They say a photo is worth a thousand words – and that is certainly the case on social media. It can be surprising the amount of information we post on the internet without even knowing it.
For example, a Léger poll that Allstate Canada conducted found that among Canadian respondents that are active on social media, almost one-third (31%) post details about their trip before or while on vacation. That number rises to nearly half (46%) with those that are 18-34 years old.
The problem with posting to a public social network about your trip is that it also tells people when your home is empty, which could increase your risk for a break-in.
The Good Hands Advice Team has some tips to help reduce the risk of a possible break-in at your home while you’re away.
Should you announce your vacation on social media?
Social media best practices for safe travels
While travelling or vacationing can be exciting, consider what details about you should be found on your social media channels. It may be time to decide whether it’s something you would like to remain public to your followers. For example:
- Don’t mention how long you’ll be gone. This can also apply to your voicemail and email. Be mindful of your safety and who can get access to that information.
- Review past pictures. It could be a good time to check that past pictures don’t contain personal information such as an address or geolocation data (which is often automatically attached to photos). If so, delete or edit them.
- Use privacy settings on your social media accounts to control who can see your posts. Using the highest possible security settings can help protect your personal information and keep you safe while travelling.
- Review your friend lists. Do you really want all of them to have access to the content you post? You can also create a private group to share your travel adventures with people you trust.
- Have a conversation with the minors that you’re travelling with. Make sure they understand how to use their own social media accounts safely while the whole family is travelling.
We also have some additional tips that can help prepare your home for when you’re away.
While you’re gone
Oversharing on social networking sites while travelling can potentially compromise your personal safety and security. Consider these travel safety tips
- Waiting to post. Wait for your return home to post about your travels, whereabouts and activities. That selfie or carousel of photos will be just as impactful the week after. Maybe more so.
- Being mindful of other people you’re with. Are they comfortable with you sharing their photos of them online?
- Thinking before you post. Be aware of the potential consequences of your social media posts before hitting “send”. Is the information you are sharing necessary, or could it potentially harm you or others?
- Being mindful of where you’re taking photos. Even an airport selfie without any additional information could indicate that you’re gone for at least a day.
- What personal information might appear in a picture. Avoid sharing an address, a passport number, a plane ticket bar code, etc. This could increase your risk for identity theft.
- Turn off geolocation data on your camera. Some mobile phones and cameras automatically capture location data when you take a picture. By turning this feature off, it can make it more difficult to track your whereabouts online.
- Being aware of your surroundings. Using phones or cameras to take pictures could attract unwanted attention from thieves and pickpockets in places where this is common.
- Making sure your electronics are protected with antivirus protection and consider using a VPN. Using public Wi-Fi increases the risks of your online activity being monitored and tracked.
It’s important for all users of social media, regardless of age, to be mindful of what they are sharing online. It’s a good idea to think about whether the information you want to share is necessary, and to be aware of the potential consequences of sharing it.
If you keep these social media tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation knowing that you’ve taken steps to help keep your home safe while you’re away! Safe travels!
Léger was commissioned by Allstate to conduct a survey among Canadians to find out their travel plans for the summer. In order to meet research objectives, a web survey was conducted January 6-9, 2023, among a sample of 1,536 Canadians of which 1,190 are active on social media, aged 18 and over. To ensure a representative sample of the population, the results were weighted according to the gender, age, mother tongue, province, education and the presence of children in the household.This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.