Privacy Packing: Your Holiday Essentials Checklist

26 July 2017

As much as you may be looking forward to your holiday, preparing for your well-deserved summer break always has its stresses. The most you should have to worry about is where you’ve left your passport, whether you’ve overpacked, fitting your makeup into a regulation ziplock bag and keeping your children amused on the flight.

If you are a high profile individual, the prospect of media intrusion can bring a multitude of other worries. Media interest in what celebrities get up to on vacation is hardly a new development, but the advent of smartphones means that you are surrounded by potential amateur paparazzos wherever you go. Privacy on holiday is no longer just a concern for A-listers. There has been a marked increase in media interest in the private lives of prominent business leaders, particularly if their pursuits can be presented as being overly decadent.

The last thing you want to deal with while you’re on holiday is having to field unwanted press attention. As well as ruining your break, it can be particularly harmful when it comes to children.

Luckily there are a number of things you can do before you leave to mitigate these risks.

Choose your destination carefully

All countries which sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights acknowledge that you have a right to privacy, and that this sometimes extends to activities carried out in public, such as dining in restaurants and going to the beach. In England and Wales, there are a number of laws which can be deployed to deter media intrusion. Some countries have similar, and arguably stronger legal protections. France, for example, has strong privacy laws, as illustrated by the criminal proceedings brought against Closer magazine for publishing private photos of Kate Middleton taken with a long lens. By contrast, in the United States the media’s freedom of expression usually takes precedence over privacy rights, though this depends on the extent of the media’s intrusion. Obviously the quality of beaches and restaurants is likely to rank higher than local privacy laws when you’re deciding where to go, but it is still something which you will not regret taking into account.

Take practical steps

Can your hotel offer any assurances that your stay will be kept under the radar? Does the restaurant you’ve been dying to go to have a private area? Would it be preferable to rent a private villa in a more secluded area to avoid these issues altogether? If appropriate, you can also consider engaging a security company to advise on these issues.

Social media precautions

When it comes to social media, you can be your own worst enemy. Though it is very tempting to brag about that beautiful view on your Instagram account, think about who you are sharing your pictures with, who they might pass them onto, and the overall optics. If you’re traveling with children or friends, you should definitely discuss this with them, and make sure that all the family and your guests have in place appropriate privacy settings before you go. Digital natives are likely to have a different attitude to privacy than you, and a Facebook post which you may consider to be oversharing may seem completely normal to them. It is easier to protect your right to a private life if you are consistent in the information you share about yourself. If in doubt, consider a digital detox; you can always show people your holiday snaps when you get home.  

Ultimately, it is much more effective to plan for these issues in advance than to deal with them when you are on holiday. Consider compiling a privacy plan, so that you can unplug and really enjoy your break. 

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About the Author

Jane Ashford-Thom


Jane advises prominent individuals and the companies they represent on reputation and privacy issues.

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