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Tips for traveling

Date posted:  12/9/14 01:30:00 PM Keep finances secure when traveling with preparation and careful packing.

Everyone loves to kick back, relax and enjoy a vacation. However, a leisurely getaway can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don't keep your money and valuables safe. 

Follow these tips for keeping your finances and valuables secure while traveling: 

Carry only the essentials 
Unless absolutely necessary, do not travel with large sums of cash. If someone snatches a purse or wallet, a traveler runs the risk of having all resources compromised. Bankrate suggested bringing only the cards that will be used on the trip when traveling. 

"Limit what documents you are going to carry with you," said Linda Foley, co-founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. "Clean out your wallet and purse before you take that trip."

Use a credit card for large purchases 
Credit cards tend to be safer for every day purchases than a standard debit card. The Fair Credit Reporting Act helps ensure a cardholder can dispute fraudulent charges if and when they occur, according to the Federal Trade Commission. 

"If you're worrying about safety, I don't think you can go wrong with credit cards," noted Anne Banas, executive editor of, according to Bankrate. 

While a traveler can be as careful as possible, the risk of theft still exists. If this occurs, an individual should notify the credit card company as soon as he or she becomes aware that a card has been compromised. Also, a traveler should be proactive and inform the credit card company that he/she will be going abroad.

Bring an additional card 
To ensure an individual is not stranded while on vacation in the event of a credit card theft, he or she should always pack an emergency credit card card which is located in an area separate from the other card.

One option is for tourists to keep back-up cards in the hotel. It is important to remember that simply keeping a card in a hotel room does not mean it is not at risk of being stolen. Many individuals may have keys that can access a guest's room. Take advantage of the safe located in the room and keep valuables there when not in the room. 

Have multiple forms of payment available 
According to U.S. News & World Report, to keep your funds safe while traveling you should bring multiple forms of payment in case one form is stolen. This ensures you will not be stuck somewhere. 

In addition, your credit card will not be accepted everywhere so keeping an extra form on hand is always a good idea. 

Individuals should also call ahead and ask whether the stores or restaurants in the area will take cards, as well as which types are accepted. 

Exchange money safely 
If a traveler is abroad, he or she will likely need to exchange U.S. money into local currency. U.S. News & World Report recommended depending on a trusted friend or family member to exchange as a primary option. If the individual is traveling without knowing anyone at his or her destination, researching exchange rates and becoming familiar with fees will help prevent a money-exchange office from taking advantage of the situation. 

Safety at the ATM 
To avoid credit card skimming, individuals should use ATMs inside banks instead of heading to stand-alone machines. 

Speaking with a bank ahead of time and putting a cap on how much can be withdrawn from an account each day can also be a good way to prevent thieves from draining the bank account. Most backs have mobile apps now as well, which can help with keeping track of account activity while traveling. 

Speak with the bank ahead of time 
Financial institutions may have various policies in place intended to protect customers from identity theft, but these may intrude on your vacation plans. For example, some banks might freeze a debit card if a purchase takes place outside of the state or region. To prevent this, an individual who plans to travel abroad should call and inform the bank and credit card company before going abroad.

Traveling is a fun and exciting way to spend your vacation, and with preparation and attention to detail, your finances and valuables can be secure. 

 bank before leaving.