Survey Reveals American Travelers Grapple with Online Privacy

Survey Reveals American Travelers Grapple with Online Privacy

Penka Hristovska Penka Hristovska
Published on: April 18, 2024

A recent survey from ExpressVPN reveals that while over 80% of American travelers worry about their privacy, nearly half still share their locations on social media when they travel.

The company surveyed 2,000 U.S. respondents and 81% of them said they are wary of posting travel documents, 76% said they hesitate to share the location they visit, and 72% reported being cautious about posting images of their accommodation.

Despite all of that, 48% of travelers said they still share their location on social media sites. The most popular online places where travelers post this information are Facebook (61%), Instagram (33%), Snapchat (24%), and TikTok (24%).

The motivation behind the sharing varies. The majority (58%) say they’re keeping friends and family updated, 40% claim they share for safety reasons, and others either want to document their journeys or seek social validation and travel tips through their posts.

Arguably, the most surprising finding of this survey is that 40% said they felt a social pressure to reveal their whereabouts during their travels, 28% of which later regretted it.

Those who share their location, as well as other travel-related information like a picture of their passports, have a pretty good reason to worry. Around 12% of them have faced privacy or security issues due to their online activities while traveling, according to the survey.

Using public Wi-Fi increases the digital risk even further. A significant number of respondents rely on hotel Wi-Fi (44%), with others using café or airport connections. This reliance on public networks for everything from streaming content to accessing work documents means they’re more likely to be on the receiving end of cyber threats like man-in-the-middle attacks and Wi-Fi snooping.

The best way to protect themselves from the dangers of unsecure networks, like public Wi-Fi, is to use a quality VPN. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) encrypt all internet traffic from a device before it is sent over a network. This encryption transforms the data into a coded form that is unreadable to anyone who might intercept it.

As a result, even if a user is connected to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, the encrypted data transmitted through the VPN remains secure and private. Additionally, VPNs mask the user’s IP address, making it more difficult for third parties to track their online movements or determine their geographic location.

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