Traveling is wonderful. However, it can also be dangerous. That’s why it’s so important to keep a close eye on your money while traveling. Here’s how to keep your hard earned cash, checks, and credit cards safe when abroad.
1. Carry a minimum of two credit cards. If one is lost or stolen, you’ll have a backup to rely on. The cards should be from two different networks, like MasterCard and Visa.
2. Tell your credit card providers and your banks about your travel plans. Otherwise, they may flag your account for strange activity, which could leave your accounts frozen when you need them the most.
3. Your primary credit card may not work internationally, even if it’s from a well-known company. Before leaving for your trip, check with the provider or bank to find out exactly where you’ll be able to use the card.
4. Make photocopies of the front and back of each credit card you’re carrying, along with your IDs. Leave copies with someone you trust at home. Lock additional copies in the safe at your hotel room. When searching for hotels in Amsterdam, look for ones that have a safe in the room.
5. Scan or take photos of your cards and e-mail the image to yourself. You can also store this information as an encrypted file on your tech devices.
6. If you know someone at your destination country, ask if they’ll negotiate the exchange rate for you. You may be able to get more back for your dollar.
7. Before exchanging money, find out the current exchange rate. Before leaving the counter at an exchange office, count at the money in front of the clerk. You want to make sure you’re getting what you deserve.
8. You’ll get a better rate of exchange through an ATM than at an exchange office. However, make sure that the ATM fee doesn’t set-off the savings.
9. Since foreign ATM machines don’t have letters, know the corresponding numbers to your password if it consists of letters.
10. Use the ATM located inside a bank rather than outside. Dishonest people often wait around an exterior ATM to steal your information or your money.
11. If you’re carrying a chip-embedded credit card, invest in a sleeve protector intended for chip cards. This will prevent anyone from stealing your information.
12. Instead of a normal credit card, travel with prepaid credit cards. This will prevent anyone from accessing your normal credit card.
13. Before traveling, research tipping etiquette. In many countries, the tip is already included in the check, which means you don’t have to spend more money when dining out.
14. When going through security at the airport, wait until you’re ready to step through the portal to put your bags on the belt. You and your bags will move through security at the same time, making it harder for anyone to snatch your belongings.
You may be armed with information about finding the best hotel deals, getting upgrades from your airline, or packing like a pro, but don’t overlook tips about keeping your money safe and sound.
This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the most comprehensive travel search website allowing you to find the best deals on anything from flights and hotels to train rides and Homeaway rentals.