Trina Machacek: The traveling connection
Throughout our lifetimes, most of us have stayed in several levels of motels and hotels, from sketchy ones where things go bump in the night and critters with lots of legs scurry across the floor to really nice places where things go bump in the night and critters with lots of legs scurry across the floor — but in the nice ones there are aloe-infused tissues in the bathroom that you can use to pick up the dead scurrying critters after you smooch them. However, that’s not the issue for today. Oh, it’s an issue to be sure. Just not for today.
Today, let’s take a quick look at the different ways wayward travelers run into when staying away from home and want or need to use the Internet in hotels and motels. I get there are security issues. I do not live in a cave. I know there are boogie men out there just waiting for me to slip up and leave a door to my little plastic box open so they can get in and do all things cyber to me and my bits and bytes. I am very grateful for all the attention put into keeping me and my stuff safe. I did recently see a Dr. Phil show where a computer expert pulled a lady out of the audience and he had her life in his hands in a matter of seconds. This man was actually a computer hacker that has turned his knowledge into a business teaching companies and the likes of you and me just how easy it is for us to lose the cyber fight. Creepy for sure. But! Yes, a compacted “but.” Ha, ha. But I have not figured out why there can be and why there are so many different ways hotels and motels have for their guests to connect to the world once they are in their little rooms sitting in their jammies surfing. Now there’s a visual you won’t be able to unsee. Let’s shoot the curl and paddle back out.
At home, hopefully your Internet is secure with passwords and ninja-like controlled access. And you live in a neighborhood where everyone keeps their eyes on the lookout for the wayward parked car with passengers sitting nonchalantly gleaming information that is just flying around unprotected. A neighborhood where those observant neighbors call other neighbors and the biggest baddest neighbor, Bubba or Igor or Tank goes out and ushers the cyber thief away. I like that neighborhood. But what about motels?
There are the ones that just tell you when you check in that you will connect automatically when you turn on your device. Hummm. So does that apply to everyone? Yes. Yes, it does. I owned a business next to a motel where there were always a few extra cars parked in the lot and along the street with occupants just surfing away on the motel connection because there was not any controlled access. I suggest if you do find yourself staying in one of these that you just skip the Internet and play solitaire off line or watch one of the only three TV channels I suspect they offer.
The complete opposite are the places where you need a password and a “key,” (some 35 number/symbol long secret identifying code) and your mother’s, great-aunt’s brother’s second child’s middle name to get access to the Internet. This, too, might be best to avoid. Who knows where that second child’s name might end up?
For the most part, you might need some variance of the establishment’s name, your room number and your name, all of which you should be able to remember no matter how long you have stayed at the “coffee” bar just off the lobby. Once on the Internet, you, of course, do not do any banking or financial stuff or any looking at your DNA sites or shopping where your plastic money is just sitting there waiting to be spent — by the guy in the next room! Or the one above you. Or below you. Well, there’s a visual that should keep you up all night.
It’s the way of the world we live in today. It will only get more important as time goes by to keep a vigilant eye on the availability of your electronic footprint. So keep your shoes laced up and tied tight. Travel smart and safe.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nev. Find her on Facebook, Instagram or at email@example.com. Really!