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Tips For Travelers

Did you know that the pilot and the co-pilot of commercial flights are not allowed to eat the same food?  This is one step in ensuring that the two pilots don’t both go down, a creepy but interesting factoid about air travel.  The more you know…  If you travel a lot you’re sure to pick up on these little things here and there.  However it can get exhausting to travel for business all the time.  That’s why we have a few tips and tricks for business travelers who are sick of it already!  Don’t you want to make your life easier?

Get Global Entry / TSA Precheck

Ok, this could be a post all by itself.  However the process for getting Global Entry for me was amazingly easy.  I just did the online form, paid my $100 (which was reimbursed by Chase’s Sapphire Reserve benefits!) and got my appointment.  It was a breeze, and now I don’t have to waste time in security lines and I don’t have to take off my dang shoes!  Overall I recommend that you just get Global Entry as it includes TSA Precheck.  Why just get one?  The next time you take an international flight you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t get Global Entry.  Just do it.  It also includes SENTRI, which, if you’re not near the Mexican border you’ve probably never heard of.  Anyway, many businesses will reimburse their employees in order to get this.

Get All The Airline Apps

Ok, even though I’m pretty tech savvy I never got the stupid airline apps, and I never did a digital boarding pass.  I don’t know why either.  Anyway, on my recent trip to Portland I did the digital boarding pass thing and let me tell you—- I SHOULD HAVE STARTED DOING THIS A LONG TIME AGO.  It made my life so much easier.  I didn’t have to worry about losing my boarding pass in some pocket, and it just reduced the amount of stuff I had to carry.  This plus having TSA Precheck made gettin gon my flight SO easy.  I’m telling you.

Try Not To Check A Bag

Like my friend Leigh Gordon states on her blog, not checking a bag makes your life about 1000 times easier.  Her top tips for business travel post last week was great – it outlined the time you will save if you not only have TSA Precheck, a digital boarding pass, but if you can skip that damn checkin to check your bag you will be SO MUCH HAPPIER.  However, some flights are also charging for a checked bag, so make sure you know what your airline’s policies are.

Get Good Headphones

Look, if you can afford it, get some noise canceling headphones.  And use them.  Blocking out the damn hum of a plane is a luxury you definitely need to experience.  This is especially true if you are seated in an exit row or you are seated in the back of the plane (a very noisy area).

Stopping Malware Before It Starts

hacker3Malware is a huge concern for computer users, especially those that browse the internet frequently, download software, open emails – basically the average computer user!  However there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to preventing malware.  Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your computer safe and sound.

How does malware get on in the first place?  There are a number of different distribution avenues.  Malware can piggyback with legitimate software (often what happens when you download software from free software sites and file sharing networks).  It can get on your computer through opening email attatchments that are infected.  It can even hop onto your computer from a website without any interaction from you!  This is what is known as a drive by installation and it usually takes advantage of security holes in your browser.

What can you do to prevent these things?  The first step is to install antivirus software and anti-malware software.  These programs will hopefully stop malware before it gets on your PC, or it can remove it quickly if it does get past your defenses.  I recommend Norton software as well as Spyhunter 4 from Enigma software.

Keep up to date on security blogs such as Krebs on Security, CNet, and Martinus Tech.  These blogs will alert you to security holes, patches, risks, and more.  Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing computer catastrophe.  If you know what the threats are you can more easily avoid them.  For example, after reading about a new security threat on Krebs On Security, I updated my browser software.  That’s something I might have slacked on if I hadn’t read that there was a big direct threat to versions of Firefox.

Another thing to do is to always update your software when updates are available.  These updates often patch security holes and will protect you against threats.  I suggest that you always enable auto-updates so you don’t forget to update them.  When you add more and more programs it can be difficult to remember to update them all the time.

Always have a backup of your data as well.  We highly recommend using cloud backup services such as Backblaze and MyPCBackup.  The advantage to these programs is that you don’t have to remember to back up your computer – these programs do it for you.  Also, it’s an offsite backup which can be incredibly valuable in certain situations.  For example, even if you have an external hard drive attached to your computer doing backups all the time, a malware such as a ransomware program can STILL get on those drives if they are continuously connected.

Another thing to do is to avoid bad internet areas such as adult sites, gambling sites, hacking forums, and other shady areas of the internet.  These are more likely to have infections and malware.  Even though any site is liable to get hacked, those areas of the internet (especially adult sites) are well known to be more risky in terms of malware.

Whatever you do, ensure that you’re always prepared to deal with malware intrusions.  Stay up to date and keep informed!