One of the biggest challenges of traveling today is traveling safely. The simple act of travel puts your finances at risk, whether from direct theft, identity theft, pick pocketing or other nefarious strategies. You need to be smart, and you need to be careful. Here are some things to do whenever you travel far from home.
1. Inform your family and bank before you leave for travel
When you go far away from home, it’s always a good idea to inform your bank and your credit card companies. Why? Your bank may notice that your card is being used for transactions internationally and shut down your card without notice or with minimal notice, leaving you without a card in another part of the country or in a foreign nation. That can be a big problem. A simple phone call to your banks and credit card companies before you travel can go a long way toward preventing a headache if your cards get canceled due to an unexpected charge from an unusual location.
2. Carry a Minimal and Smart Wallet
There’s no reason for you to be strolling about in unfamiliar territory with all your credit cards and all your money in your wallet. It’s just a bad idea. A simple pickpocket or thief can put you in a seriously compromised position. A solution to this problem is to only carry one credit card when out and about. Leave a second card – from another issuer – in a safe place back at the hotel, ideally in a safe if one is available. If you’re not driving, leave your drivers license in a secure place, too. That way, if one item gets stolen, you have backups.
3. Use a money belt
A money belt is a pouch that wraps around your torso underneath your shirt, keeping your key belongings in a safe place that’s difficult for anyone to get to. A thief can’t touch a well-placed money belt. You can personally use the Eagle Creek money belt.
4. Use a credit card, not a debit card
A credit card offers many financial advantages for purchases over a debit card in any situation, but that’s never so true as when traveling. For starters, a credit card is not linked to your savings or checking account, so a fraudster couldn’t gain any direct access to your personal banking accounts. Credit cards also offer a number of consumer protections against fraud that often do not extend to debit cards, even ones with a Visa or a MasterCard logo on them. This includes things like fraudulent charge protection, which can really help if your bank can’t contact you when you’re traveling.