Traveling has been a passion of mine since I was a child. Exploring another country's culture and cuisine is something everyone should take the time to experience. It can be somewhat pricey, but it's so worth it.
If you do decide to take a trip, there is one critical error that many people make that you need to avoid. Your security is on the line.
Critical mistake made by travelers
We're talking about something that seems to be innocent enough, your airline boarding pass. Even these days with so many cybercriminals looking to rip us off, many travelers are extremely careless with their boarding passes.
Not only will they toss them in the trash at the airport or leave them on the plane, but some take pictures and post them all over social media to let everyone know where they're headed. Bad idea!
That's because boarding passes contain tons of personal information, that when in the wrong hands can lead to terrible outcomes. Identity theft, stolen credentials and banking information to name a few.
If a criminal gets their hands on your boarding pass they will have access to your name, your destination, and frequent flyer number. And that's just what's typically printed on the front side of the boarding pass.
It also has a bar code printed on the front. There are many bar code scanning apps and websites that have the ability to extract data stored in these bar codes. Yikes!
Image: Example of what information is contained on a boarding pass. (Source: KrebsOnSecurity)
What you need to do
Criminals can use the information on your boarding pass to book flights in your name, change the itinerary on your current flights, and even rip you off. That's why you should be extremely careful when dealing with boarding passes.
Never post pictures of boarding passes online. A simple search on the social media site Instagram results in almost 92,000 photos. That's a big mistake that you simply can't make.
Instead of printing your boarding pass, it's a good idea to use the mobile option. Every major airline these days has an app that allows you to check-in to your flight and skip printing out your boarding passes.
If you do end up printing your boarding pass, do NOT throw it in the trash. Make sure to keep it with you until you can safely shred it at home. This will ensure your safety and keep it out of the hands of criminals.
Now that you know how to stay safe, get out there and explore. It's a big world and you have so many places to visit.
(Bonus: Need help booking a flight? Click here to learn inside tricks for Google Flights.)