacationing, you can eliminate some stresses by planning ahead and being prepared. There are some preventative measures you can take and items you can purchase before you travel. It’s no fun spending vacation time looking for replacements or searching for information. Check with your phone carrier for recommended items such as a good screen cover that can help protect your device from getting scratched or cracked as well as additional chargers.

A car charger, wall charger and an extra USB charging cord are important to bring with you on vacation. One of the most common phone accessories to fail on a charger is the USB connector. It’s best to take a brand new one with you just in case you have charging problems created by your old cord. It may be difficult and it will be time consuming to find compatible accessories for your phone and you will most likely pay too much.

If your summer adventures are taking you away from home, do you know if you will be reachable? In the continental U.S. there are some areas that don’t have service due to lack of cell phone towers. Your cell phone provider may be able to give you information on the areas that you are visiting and let you know what services they offer. Letting your family know in advance that you may not be accessible by phone or email while you are away will definitely help with their peace of mind. Consider leaving them with a physical itinerary of your anticipated locations so if there is an emergency they can contact you via a landline closest to your location. (IE, your nearest Forest Service station, local police, etc.)

When you purchased your phone or tablet, your provider most likely offered insurance to cover theft, loss, or damage on your device. Did you buy it? Do you have it? Do you need it? You may not remember. Talk with them to discuss what coverage you might have or need.

If you are traveling out of the country, know that few phone providers offer international roaming. Check with your provider to see if you can use your current device and find out what other options are available to you. Some companies have plans that give you free calling and text messaging in countries such as Mexico or Canada. It may already be a part of your calling plan or you may want to discuss upgrading your plan to include international calling. Another consideration is if your phone is unlocked, purchasing that country’s sim card when you reach your destination or if it is locked, buying or renting a prepaid phone.

If you lose your phone, tablet or laptop you definitely don’t want anyone using it. If your electronics don’t already have a pin or password be sure to implement one before you leave. It is best to have a different password for each device in case they are lost or stolen together. It makes it harder for thieves to crack your pin code or password by using complex codes that aren’t easy to decipher. The “Find My Phone” application may come in handy while you’re traveling. A lot of people turn off their location feature on their phones to save battery power. Your “Find My Phone” app must have your location setting turned “on” to be able to work.

Remember when Kim Kardashian was in Paris and she posted and boasted photos of her second engagement ring from Kanye on her social media? She was later robbed at gunpoint and had her ring plus all of her jewelry stolen. Keeping this in mind, consider posting pictures of your vacation upon your return home. This ensures that fewer people know where you are at that moment and that your home may be left unattended. Erring on the side of caution can protect you, your home and your family.

It’s very popular to “check-in” on Instagram and Facebook especially when you’re traveling. That too can be done after your trip when you are uploading your photos. Simply upload the photo and click the ”location” icon. Type in the name of the location you want to use and choose the correct one.

If your device is lost or stolen and it is unlocked because you have not set up the security features previously mentioned, the photos of your vacation and other personal photos could be downloaded and publicly used online. In this situation, you may find yourself having to use a public internet cafe or a hotel computer. If this is the case, make sure that when you’re online that you watch for others around you who may or may not appear to be paying close attention to what you are doing. Someone near you could be attempting to access your passwords. Be sure to log out of each window/website when you are finished and delete the computer’s cache and cookies. This will remove your browsing history and the next person to use the computer cannot see what you have been doing online. Here are the steps to clear out your online activity:

  1. On the Click Delete under Browsing History.menu bar, click Tools > Internet Options.
  2. Select the General tab.
  3. Click Delete under Browsing History.
  4. Under Temporary Internet Files, click Delete Files.
  5. Click Delete Cookies.
  6. Click OK.

Many businesses such as coffee shops and libraries offer free wifi. If you choose to use it, be aware that you could be exposing yourself to potential hackers. It’s a good idea to disconnect and remove the wifi address from your device when you leave the establishment.

If you typically keep your wifi off to save battery power, you should know that your “Find My Phone” app requires data access in order for it to work. This is why it’s a good idea to have a strong data plan so that you can easily locate your lost device.

These tips and recommendations are in hope that you have a safe and wonderful summer vacation!

Don’t forget to share your positive and unfortunate experiences on Yelp, TripAdvisor and other review sites.

Leaving feedback for places that you visited on vacation is a great way to guide others. Many people choose vacation locations, hotels, restaurants and theme parks based on the reviews they find online. Your review could be just what someone else needs to ensure that they have fun. Many destinations have a Facebook page so if you’re an active user, that may be a great place to rate and review.

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