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Credit Card Safety When Traveling: Eight Tips for Protecting Your Credit Cards on Vacation

by Barbara Marquand

Getting your wallet stolen on vacation is a bummer, and if it contains all your cash and credit cards, it's a disaster. Whether you're traveling to Nebraska to visit your Aunt Martha or jetting off to Rome for a tour of Europe, follow these eight steps for keeping your credit cards safe.

Safe Credit Card Use When Traveling

1. Before you leave on your trip, call your credit card companies to let them know where you'll be traveling, so they don't put a hold on your card when they see charges appear in unfamiliar places. Also, check your limits and make sure you'll have enough credit to get through your trip. The last thing you need is to get your card declined at the entrance gate to Disneyland.

2. Take one or two credit cards with you, as well as traveler's checks, rather than a lot of cash. Taking two credit cards is ideal--one to use and one to serve as backup in case something happens to the first one. Keep the backup card in a secure place, such as a hotel safe.

3. Take traveler's checks. They can serve as another backup in case your ATM card or credit card gets stolen.

Divide Your Credit Cards

4. If you're traveling with a partner, carry different credit cards, so if one person's wallet gets stolen, the other has a credit card that can still be used.

5. Leave unnecessary credit cards at home. There's no need to take department store or multiple major credit cards with you.

6. Carry only the valuables you absolutely need, and plan where to hide those you don't. Handbags, fanny packs, and outside pockets are prime targets for thieves. A money belt or pouch under your clothing is the safest place to carry a credit card.

Credit Card Companies List

7. Make a list of your credit card companies' telephone numbers and keep that separate from your credit cards, so you have the numbers handy in case the cards get lost or stolen. Don't write down the credit card account numbers, though.

8. Call your credit card companies immediately if any cards get lost or stolen.

Using credit cards is a good way to travel. Follow these tips, and you'll be ready for a safe and happy vacation.




Published 02/04/11 (Modified 03/03/14)

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