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You set the alarm and lock the door as you head out on your family vacation this year. You are protecting your home, but are you protecting your finances while traveling? As you go out of town whether for a day, week or month you need to think beyond just having your home secure. You need to make sure you are also protecting your finances at home and on the road. Some simple things are recommended to protect your accounts from theft or unauthorized charges.
Contact your bank and credit card companies. First thing you need to do is alert your banking institutes that you will be traveling and using your cards at different locations than normal. Many people find themselves at a gas pump and unable to put gas in their car because their bank thinks it is a fraudulent purchase since it is out of state. Letting your bank know you will have different charges will keep you from being stranded with your card being declined.
Use pre-paid credit cards instead of bank debit cards. This is something that we have used in recent years and really like doing. Instead of taking our bank debit cards that have access to all of our funds, we purchase a pre-paid credit card through a local retailer. For most pre-paid credit cards, you are able to transfer money directly from your bank account to the card and have it loaded within a few hours. You pay $5-$10 for he card up front, then as you need more money on it, you simply choose to load from your bank account. This leaves your bank and regular finances safe from theft should your card be lost on the road.
Don’t carry large amounts of cash. This is an obvious tip that bears repeating. Carrying large amounts of cash is always dangerous. Once that is gone you won’t have any protection to refund you like you would with your debit or credit cards. When carrying any cash, avoid large stacks of bills.
Keeping your wallet in a front pocket. Simple step that will protect you a bit more from petty theft is to keep your money and/or wallet in your front pocket. For many men this may feel awkward at first, but it is much easier for a thief to grab your wallet out of a back pocket than a front pocket. For women, skipping the purse and only carrying what is needed in front pockets is smart for many reasons. If they aren’t comfortable without a purse, choose a cross bod style with a zipper that would be harder for a thief to grab and run with.
Have pertinent account information stored safely with easy access for you. Knowing things like your bank account number, credit card number, dates these accounts were opened and simply the telephone number to call should they be stolen is tough to think of right off hand. This information isn’t something you want to have in a pocket, but you can store online in Dropbox, Amazon Cloud or another secure online storage format that you can easily access from anywhere using your account logins. Keep a spreadsheet with this information for all of your bills, as well as your bank and credit accounts for easy access in emergencies.
Invest in travel insurance. This may be the best investment you make for protecting your finances while traveling. Travel insurance protects a lot of things for you. Typically it will be there to cover your belongings while on the road, your vehicle or rental and can help should you lose a debit or credit card. Research insurances to find what fits your needs, but also remember to consider the upgrade for roadside assistance.
Protecting your finances while traveling isn’t difficult. It’s all about planning ahead and being proactive. From simple changes to making a few phone calls, you can easily have your finances secure no matter where you are traveling.