social media privacy mistakesAs the date of departure for your upcoming vacation approaches, it’s natural to feel excited about the endless picture-perfect opportunities and social media possibilities you’ll have during your trip. After all, you’ll be basking in the glow of tropical waters, strolling by ancient ruins or enjoying delectable foods and sights to your heart’s content. Though it may be tempting to document and share your adventures on social media, there are some things you’ll want to avoid doing if you want to protect yourself and your family’s privacy. Coming home to find that your belongings or mail have been stolen is a terrible welcome home surprise, so here are three social media privacy mistakes to avoid when you’re on vacation that help prevent such disasters.

Posting travel information

When you initially think about it, it may seem as if posting your travel information (e.g., flight location, travel itinerary and schedule) on social media isn’t something to fret about. After all, it’s common for people to use social media to keep their friends in the loop while they’re traveling, and sharing travel information on social media can seem like a good way to get the word out about what you’re up to. However, it’s best to refrain from sharing your information in this way. That’s because by sharing where you’ll be traveling and when, you could unintentionally let thieves know where and when they could steal from you. For example, if you share a picture of a boarding pass that shows that you’re flying to New York City, thieves would know that you’re out of town and when you’ll be gone. Boarding passes themselves can contain more data about you than you might realize, so it’s best to leave travel documents out of your social media posts altogether. Even if your social media accounts are fairly private, you can’t control what other people do. Your posts can always be seen and shared by family or friends, either through word of mouth or online, and if that information gets to the wrong person, you’re out of luck. For this reason, it’s best to refrain from posting travel information on your profile, no matter how secure your privacy settings on your social media accounts may be.

Sharing your location

Along similar lines, if you don’t want someone breaking into your hotel room or vehicle and stealing your valuables when you’re away, you’ll want to refrain from sharing your whereabouts and travel location when you’re out of town. While it can be tempting to engage in geotagging and sharing your location on social media, it’s best to keep your social media profiles mum when it comes to any information regarding your whereabouts — even if you have set privacy settings that limit who can see those updates. The reason? By sharing where you are, you’re essentially letting anyone who has access to that information know where you are. That innocent-seeming Instagram post with photos of your hotel room door with the hotel’s name and location tagged is a blueprint straight to your valuables — and it wouldn’t be a good situation if a thief got wind of this information by using your hashtags against you. A thief who used social media to find out where you were staying could potentially go in and steal your valuables when you’re out sightseeing.

Posting vacation pictures while you’re traveling

When it comes to other social media privacy mistakes when you’re on vacation, another point you’ll want to keep in mind is that posting vacation pictures while you’re traveling should be a big no-no. It may be tempting to post pictures of you, your friends, children or family members lounging on a cruise or boating on a river, but it’s best to postpone your social media photo posts until you get home. That’s because posting pictures of your adventures is a dead giveaway that you’re not home and won’t be home any time soon, which could signal that it’s a good time for any prospective thieves to break in. For this reason, instead of posting your pictures and videos while traveling, opt to publish the photos and videos after you get home instead.

What can you do to better protect yourself?

In addition to avoiding these social media privacy mistakes when you’re on vacation, there are more steps that you can take to secure your privacy online. Generally speaking, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing as much as you can to secure your social media profiles by limiting what you share and limiting what companies you follow and connect your account to — something we should have all learned following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Now that you know more about avoiding the social media privacy mistakes to avoid when you’re on vacation, find out more about what you can do to protect your privacy when you’re on the Internet by following our privacy blog.