The reward for saving up all year for a vacation is the day you are finally packed up and on your way to a relaxing time without the typical stress of everyday life. Other than having physical health issues while traveling, the worst things that can happen is to have your money and credit cards stolen. These five tips for financial safety on vacation will help you avoid the pitfalls of becoming a victim of personal theft.
Adjust Your Habits
It’s easy to take our safety for granted in a familiar environment. We are aware of the dangers and what to avoid on home territory, but there is a lot of uncertainty when traveling to unknown destinations. Maintain your privacy. Don’t talk to anyone specifically about where you are staying. You don’t really know who you are talking to, and even if you are discussing a hotel reservation with a family member, someone could overhear you. Don’t set yourself up to be followed. Keep your valuables and cash well hidden. A thief good at what he or she does knows a traveler’s vulnerable points and will take full advantage of them.
Limit Your Documents
You should leave any credit cards you are not using and sensitive papers at home. Don’t carry a lot of cash, either. Do some research ahead of time to find out what financial institutions are in the place you are vacationing to that will allow you to withdraw cash. Take your debit card with you to use at ATM machines, but watch out for bogus machines. Take a photocopy of your Social Security card with the last four numbers blacked out rather than taking the original. Leave your checkbook behind.
Keep Your Focus
While enjoying the sights, keep one eye open for suspicious characters or people who are a little too friendly. Keep your wallet and valuables close to your body and not in exterior pockets, especially in a crowd where pickpockets can bump up against you. Leave anything you are concerned about in the hotel safe. Leave nothing of value in your hotel room. Pay attention to where you put your credit cards and debit card.
Use Credit Cards
Never carry a lot of cash on you at one time. Use a credit card for major purchases. Before you leave on vacation, call your bank or financial institution and let them know your travel plans. Keep their contact information with you on the trip. If your card does happen to be stolen, call them immediately. Most major credit cards have a zero-liability policy, so you don’t have to pay if the card is stolen. The most you may end up paying is $50. Have a back-up credit card packed safely away for emergencies.
Decide on where you are going to keep your valuables, cash, debit card and credit cards. Check frequently in private to make sure everything is in order. Put it all back in the same place after using it. Check the hotel room before you leave it every morning. Don’t leave anything in your rental car. Call the customer service number on your credit cards daily to check the balance on your cards compared with your receipts for the day.