Times are tough across the nation, and it’s important to be extra diligent about your money when out and about, especially when you’re traveling. There are a lot of distractions that occur on vacation or while traveling for business, and in an instant you could put yourself in a precarious situation. Money is a necessary part of the travel process, as you need to have access to your funds for gas, food, lodging and incidentals.
But with all of the excitement in your day, it only takes a second to misplace your wallet or be victimized by a thief, and then you lose access to your money and potentially lose your own identity.
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Tips for Keeping Your Travel Funds Safe
When you know you are going away, it is important to consider your money matters beforehand so you are assured enough cash when you need it. Take time to consider how much cash you should have on hand and which credit cards you will need to bring with you. It is highly advisable to only bring what you will need rather than putting your entire financial life at risk.
Easy on the Cash
Withdraw enough cash from your bank for the essentials. You don’t want to take out your entire savings to carry in your wallet at one time. You can utilize a bank card at a later point to access more cash, even if it means incurring a small fee. It is much better to pay an extra $3 for more cash than to risk losing everything you have.
Make the Conversion
If you are planning to travel abroad, you will likely not be able to use U.S. dollars for spending purposes and transactions. You will need to learn about your options for travelers checks. You want to ensure you are converting your cash at a trustworthy location such as a bank or in your hotel.
Conversion fees are not equal everywhere, and you want to ensure you are using a service that is on the up and up, especially if you are unfamiliar with the conversion process.
Credit Cards Abroad
Not all credit cards from the U.S. are accepted abroad. You should check in with your credit card company and inform them of your plans for travel. They will be able to let you know how and where you can use your credit card as well as explain any fees associated with foreign use. Contacting your credit card company and bank ahead of time can also help you avoid a situation where you are unable to use your cards.
There have been many overseas travelers whose transactions were refused when used abroad because the bank or credit card company flagged the transactions in a foreign location as suspicious, essentially freezing the cards from being used.
Always take into account your credit and bank cards’ whereabouts to ensure you have properly replaced them in your wallet after use. It can be very easy to misplace a card when visiting multiple locations in one day.
Divide and Conquer Your Cash
The cash you do carry should be protected against theft or loss. Never carry all the cash you have on hand at the same time. Divide the money up between you, your spouse and your hotel’s safe. When you access the cash in your wallet, be discreet. Don’t show everyone around you the hundred dollar bills you have on your person.
Put your wallet in a deep pocket, preferably with a button closure, and keep some of your cash in your front pockets in case your wallet is snatched without your knowledge. If you carry a purse, make sure it closes on top to keep your belongings from being exposed to others. Keep the purse near to your body at all times rather than hanging freely from your hand, tempting criminals to grab it away.
Bring Emergency Information
To err on the side of caution, before leaving, make copies of the front and back of your credit cards and bank cards. Take one copy with you and keep it in the safe of the hotel and leave one copy at home for safekeeping upon your return. In the event a credit card or bank debit card is stolen or lost, you will have the information you need to get assistance including the contact phone number. You should also make copies of the other identification you plan to travel with, including your driver’s license.
You certainly don’t want money anxiety to ruin your trip, but you also don’t want lost money to upend a vacation. Remain on alert at all times during transactions so you don’t make mistakes you’ll regret. Make a habit of taking inventory of your cash and cards each night so you know where you stand. In the event something is lost, you will only have to retrace the steps of one day of activities rather than an entire week.
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