Illustration / Sam Island

Travel Tech Tips For The Wired Wanderer

By Jen Mallia

DOES THE THOUGHT of travelling and not being tech-connected (or getting hacked!) terrify you? Here’s how to protect yourself online when you’re on a trip, whether for work or for a vacation. 


The bane of many a traveller’s existence, high roaming charges can take the shine off an otherwise productive work trip or a relaxing vacation. Canada’s wireless rates are among the highest in the world, according to a survey conducted earlier this year by Rewheel, a telecom research company based in Finland. 

If you are going on an extended trip or if you travel regularly, make it easy on yourself. Invest in a dual-SIM phone, such as the Samsung Galaxy S22+ or the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. Then pick up a SIM card at your destination, which would allow you to use your phone via a local number and service provider, as well as check your home number in Canada for messages by toggling between the two SIMs. You can even forego roaming charges altogether by relying on apps like Signal and WhatsApp to make calls and send text messages over Wi-Fi. 


More than 70,000 cyber-crime incidents were reported to police in 2021, according to Statistics Canada. But there are ways to stay cyber-safe. When you use your devices at an Internet café or via a shared Wi-Fi network, always assume that your data is not secure. Consider a virtual private network (VPN) service to encrypt your information and identity when you go online. You can also set a location that is different from where you are. This avoids restrictions based on geography for sites that let you log in only from your home province. 


Make sure your devices have enough battery power when you arrive at your destination, so you can access your reservations, maps and travel documents. Take advantage of power ports on the plane or at the airport. And for convenience and peace of mind, purchase a portable power bank. 


Look for compact, lockable bags made of material that blocks radio-frequency identification (RFID) to prevent fraudsters from electronically pickpocketing information from your credit cards. Bags with slash-proof panels will also let you safely stash your devices, cards, travel documents and currency. Keep these tips in mind, whether you’re travelling for work, you’ve opted for a digitally nomadic lifestyle or, perhaps, you just want to stay in touch while away for the weekend. Make an appointment with an AMA Travel counsellor when planning your next trip. Or stop by for a visit—many of our locations carry essential travel gadgets and gear. 

Visit your local AMA centre for a selection of gadgets to help keep all your devices working while you’re in transit—and keep them protected with AMA Travel Insurance.