• Travel light to avoid fumbling around.
  • Stowe your luggage across the aisle so you can keep an eye on it.
  • Always take valuables such as your laptop onto the plane; never check them.

As a real estate agent, your livelihood is in your laptop. How well do you protect it when you’re out and about or traveling on business or vacation? If you must pretend your laptop is a live baby in order to keep it guarded, then so be it.

Many agents leave their laptops unattended “for just a second,” but if a baby can be abducted (or fall off a table) when the parents take their eyes away for “just a few moments,” then surely, anyone could snatch your laptop.

Like protecting a child, you must be vigilant, especially when you travel! Thieves love airports like ants love a picnic. They know how easy it is for harried business travelers to drop their guard. Here are 13 tips to help you avoid a bad situation while traveling.

13 tips for protecting your laptop while traveling

  1. Don’t set yourself up for bumbling and fumbling around with too many belongings. Travel light.
  2. Tape an ID label or business card to your laptop.
  3. Don’t use ID tags for your luggage; they can get torn or ripped off. Put your ID information inside the luggage.
  4. Try to reserve a seat at the front of the plane.
  5. If you use a shuttle, keep your luggage at your side rather than in the rear compartment.
  6. When possible, always place your belongings on the counter you’re at so nobody can snatch them off the floor.
  7. Be very suspicious of overly emotional people asking you for help or a few people nearby erupting into an argument; these could be setups to distract you so that an accomplice could rob you. Remember, no distraught traveler’s fate is in your hands.
  8. Crimes of distraction commonly occur at checkpoints with the metal detectors. Someone distracts you so that an accomplice could steal your items after they go through the checkpoint. Either don’t allow yourself to be distracted as you prepare to go through the metal detector, or consider a pat-down. Personnel will require you to face your belongings during the entire pat-down.
  9. Always take valuables onto the plane; never check them.
  10. Here’s one you probably never thought of: Put your carry-on in the compartment across from your seat, not directly overhead, so you can become aware if anyone’s digging into it.
  11. When in your car or a rental, put your laptop in the trunk, not in the front or back seat when leaving the car.
  12. Don’t leave your laptop unattended when at a coffee shop, not for a second.
  13. Install a lost/locate/wipe. There are many options.

Although some of these tips might sound inconvenient, they are meant to protect you, your data and your clients. By adopting basic security habits, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Robert Siciliano is CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and a personal security and identity theft expert.

Email Robert Siciliano.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription