Consider this is major reminder for travelers of all experience levels, especially as the travel-heavy holiday season is here.  The amount of lost and stolen smartphones in the world has skyrocketed to nearly 70 million lost each year, according to a survey by Kensington. Unfortunately, only 7 percent of those lost devices are ever recovered. But there’s more at stake than just losing an expensive smartphone. When you lose your phone, your personal identity and data is likely to go with it.

You may not be able to prevent losing your smartphone, but you can do more to protect yourself and your personal information before it falls into the wrong hands. Here’s how to protect your devices and keep your personal data safe on your next trip.

Set-up Biometric Security Features

When smartphones first started using passcodes to keep intruders at bay, it didn’t take long for hackers to figure out how to break in without much difficulty. In 2015, news outlets started reporting that to hack an Android phone, you just need to type in a really long password to crack it. And even when passwords are harder to crack, hackers can just use software to automatically guess complicated passwords and gain access to your smartphone and all of its contents.

That’s why biometric security features can help protect your smartphone and identity by making it difficult for hackers to break into your phone and access your information. Several smartphones now use a fingerprint sensor to unlock itself, however, the new iPhone X uses facial recognition. But there's even more on the horizon than unlocking our phones with our faces. Wired reported that the future of biometric security is the unique rhythm of our own heartbeats.

Erase it Remotely

Biometric security features should offer some peace of mind if your smartphone ever gets stolen. But to ensure your digital safety and online identity, you should also take steps to erase your phone remotely if it's ever stolen. The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a fingerprint scan security passcode, and allows users to both lock and erase their phone when they lose it.

However, if you think your phone may have been misplaced and could actually be recovered, you can simply leave a message on your lock screen for the finder. For example, the Galaxy S7 can display a message like, "This phone is lost, please contact John at 555-555-5555 to return it".

Keep Emergency Info Front and Center

Travelers who suffer from medical conditions can get the help they need without compromising their identity. For example, the iOS health app can help you create a medical ID and specify someone specific as your emergency contact. When someone finds your phone, they can access your emergency contact fright from the lock screen and track you down.

Although this handy Health app security feature is really to get you the help you need in case of a medical emergency, it can also serve as a way for someone to access a contact to return your smartphone.

Essentially, the smartphone as important and full of private info as our wallats. Make it a point as you prepare for your travels to have safe guards and plans in place in the event you unfortunately do lose your phone. 

*Guest writer Costea Lestoc*