How to stay financially safe on vacation

Here are some tips for keeping your financial information, including credit cards, safe during your travels.
1) Take inventory
Just like packing your suitcase, packing your wallet is a strategic step to take on your way to paradise. Here’s a checklist:
  • ATM/Debit card
  • Two major, widely accepted credit cards
  • A list of emergency phone numbers, including credit card companies in case of loss or theft
  • Things not to bring: checkbook, health insurance card, any document with your social security number
Also let your credit card company know where you’re going and when, but make sure to tack a few extra days on the end of your vacation, just in case you get stuck and still need to use your cards.
2) Divide and conquer
Once you get to the destination, split up your two credit cards. If you lose your wallet, you don’t want to lose everything, so pack away your back up in the hotel safe. When you’re out and about, keep your cards close to the vest, literally. Use your front pockets instead of back and if you carry a purse, always keep it at your side, don’t put it down.
3) Debating debit
While debit cards are a convenient way to get cash, they are also a direct link to your checking account. Hotels are one of the most reported instances of card hacking, so always use your credit card when paying for big items like hotel rooms. This way you don’t have to worry about having your checking account falling into the wrong hands.
Another debit trap people fall into are fake ATMs. These are usually placed in high foot traffic areas that are tourist heavy. Instead, use ATMs that are bank endorsed and either close or inside your bank or hotel. To be extra careful, at night try to use indoor ATMs in hotel lobbies and make sure no one’s peeking over your shoulder to swipe that PIN.
4) Erase the paper trail
Make sure to not only keep an eye on your wallet and credit cards, but also receipts and any other financial documents you might think are trash. Clean out your hotel room daily and make sure your rental car is clean of any trace of your financial identity before you turn it in.
Trips are stressful enough and you don’t need a catastrophic financial hiccup to make your vacation any more irritating. Vacation is for relaxing, so relax! Follow these tips and use your common sense and you’ll be on your way to unwinding.

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