Keeping it together while on the road can be a daunting task. Not leaving anything behind (including people) is something all of us are very conscious of. This is especially true when you’re a nomadic expat, on the move every month to a new place.
Primary to this is securely keeping track of electronics. Computers, tablets, and cellphones are critical to our expat life so we take extra care with them. These all have integrated GPS receivers allowing applications to find a lost or stolen device.
Find your device
For Android tablets and phones, Google has a convenient Find My Device application. It offers three options. It will ring the device for five minutes (even if it’s set to silent) which is great for that moment when your phone falls behind the sofa cushion.
Next, you can lock it and display a message or phone number to call. And as a last resort, useful if it was stolen, you can completely erase the device, which also means you can no longer locate it.
Fortunately, everything connected to your Google account is safely stored in the Google Cloud. This makes it easy to restore everything as it was before on a new device.
Value in the content
Remember, the value is not in the device but in your content.
Google Maps has added the ability to create a timeline of where you’ve been over the years. When in the application click on the menu and select Your Timeline.
It’s kind of fun to look back at all the wonderful places you’ve been on your overseas adventure.
Another emerging application is tracking and locating luggage. It’s a true leap of faith every time we check our bags with an airline and a sigh of relief when they reappear at our destination, especially after a tight connecting flight. Airlines have actually reduced the number of lost bags but that isn’t much comfort when yours is nowhere to be found.
Luggage tracking services are emerging alongside key-finders (that other item that mysteriously goes missing all too often). Devices like TrackDot and LugLoc are trackers that include services to track your luggage on a phone application.
These are approved for use on airlines making it easy to see where your bag is at all times.
Recovering lost baggage
Another option, albeit lower-tech, is the Dynotag Smart Recovery Tag. It uses a unique QR code that reveals the owner’s contact info when scanned by anyone who finds it.
Since there are no electronics that might fail (or a battery that might lose its juice) it’s more reliable. But keep in mind it depends on the goodwill of someone to do the right thing and attempt to find you.
TraceMe is similar by using a unique barcode but also works in tandem with worldwide airline and airport luggage tracking systems. Though people tracking isn’t a typical need for expats, it can come in handy for hikers who go exploring in some of the amazing national parks around the world.
Something like PocketFinder can be useful if you’re within cellphone range. Ultimate safety in remote areas requires satellite communication. The SPOT Gen 3 and SPOT Trace are a couple of the most reliable devices you can have when you need help in a remote location.
It’s reassuring that these clever solutions significantly reduce the odds you’ll be separated from all things precious to your expat life.
Keeping track of all your stuff? Let us know what you’ve done to keep your things safe on your expat adventure.
by: Michael Wagner