12 Places to Travel on Your Tax Refund

From Charleston to the Dominican Republic, Iceland to Washington, DC, here are our top picks for where to go with your tax refund.

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Change Passwords

Change Passwords

Kevin Emert, chief information security officer of Scripps Network Interactive (Travel Channel's parent company), especially recommends this step for international travel. Change passwords before you leave and again when you return home for the accounts you know you’ll use while traveling.    960 1280

  

Remove Sensitive Data From Your Devices

Remove Sensitive Data From Your Devices

Before leaving on your trip, Emert advises backing up the devices you’re bringing, and then removing any sensitive data, such as financial statements.   960 1280

Courtney Keating  

Ensure Security on Your Devices is Up to Date

Ensure Security on Your Devices is Up to Date

Check that antivirus, malware and operating systems are up to date with security patches and features, says Emert. Password-protecting your devices is also another layer of security in case they're stolen. 960 1280

P D BURNETT  

Be Vigilant Against Theft

Be Vigilant Against Theft

While it’s important to take precautions against cyber hacking, Emert notes the most common problem while traveling with devices is theft. “Leaving it unattended for a matter of seconds could potentially lead to theft,” he says. Emert also cautions being mindful of those around you, since someone might be watching as you enter passwords.   960 1280

Tim Robberts  

Don’t Use USB Chargers in Public Spaces

Don’t Use USB Chargers in Public Spaces

Emert warns there’s a growing trend of “juice jacking,” where criminals can gain access to information on your device via the USB cable since it contains two wires—one for power, and one for data transfer.

Criminals can also use the USB cable to install ransomware, which allows them to hold your device ransom in exchange for money. Instead of using a USB port, Emert suggests using the AC power brick that plugs into a power outlet.

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serts  

Don’t Trust Public Wi-Fi

Don’t Trust Public Wi-Fi

This includes airports, hotels, trains and public spaces, regardless if the network is free, paid or password-protected. “If you’re on it, so is a would-be criminal,” says Emert. He also strongly cautions against connecting to financial institutions over a Wi-Fi network, particularly when abroad, whether through an app on your device or directly from the institution’s website. “You should assume that someone is probably watching you,” he says.  960 1280

Ezra Bailey  

Use a Personal Hotspot Connection

Use a Personal Hotspot Connection

A personal hotspot is a secure way to connect to the Internet via your wireless carrier's data plan if you lack Wi-Fi access—which is often the case when traveling. “Where a hotspot through a trusted carrier is available, that is a more secure method than choosing a public available wireless network,” says Emert.

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Petar Chernaev  

Turn Off Wireless Features You Don’t Need

Turn Off Wireless Features You Don’t Need

Traveling to a remote location isn't the only reason why you would turn off wireless capabilities. Emert says that services such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are designed to connect to available networks unless you have security features enabled. “Criminals can use those wireless connections to track your movement through an airport.” 960 1280

Jordan Siemens  

Use Your Debit Card as a Credit Card

Use Your Debit Card as a Credit Card

Cyber security also pertains to debit and credit cards. Emert says it’s safer to select the credit card option when making a purchase with a debit card since it requires a signature instead of a PIN number. It’s still debited from your account, but the signature requires a three-day waiting period before charging the purchase, whereas debit is instantaneous. The credit card feature is also insured in case an unauthorized purchase is made, and Emert notes it’s easier to recoup those losses from a credit card company than from your local bank. However, the safest method is a credit card with chip technology combined with your signature.

The exception would be using your debit card at an airport ATM, especially if it’s with a well-known banking institution. “The risk of your information being compromised at that ATM are relatively low.”
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Chronis Jons  

Leave Your Devices (and Non-Essential Personal Identification) at Home

Leave Your Devices (and Non-Essential Personal Identification) at Home

Finally, if you can manage without your laptop, phone or tablet, Emert says the safest place for them is at home. He also advises leaving behind any personal identification you don’t need, such as additional credit cards. Or if you’re traveling abroad, there’s no need to carry a driver’s license in addition to your passport. “When you’re traveling, assume, from a personal identification standpoint … that it’s not a safe environment,” says Emert. 960 1280

JGI/Tom Grill  

13 Photos
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

The elite men cross the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, MA. Hopkinton has been the starting point for the nation’s oldest marathon since it was moved from a neighboring town in 1925. 960 1280

Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images  

Running Through Boston

Running Through Boston

Each year 25,000 runners attempt to complete the winding and hilly 26.2-mile route. 960 1280

Aram Boghosian;Boston Globe, Getty Images  

Framingham to Natick

Framingham to Natick

From Ashland, the runners make their way through the nearby towns of Framingham and Natick. Around 500,000 spectators turn out to watch the race each year, making the marathon the biggest sporting event in New England. 960 1280

Al Bello, Getty Images  

Racing Through Natick

Racing Through Natick

The runners pass a residential area of Natick. If you know someone in the race, be sure to track their progress so you don’t miss them. 960 1280

Reuters  

Running Together

Running Together

Dick Hoyt pushes his son Rick as they compete in the Boston Marathon. Rick -- a Boston University grad -- was born with cerebral palsy, and his father (now 71!) has pushed him all the way to the finish line in 29 Boston Marathons. Dick and Rick -- who have become local celebrities -- run to raise money for the Team Hoyt Foundation, whose catch phrase appropriately is “Yes, You Can!” 960 1280

Getty Images  

Halfway Done!

Halfway Done!

Downtown Wellesley marks the marathon’s halfway point, but before the runners reach the 13-mile mark, they get a significant boost in morale from the students at Wellesley College (pictured here). Thousands of Wellesley women pack the streets by the campus, creating the famous “Scream Tunnel.” Runners have claimed that they can hear the women’s screams of support a mile away. 960 1280

Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images  

Brookline

Brookline

From Newton, runners pass Boston’s Brighton neighborhood and enter the city of Brookline. Cleveland Circle, where the runners turn a sharp left onto Beacon Street (pictured here), is a particularly loud, but exciting place to watch the race. 960 1280

Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau   

Heartbreak Hill

Heartbreak Hill

The aptly named “Heartbreak Hill,” in the city of Newton, is one of the most daunting challenges for runners. The infamous hill is the last of 7 that the runners must climb in the quaint suburb. The hills span from miles 16 to 21 on the route. 960 1280

Stewart Dawson, flickr   

Coolidge Corner

Coolidge Corner

Spectators cheer on the marathoners as they make their way through Coolidge Corner, a popular shopping and dining area in Brookline. 960 1280

FayFoto.com  

Beacon Street

Beacon Street

As the runners continue down Beacon Street they approach Kenmore Square, where the famous Citgo sign greets them, heading into downtown Boston. 960 1280

Soe Lin, flickr  

Marathon Monday

Marathon Monday

Each year on “Marathon Monday,” Fenway Park hosts a Red Sox home game -- the only morning game in all of Major League Baseball. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Wheelchair Race

Wheelchair Race

Since 1975, disabled athletes have participated in the marathon’s wheelchair race. The Boston Marathon has become the most famous and elite wheelchair race in the world, with strict qualifying standards. 960 1280

Stewart Dawson, flickr   

The Finish Line

The Finish Line

Hundreds of runners make their way to the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street in downtown Boston. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Thunder Over Louisville Fireworks

Thunder Over Louisville Fireworks

The Kentucky Derby Festival is kicked off by Thunder Over Louisville, the largest fireworks show in North America. Other attractions that take place during the 2-week event leading up to the race are the Great Balloon Race, the Pegasus Parade, the Great Steamboat Race and the Derby Marathon. 960 1280

Stephen J. Cohen / Getty Images  

Churchill Downs Annual Gathering

Churchill Downs Annual Gathering

Fans gather at the entrance to the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. 
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Jeff Gentner / Getty Images  

Grandstand Fans

Grandstand Fans

Race fans watch the derby in the grandstand in between the twin spires. 960 1280

Jay Fuller / Getty Images  

Early-Morning Prep

Early-Morning Prep

A blacksmith shoes a horse during an early-morning workout to prepare for the derby.
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Andy Lyons / Getty Images  

Morning Workout

Morning Workout

The sun rises as horses and their jockeys prepare for an early morning ride. 960 1280

Jamie Squire / Getty Images  

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

The official drink of the derby, the Mint Julep is presented in the specially made Kentucky Derby collectible glass. The Mint Julep is an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint and sweet syrup.
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Dylan Buell / Getty Images  

Kentucky Oaks Day

Kentucky Oaks Day

A race fan watches the 6th race while sipping on a Mint Julep on Kentucky Oaks Day, grade 1 stakes races for 3-year-old thoroughbred fillies held the friday before the derby. 960 1280

Jamie Squire / Getty Images  

Picking the Winner

Picking the Winner

Fans make their picks during the morning workouts in preparation for the 140th Kentucky Derby.
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Jamie Squire / Getty Images  

Jockey Dress Up

Jockey Dress Up

Kentucky Derby fans dressed as jockeys sip on their Mint Juleps and pose for a picture before the start of the race.
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NBC / Getty Images  

Where It All Begins

Where It All Begins

A panoramic view of the starting gate as the horses and their jockeys take off. 960 1280

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images  

Around the Bend

Around the Bend

Horses make their way around turn 4 during the 140th running of the derby. 960 1280

Andy Lyons / Getty Images  

Derby Hat Parade

Derby Hat Parade

The Derby Hat Parade, which takes place inside Churchill Downs, shows off the elegant hats worn by women and men during the Kentucky Derby.  This fan is decked out in classic headwear prior to the race.
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Chris Graythen / Getty Images  

Race to the Finish

Race to the Finish

Jockeys vie for position on their way to the finish line during the 140th running.
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Charles Bertram / Getty Images  

Casual Infield Gathering

Casual Infield Gathering

No fancy hats and Mint Juleps necessary here. A different scene then you would find in the grandstand, fans gather within the infield of Churchill Downs. 960 1280

Bloomberg / Getty Images  

And the Winner is ...

And the Winner is ...

A garland of roses, a blanket of 554 roses, is draped across the winning horse. 960 1280

Horsephotos / Getty Images  

Kentucky Derby Trophy

Kentucky Derby Trophy

The Kentucky Derby Trophy is presented to the owner of the winning horse. 960 1280

Horsephotos / Getty Images  

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