When we travel, we often worry about what's going on at home. Is our house going to be all right? Should we worry about intruders? Should someone check in from time to time, just to make sure there's no funny business?
Despite all those concerns, travelers often make a critical mistake while they're on vacation: They blab too much about their journey on social media. This is a natural desire, of course: Travel and social media were practically designed for each other, and it's so tempting to show off your photos and videos at the end of each exciting day.
Don't do it, at least not right away. The key phrase here is while you're on vacation. When you return from your adventure abroad and you've had a day or two to process all these new experiences, feel free to share every minute with your friends and loved ones. Go ahead and start that blog or podcast, detailing everything you saw and did.
But until you're safely settled back at home, here are five types of posts to avoid.
1. Posts About Your Travels
We've read a million posts like this: "Bali is amazing! Watched a fire-dance last night! Can't believe this is just our third day!" But if a stranger reads these three sentences, you could be in for some serious trouble. After all, a prospective burglar knows (a) you're far away, (b) you're preoccupied with having fun, and (c) you just started your vacation. Your social media updates can make you quite vulnerable because anyone can read between the lines.
2. Vacation Photos
Look at this exotic meal! It's a fish with the eyes intact! Have you ever seen anything like it in your life? And are they setting it on fire? You snap a bunch of pictures on your smartphone, you turn on Instagram, and then – you stop yourself because posting real-time photos is a very bad idea and for the same reason. Clever criminals may be able to figure out where you are and when you took the photo. Facebook photos often include your location and time of posting, so they don't even need a caption to know where you were.
3. Your Plans
Statuses and photos require some detective work on the stalker's part. They know you've spent a few days in Paris, for example, but they don't necessarily know when you'll be home. But blabbing about your itinerary is all the information they need. You don't have to give hour-by-hour details; something as simple as, "Can't wait to fly home on Wednesday!" will give criminals a handy timetable.
4. Info About Fellow Travelers
Telling the world about your own travel plans is one thing, but implicating others is even worse. When you take photos of travel buddies and talk about their activities on social media, they have no line of defense. Maybe they are smart enough not to make their travels public, but tagging them in a group photo and recklessly sharing their whereabouts can cause just as much damage. This concern also works in reverse: Be careful what your companions share, and feel free to un-tag yourself from posts that give away too much.
5. Updates from the Homefront
You may have an urge to publicly applaud your pet-sitter. "So grateful to Mary for walking Rover while I'm away!" Mary will probably appreciate the kind words, but these kinds of comments can help prospective robbers a great deal. After all, Mary is only walking Rover, which means she's not in the house full-time. Rover is obviously a dog, which has been left at home. This is just one example, but there are all kinds of things you might want to report on the home front that could actually make you more vulnerable.
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