New Warning about Luggage Tags

June 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

As if air travelers don’t have enough things to keep track of when navigating an airport terminal, a recent report now suggests you need to be aware of potential hackers trying to access your flight reservations and other private information from your seemingly innocuous luggage tag.

The six-digit identification number located on your boarding pass, as well as on the accompanying luggage tag of your checked bags, is all a hacker needs to access all kinds of personal information — your email address, your phone number, your address — as well as your flight itinerary and frequent flier account.

This has become such a target-rich code for hackers because the airlines’ global reservation systems are antiquated and vulnerable. Put in place in the 1960s, their software coding does not account for personal privacy laws that have been instituted since that time.
Don't share photos of your airline luggage tags on social media -- the bar code is readable and contains a lot of personal information.
Since the onus is on the traveler to be alert and protected, here are a few suggestions to stop would-be hackers:

  1. Don’t post your boarding pass on social media. Hackers know our tendency to unwittingly overshare, so all they have to do is Google “boarding pass images” to reap a harvest.
  2. Consider only using a virtual boarding pass that comes to your email and uses a scannable image to get you through TSA. If you aren’t carrying a physical record that can be misplaced, lost, or captured by a hacker with a cell phone who takes a picture of what you’re carrying in your hand for anyone to see, your personal data is safer.
  3. Create complex passwords for your data so that if someone gets your information, they don’t have easy access. There are numerous apps available that create random, unique, strong passwords that are difficult to hack. The days of using one password for everything are over.
  4. Take your boarding pass when you exit the plane. Don’t stash it in the seat pocket in front of you. Doing so leaves that valuable code accessible to anyone who happens to find it.

Travel safety involves more than using a money belt or backing up valuable data before you leave. It also means taking steps to avoid getting hacked, even on something as simple as a boarding pass.

What are some extra security steps you take to protect yourself? Do you have any special tricks or even gadgets that you like to use, such as an RFID-blocking wallet? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Tony Webster (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 4.0)

Travel Top Five: Tips for Traveling Light

February 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The ability to travel light seems to be the golden ring every business traveler is reaching for. Some have the knack for it, while others struggle. Here are a few tips to help you choose what to bring with you on your next trip. For the purposes of this article, we’re assuming you want to avoid baggage fees, skip the luggage carousel, and be in control of your experience from start to finish.

Number one, truly, is plan what you’re going to wear and stick to it. You may think you need an extra outfit for a special occasion, but unless you’re attending a formal event that requires certain attire, you can pretty much wear anything else you’ve planned and it’s going to be sufficient. If you want to be successful at traveling light, take a hard look at what you must have versus what would be nice to have. Then keep the former and leave the latter.

Platinum Magna 2 - International Carry-on Spinner - Ideal for traveling light

Platinum Magna 2 International Carry-on Spinner

Next, learn the art of packing by color family or using neutrals interchangeably. For example, if you know you need to dress warmly where you’re going, choose your favorite sweater that’s appropriate for all the engagements you have. If said sweater is navy, then everything else you pack should coordinate with navy. Creating an entire week’s worth of outfits using black, white, and khaki is another option that lets you mix and match without looking like you’re wearing the same clothes over and over again. Trust us, no one will notice.
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Travel Tip: How Hackers are Targeting Frequent Flier Miles

February 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

You’ve worked hard to earn your frequent flier miles, logging all those flights and using your airline credit card whenever you can. And you probably think your miles and points are safe and secure, just waiting for you to redeem them.

Except your miles might be the target of hackers who have figured out how to crack your account, and are plundering it, selling those points for cash or tickets. Now that most airlines no longer send out monthly statements that keep travelers updated on their balances, hackers have begun taking advantage of the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality to do their worst.
Different loyalty cards for hotel stays, car rentals, and frequent flyer miles
But you can protect yourself from these hackers if you just take a few security steps.

First, you need to protect your airline account. Fortunately, most airlines quit using the 4-digit PIN code they had used for years, and replaced it with full password protection. But that doesn’t help you if you’re still using your dog’s name as the password. Pick a complex password that’s hard to remember or even figure out, the more complex, the better.

Rather than try to remember the password or write it down, use a password management app like 1Password or LastPass to keep track of it. Better yet, let the app generate a complex password. You can choose a random scattering of letters, numbers, and special characters, or a string of unrelated words, and store them in the app. Security experts estimate that passwords like this can take centuries to break.
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Secrets to Making Your Travel Safe From Cyber Attacks

January 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

There are two schools of thought regarding cyber attacks: everyone’s at risk and I’m too small for anyone to tap. One is smart thinking, the other is dangerous.

According to Jeff Moss, founder of Black Hat and Def Con, two of the world’s foremost conferences on hacking and information security, and an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security, you’re better off assuming the first than believing the second. Here’s his advice for protecting yourself from cyber threats while traveling.

Cyber attacks happening in real time on Norse Attacks map.

Cyber attacks happening in real time on Norse Attacks map.

Use your passport instead of your driver’s license when asked to provide identification. The driver’s license, according to Moss, contains too much information, specifically your address and descriptive features like weight, height, sex, and eye color, that can be used against you if obtained by a hacker.

Don’t leave your devices unattended. While most people assume their hotel room is secure because of the lock on the door, Moss doesn’t feel comfortable with the risk unless his laptop’s hard drive is fully encrypted. He doesn’t want to give anyone access to sensitive, proprietary data should the computer be stolen while he’s away from the room.
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Travel Top Five: Must-Have Apps for Business Travelers

January 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

January is the time of year everyone seeks to streamline their lives: shedding pounds, decluttering their houses, and organizing their must-haves. And most business travelers want to travel as light as possible, just so you’re not carrying a bunch of unnecessary paper around in your briefcase.

We’ve come up with five different apps that business travelers should have on their mobile phone, their tablet, and their laptop. With these apps, you can store information in the cloud, keep it secure, and get work done no matter where you are.

Evernote is one of our five must-have mobile apps for business travelers

Evernote is ideal for file sharing, note taking, idea storing, and even snapping photos of business cards and syncing them to your contacts file.


Evernote. If you’re unfamiliar with this amazing note taking and online storage app, we recommend you investigate it immediately. It allows you to retain stored information in one place so that you don’t have to carry it in physical form. For example, you can create a document with all your loyalty card numbers so that you don’t have to carry the physical cards any more. You can take notes during a meeting and share them with others at a later date. You can save images as well and sync them with your mobile device or laptop. You can even clip articles and websites that you want to read later, like when you’re on the plane. Evernote’s Plus and Premium versions offer even more options.
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Chip Technology Keeps Checked Luggage in Check

January 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve reported here before about the increased use of RFID chips in checked luggage and luggage tags to tilt the odds that your bag will arrive with you at your final destination in your favor. There have been new innovations in the effort to reduce lost bags, this time from Delta. Once you see what they’ve been doing, you may never look at those little paper baggage tags the same again.

This year, Delta has implemented RFID technology into its complimentary baggage tags, eliminating the possibility of a bag being unscanned due to a smudged, wrinkled, torn, or obscured tag. Now, in every airport where Delta operates, its bags only need to be be in proximity to the radio scanners to be accounted for. As with the older tags, fliers can track their checked bags using Delta’s mobile app.

Delta Airlines demonstrates its RFID system on a piece of checked luggageImplementing these kinds of changes can be costly and disruptive because they require infrastructure adjustments. While some airports, such as Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport, have been using RFID for over a decade, any new tracking system is typically the responsibility of the individual airline.

Delta spent $50 million on the system, which included scanners, printers, and said tags. Widespread use of these types of tags has been slow to come online in the airline industry, according to the International Air Travel Association. But the deadline for all 265 member airlines to be able to fully track and trace all bags is 2018. And the system is expected to work, not only on an airline’s own flights, but also connecting flights with another carrier.
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Shopping for Luggage: Backpacks vs Business Briefs

December 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When you’re in the market for a backpack or a classic business brief, there’s no one “best” choice for you. The best choice for you will be determined through your own personal preference.

Backpacks are still fairly popular, especially among Millennials. Many business users enjoy the hands-free flexibility the shoulder straps provide. However, there are still some industries — finance, banking and law for example — where a briefcase is perceived to have more seriousness and gravitas than a backpack.

Crew Executive Choice 2 Backpack

Crew Executive Choice 2 Backpack

Once you’ve determined what you want, and how you’re going to use your new portable office, there are a few important features you should consider when making a selection.

Backpacks

  • Comfort: Examine the shoulder straps for cushion and adjustability, and make sure your handles are comfortable. The Crew™ Executive Choice™ 2 backpack and Platinum® Magna™ 2 features padded shoulder straps, as well as leather carry handles.
  • Breathability: Look for backing material that allows airflow so heat won’t build up on your back. The contour of the design should maximize airflow as well.
  • Storage: With its large internal cavity, a backpack can also function as an overnight bag, eliminating an extra carry-on. Make sure to get a backpack that has both a padded sleeve for your laptop, and a larger compartment for clothes. Read more

AirBnB Goes Back to Its Roots

December 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travelers, wouldn’t it be great if you could break out of the hotel routine, even if it’s just for a couple days? Wouldn’t you enjoy eating in local restaurants and exploring the local scenery? What about saving as much as 20 – 30% over your normal hotel costs?

With its new, “Don’t go there. Live there.” campaign, Airbnb is trying to reach business travelers who are tired of hotels, or just want to experience more that a city has to offer.

An Airbnb house in Santa Barbara California

An Airbnb house in Santa Barbara, California

With its push to garner a share of the business travel accommodations marketshare, Airbnb is actually returning to its roots. The company was started in August 2008 in San Francisco as a way to provide conference attendees alternative housing options that were considerably cheaper than the area’s hotels.

Since making a concerted effort to market its services to business travelers, business bookings have tripled since July 2015. Airbnb reports that 14,000 companies are signing up weekly, due to the company’s integration with major management systems, such as American Express Global Business Travel and BCD Travel. The company says the savings can be as much as 20 to 30 percent when compared to hotel accommodation costs.
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Shopping for a Business Backpack: Features That Make Travel a Breeze

December 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s the one thing that unites every airport traveler, regardless of destination, purpose of your trip, or which class we fly. We all want to get through security quickly.

We take off our belts, remove our jackets and our shoes, put our change and keys in the little dishes, and pull our laptops from our bags. All of this wastes time, and we’re at risk of forgetting something and leaving it behind. (It’s also one of the compelling reasons for signing up for TSA Pre-Check.)

Travelpro Crew Executive Choice 2 Business Backpack - open

This checkpoint friendly backpack can get you through airport security with a minimum of fuss.

If you had a checkpoint-friendly backpack from our Crew™ Executive Choice™ 2 or Platinum® Magna™ 2 collections, you could be efficient with your time and protect your valuables simultaneously. Our checkpoint-friendly backpacks can be opened up and laid flat, leaving the laptop in one half and your loose items in the other, ready to be checked by security. No chance of leaving things behind or having them stolen. Just re-zip the bag shut, and you’re on your way.

Protecting yourself from identity theft is also a concern. This is where our Crew Executive Choice 2 and Platinum Magna 2 backpacks can help. Both pieces include an RFID protected pocket, which protects its contents by blocking scanners used by identity thieves, making it ideal for storing your wallet or passport.
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Short-Term Repairs for a Broken Suitcase

December 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It can happen when you least expect it or you can discover it when you’re retrieving it from the baggage carousel, but no matter how it happens, a broken suitcase has the potential to severely impact your travel experience. With a little bit of resourcefulness, you can get through your trip and back home. Here are some ways to address common problems, as well as some Travelpro® product features specially designed to help avoid on-the-road luggage disasters.

If your suitcase wheels stick, make sure there's nothing stuck in them.

If your suitcase wheels stick, check to see if anything is stuck in the housing.

If your telescoping handle sticks, apply a small amount of lubricant to literally grease the skids. See if you can track down some WD-40; if that’s not available, a little soap can help. If the handle is slightly bent, you may try manipulating it back into proper position. If it’s clearly broken, at least you have the other handles to carry the bag. An add-a-bag attachment strap, such as Travelpro® offers on many of its rolling products, would allow you to hook your broken bag onto another until you can address the issue.

If your wheels aren’t rolling smoothly, chances are there’s something stuck in them that’s inhibiting their movement. Wipe them with a damp cloth and look for anything that might be stuck in the wheel housing. If the wheels are wobbly, causing the bag not to pull straight behind you, the screws could be loose. Tighten them up – if you don’t have a screwdriver handy, call down to the front desk and ask for one. Travelpro designs its wheel systems with the frequent traveler in mind, subjecting their products to miles of rigorous testing. Our patented MagnaTrac™ Spinner wheels are self-aligning and have a specially designed housings to protect them from damage on baggage ramps and as they’re pulled over curbs and through terminals.
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