You’ve heard stories on the local news, and maybe one of your friends has even been the victim of a money crime while traveling. And if you talk to those who have been taken advantage of, they’ll tell you that a theft while traveling is the quickest way to ruin your vacation.
The most important thing to do before you leave is to ensure your money can’t get stolen. And while it isn’t fun to think about, it’s also a good idea to prepare for what could happen if you do find yourself in an unfortunate situation.
Decide Where to Stash the Cash
People get their cash and credit cards stolen for two main reasons: they leave them behind somewhere or they are pickpocketed. Know where you will keep your money while traveling.
The safest place to keep your cash and cards are on your body. Instead of slipping your wallet in your back pocket where it’s easy to get taken advantage of, use a the RFID neck stash or money belt . This small investment for less than $10 can end up saving you lots in the long run.
Don’t leave your cash out for thieves to steal; tuck it away instead and enjoy your vacation knowing your money is safe and secure.
Stay on Top of Scams
Different parts of the world have different money stealing scams. Before you travel abroad, especially overseas, know what type of scams are common in that area so you can recognize them.
Fake police officers, young children stealing money, counterfeit cash, and ATM scams are all common ways thieves steal tourists’ money. Keep an eye out if you know one of these methods is known to be happening in the area you’ll be visiting.
Keep a Copy of Important Documents
In case something bad were to happen, make sure you have a copy of all important identification and travel documents so you don’t get stuck in an unfamiliar city.
Never travel with originals while sightseeing – keep your original passport at the hotel secured in a locked safe. Keeping digital copies and scans of documents on your phones and tablets is also a good idea to have as a backup.
Know What to Do in an Emergency
What’s going to happen if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you’re left without money? Can someone back at home transfer some to you? Do you have a pre-paid VISA card you can keep at the hotel? Make a plan ahead of time and know how you’ll get funds in case of an emergency.
Find Out Fees Beforehand
Traveling out of your normal areas can trigger alerts on your credit cards and bank accounts. Let your bank know ahead of time where you’ll be to avoid having a freeze on your funds.
Many credit cards charge expensive fees when using them in places with different currencies. If you plan on using cards, know how much you’ll have to pay ahead of time so you’re not caught off guard and left with insufficient funds.
There are a variety of travel credit cards available on the market that charge little to no exchange or ATM fees when traveling abroad.
Don’t Put Yourself in Danger
While it seems like common sense, always be aware of your surroundings when exchanging money or using an ATM while traveling. Tourists are easy targets for thieves. While we might associate dangers spots for money transactions with dark, empty alleyways, it’s important to remember that high-volume, busy cities with lots of people can leave you just as vulnerable.
Try to always have another person with you while you’re making any type of financial transaction. If you don’t feel comfortable in your surroundings, wait till another time when you know you’re safe.
It’s often overwhelming to prepare for a trip, but when it comes to your finances, these money safety tips travelers shouldn’t ignore could save your vacation. Don’t wind up broke in a strange city. Plan ahead, be cautious, and have a back-up plan for when things go wrong.