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Is it safe to book flights in internet cafe?

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Is it safe to book flights in internet cafe?

1. Posted by Susantrave (Budding Member 10 posts) 6y

I heard that it’s not safe to use internet cafes to book your accommodation while you’re already out there. I heard they can use keystroke loggers to get all your credit card info. Same thing can happen when you check your bank balance online. Is it safe to book through the internet at an internet cafe? Are there any safer ways?? Example, when I’m in Berlin, and am travelling to Amsterdam the next day, is it safe to book my accommodation for Amsterdam at an internet cafe in Berlin?

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 6y

Quoting Susantrave

Is it safe to book through the internet at an internet cafe? Are there any safer ways?? Example, when I’m in Berlin, and am travelling to Amsterdam the next day, is it safe to book my accommodation for Amsterdam at an internet cafe in Berlin?

Basically, if it's a computer which is publicly accessible, it's not safe. (First rule of computer security: "If bad guys have physical access to your computer, it's not your computer anymore." Any anyone could've had access to the computers at internet cafes. (Plus there's a risk that people working at the internet cafe itself could've installed keyloggers and the like on the computer.))
Any private information you enter on such a computer, whether it'd be the password to your email or facebook, your creditcard number, your bank password, or whatever, is at risk, with no way for you as a regular user to tell if this particular computer is dangerous or not.
Most computers at most internet cafes will probably be safe (so you can expect some replies from people telling you that they've never had problems and that internet cafe computers are "thus" safe), so if the need is high, you could gamble on it - but there is a very real risk.

What I recommend is either to bring your own laptop (preferably one of those small and cheap netbooks running linux), to book flights at cheap travel agencies rather than online (or for accommodation, simply to call the ho(s)tel directly to make a booking (and many hostels in Europe have their own booking forms on their websites where they don't ask for creditcard information, so those should be safe to use)), or to have someone trusted back home make your bookings for you.

3. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

All I can add is that I have booked so many last minute flights on computers in webcaffs all over the world and so far always got on the plane - and never had a problem anywhere, at anytime.

4. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 6y

Perhaps a second debit card loaded with limited funds just for booking stuff online? Could use it in other places too if you're not sure of security. Sometimes there's just no choice.

[ Edit: Edited on 04-May-2010, at 10:46 by fabyomama ]

5. Posted by islandtrek (Budding Member 25 posts) 6y

fabyomama's got it in one, travelex cash passport (similar to a debit card) http://www.cashpassport.com/ is perfect for this kind of stuff. You are allocated 2 x visa debit cards, u can load a certain amount of cash on both cards, use the card with limited cash limits to book flights and accommodation and you can re-load cash (on these cards) via the internet or over the phone.

6. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

Quoting islandtrek

fabyomama's got it in one, travelex cash passport (similar to a debit card) http://www.cashpassport.com/ is perfect for this kind of stuff. You are allocated 2 x visa debit cards, u can load a certain amount of cash on both cards, use the card with limited cash limits to book flights and accommodation and you can re-load cash (on these cards) via the internet or over the phone

Dozens of c.c. and d.c. card companies that do this sort of thing now.
Don't just go with the first one you come across, look around - do some shopping and you'll find the best deal for you.

7. Posted by Benna (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y

i think its absolutely safe to -snip- book flights in internet cafe as long as you log off proplery and delete any information that you have fed to the computer or saved on it!! dont click on the fill form button on the tool bar as it leads to saving information on the computer that you are using and cause problem, just make sure you do not save any information online too or click remember information on it, just be careful and thats all:)

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 6y

Quoting Benna

i think its absolutely safe to -snip- book flights in internet cafe as long as you log off proplery and delete any information that you have fed to the computer or saved on it!!

I know you're just a spammer, but for the benefit of people reading this who might take you at your word: this is absolute nonsense, as it ignores the risk of key logger software, which is specifically designed to not make itself known to the user, and has the sole purpose of saving all that information you enter in the browser and transmitting that (often in real time) to the criminals who caused the software to be installed on the computer in the first place.

9. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 6y

I have booked plenty of things (usually accommodation) online before on public computers at hostels. I don't normally go to internet cafes when doing it, but normally computers at hostels are pretty safe (although I wouldn't be doing it in Africa). Most hostel owners wouldn't have the skills in IT or need to steal your information from a computer, where as people that run internet cafes would regular have good knowledge of the ins and outs of computers and are more likely to be in to that sort of stuff.

I also have a creditcard with a small limit which I use for that sort of thing and then mainly use cash for other things. I have a $500 limit on one card specifically for that sort of thing so if by some chance someone did steal the details and max out my card, I wouldn't be stuck with a bad debt that I'd be paying off for the rest of my life. For other things purchased in big stores like supermarkets etc where they aren't going to steal your creditcard details, then I use the card that has a considerably higher limit.

Like Sander said as far as cheap flights go, use a travel agency. Even though most will have some sort of booking fee to book them, it is better to know your details are safe and pay a bit of a fee then have them stolen and pay a massive fee.