How to Protect Your Money and Accounts When Traveling
When we get caught up in the excitement of taking off for a vacation, we often forget to make provisions to keep our personal property and financial accounts secure while we’re away. However, The love-hate relationship between tourist and thief is as old as the concept of travel itself. Ignoring this reality can be costly.
Here’s some advice on how to prepare for the worst as you’re hoping for the best in your travels.
1. Cash is still king
Although it can’t be replaced if stolen, cash still has many advantages over paying with plastic. Unlike credit cards, cash doesn’t give thieves a direct link to your identity and financial accounts if stolen. In fact, a thief doesn’t even have to physically take your credit card to pull the information they need to run up charges on your account.
2. Pay Attention When Using Bank/Credit Cards
Keep a lookout for prying eyes when using your PIN. Try to use reputable banks with legitimate ATMs if you know where to find them and go elsewhere if anything seems strange about the machine or your surroundings.
3. Lock Your Gadgets
Your cell phone and laptop are just as much of a security risk as credit cards. Lock them up physically, lock them up digitally, and disable any automatic logins or passwords. If available, use the feature that enables you to lock your phone remotely if it gets stolen or lost.
4. Use Public Wi-Fi Wisely
Wi-fi is a convenience that’s available at most hotels and some restaurants. Don’t be so relieved about this that you forget these public networks are not secure. Avoid checking your bank and credit card accounts on these networks. Simply wait until you’re on a secure private network to access information that can be valuable to thieves.
5. Protect Home Base
You want to come home and relax after your trip, so take steps before you go to avoid making your home a target for thieves. Put a hold on your mail. If you don’t have timers for lights in your home, consider a house sitter or having a trusted neighbour drop by periodically. Lock up anything of value and make sure your possessions are documented in a quick video that’s backed up in the cloud in case you need to prove what’s missing.
Taking steps to protect your money, accounts and possessions is part of your mental and emotional preparation for traveling. You’ll find that taking these steps will increase your ability to relax and smell the roses when you’re away from home. Bon voyage!
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