When it comes to sharing holiday moments on social media, a few common mistakes can turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. From posting your real-time location to inadvertently sharing sensitive travel documents, these blunders can expose you to serious risks.

Online privacy expert Trevor Cooke from EarthWeb highlights four major social media pitfalls to avoid while travelling, ensuring your safety remains intact and you have an enjoyable holiday experience.

  1. Posting Your Location While Travelling

Posting your location on social media as you travel is a risky practice for several reasons. Instagram, for example, makes it incredibly easy to tag stories with your current location. However, by doing so in real-time, you’re essentially broadcasting your whereabouts to a wide audience, which can include potential criminals.

A high-profile example of the dangers involved is the 2016 robbery of Kim Kardashian in Paris. Despite having a highly trained security team, Kardashian was targeted and robbed at gunpoint after posting the location of her hotel and pictures of her expensive jewellery on social media. This incident highlighted how even those with robust security measures can fall victim to crimes facilitated by social media exposure.

While you might not be flaunting million-dollar jewels, it’s still crucial to be discreet about your location. Broadcasting your current whereabouts can make you vulnerable to various risks, including burglary, stalking, and other personal safety threats. Criminals can take advantage of the information you share to target you or your unoccupied home.

“If you really want to share the location of where you travelled to, wait until you’re already at the next location or back home,” advises security expert Trevor. “By delaying your posts, you can still share your experiences without compromising your safety”.

  1. Leaving Your Home Vulnerable

Posting your travel plans on social media can be more dangerous than you might think. One major risk is that criminals can easily determine that you’re far away from home. By revealing your specific travel dates, you inadvertently inform potential burglars of the exact period your home will be unoccupied.

Even a seemingly innocent post like “We’re off for the next two weeks!” provides valuable information to criminals. They now know not only that your house is empty, but also for how long, giving them ample time to plan and execute a break-in. This makes your home a prime target for burglary, increasing the likelihood of theft and property damage.

Moreover, sharing your travel schedule publicly can expose you to other risks, such as identity theft or harassment.

“Information about your absence can be exploited in various ways, from impersonating you to accessing your personal accounts or even attempting to scam friends and family who might be unaware of your travel plans,” says Trevor. “To protect yourself, it’s best to avoid posting your holiday plans and specific travel dates on social media. If you want to share your experiences, wait until you return home”.

  1. Accidently Uploading Personal Information

Posting travel documents on social media can be extremely risky, yet many people don’t realise the full extent of the dangers involved. We’ve all seen posts of excited travellers showing their passports and boarding passes to indicate the start of their journey, but this practice is a significant security hazard.

“Many people don’t realise how much personal information is on your boarding pass and other temporary travel documents,” says security expert Trevor. “Boarding passes, for instance, contain sensitive data such as your full name, frequent flyer number, and a barcode that can be scanned to reveal even more information. This data can be used by criminals for identity theft, unauthorised access to your accounts, and other malicious activities”.

It’s also crucial to be mindful of other travel documents, such as travel itineraries, hotel receipts, and rental car agreements. These documents often include personal details, reservation numbers, and other information that can be exploited by cybercriminals or even used to track your movements.

“To protect yourself, always double-check that any picture you upload does not include your boarding pass, travel itinerary, hotel receipts, or any other sensitive information,” adds Trevor.

  1. Living on Your Phone

This final tip is less aout security, and more about ensuring you take advantage of your holiday. You may be wanting that perfect picture or video for your socials when you travel, but don’t let the pressure of your holiday seeming perfect to everyone else affect your own experience.

“Take a moment where you and your friends or family all agree to put phones away or even on airplane mode during times of travel,” says Trevor. “An airplane mode phone can still take pictures and videos of unforgettable holiday moments, but it will keep you from the temptation to post your experiences right away”.

Holiday Digital Device Do’s:

  • Do keep your devices in a secure, zipped pocket or body bag to avoid theft

  • Do use downloaded maps and translation apps to navigate foreign places

  • Do stay alert to your surroundings while using devices