We all know the feeling. You’re on vacation in a gorgeous, enviable locale, far away from the chilly temps, the gray skies, wet streets, and generally inhospitable wintery weather. You escaped this with great relief, and now from where you stand, the sun is shining bright and the water’s more than fine. The free cocktail you’re sipping, part of your all-inclusive resort package, is fresh off the pool server’s tray, nicely iced with condensation already building on the glass, and just begging to get its picture taken against the backdrop of that turquoise sea. And the “Post” button on your social media accounts? That’s looking just as juicy, asking you to “Tap meee” to share your magical moment with friends and family literally left out in the cold at home.
But wait! Because as tempting as it may be to brag about your foresight in planning and budgeting for a vacation, it’s critically important these days to do it mindfully as the days of amateur cyber criminals and cyber sleuths are over. Social media has been a part of our lives for long enough now that finding information online on individuals is now second nature to many.
To protect your valuables and yourself while on vacation, both on-site and at home, the ALG Vacations® staff and online privacy experts like Trevor Cooke at EarthWeb offer guidelines and warnings to consider before you share your vacation stories to your Stories, feeds, or any other platform du jour.
Here are some of our best collective dos and don’ts.
DON’T post your travel documents.
For a while, it was trendy to post your airport photos, boarding passes, and some people will even post their passports or room numbers! However, Cooke says, “Posting airport photos or check-ins online will alert others to the fact that you’re not at home” in real-time. This isn’t a big deal if there are others manning the fort or if you have a house-sitter, but posting your boarding pass, passport, license, or gate is something to avoid.
“Never share photos of your boarding pass, as they feature a barcode that can reveal more details about your travel plans and private data. Criminals can use this to discover your flight, seat number, and contact details. They can then steal your phone number, driver’s license information, and passport specifics to identify identity fraud,” he warns.
DON’T post your room number until after you get home
Go ahead and post about your amazing upgraded suite … but leave out the room number. Posting that is another no for the same reason as your documents. “Doing so could reveal your exact location and the duration of your stay, which could leave you vulnerable to stalking or targeted theft … criminals and other guests could [also] to seek to charge things to your room,” Cooke says.
DO put up Stories instead of posts to the feed.
Stories disappear within 24 hours and if you limit your audience, you can share the most important and interesting real-time updates without leaving a hard digital trail like a permanent content post for public consumption. This way, those who already follow your social media journey will be able to continue doing so in tantalizing bite-sized glimpses. These insightful little peeks into your vacation are great teasers and help build anticipation for when you do create a full post or put together an album or gallery.
DO save the photo dumps for your return.
Cooke comments, “It's advisable to wait until you're safely back home to share your holiday memories. This protects your privacy and safety, ensuring your holiday remains a positive experience. If you follow these tips and hold off on posting your vacation pics until you’re safely back home, you won’t need to fear data or identify theft, burglary, or the loss of your belongings.”
Plus, If you wait, you’ll have a reason to go through them instead of just archiving them. This means you’ll get to relive those memories all over again as you choose your top ten for your gallery or your favorite ones for a reel! And don’t forget to caption them for context, tagging the location, tour brand, and ALG Vacations®.
DON’T be scared to post while away.
You can still share your experience, which we at ALGV strongly encourage! Representation is important, and showing others that they, too, can vacation like you is such a huge part of tourism ambassadorship and supporting vacation dreams for others. Just be sure to do it mindfully to protect some of the more confidential aspects of your experience and identity so that you can fully relax as you live your best life in a destination you literally can’t wait to tell people about!