Could Twitter and technology make you a target for criminals when you travel?

Canceling mail service, stopping the newspaper, and putting house lights on timers are ways to make it look to a potential burglars as if you’re still home.

Twitter, though, could undo all your careful planning if you agree with Israel Hyman that his Tweets about his travels tipped off a burglar that he was long gone. When Hyman returned home after his vacation, he discovered valuable electronic equipment was missing. His wife thinks it was most probably a random, coincidental act. Hyman leans towards with his theory.

After reading the CNET News article that recounts Hyman’s story and tells about how technology and cyberspace are interacting in a way that makes us more vulnerable to people taking advantage of us when we travel, I’m not so sorry that I have simple little cell phone and that I haven’t hopped on the high tech gadgetry bandwagon.

The details about how Mathew Honan was able to track down a woman he saw taking a photo at the Golden Gate Bridge using her iPhone 3G is a bit alarming. He wrote about how he did traced her on Flickr and Facebook in this article in WIRED. Honan isn’t a creep, just someone checking out the power of the equipment and a person with sleuthing know how.

Still, even with the technology that might tip off strangers to ones whereabouts, stopping the mail, the paper, and hooking up the timer makes sense. Being careful about what you Twitter couldn’t hurt either. On the other hand, why be paranoid?

I was broken into when I was gone on vacation and I’m convinced it was a guy who was a friend of the friend of mine taking care of my apartment. He knew where the key was. Maybe Hyman should think about who he knows who knew he was out of town.

Booking Your Next Virtual Tour in Cyberspace

We’ve talked about virtual tourism before, but I didn’t realize how far some companies would take the idea until I came across an old article on a virtual travel agency in the French newspaper Liberation.

Synthravels is not your average travel agency. Instead of virtual tours of exotic sites around the globe, these guys go one step farther: extensive and in-depth tours in the wide world of cyberspace. What exactly does that mean? The travel agency offers their tours in the online gaming world, and opening it up to those of us who are less-experienced, less-inclined or just plain old technologically impaired. This is the agency to go to if you want your next travels to take you into the realms of Second Life, World of Warcraft and Sims Online. That’s right, just imagine your next tour could entail no packing, no missing a flight, no jet-lag, and most definitely no traveler’s diarrhea (unless the online gaming world makes you queasy.)

I’ve got to give it to them, as skeptical as I was, they make a good case, reminding us that cyberspace provides the adventurous with an undiscovered frontier, open for exploration. In fact, as geeky as it might seem, the concept of the agency is a creation of Mario Gerosa, a travel journalist and once the Senior Editor of Condé Nast Traveler Italy. They’re based in Milan, but all you need to get in touch is your good ‘ole computer, so you leave your suitcase in the closet.