How To Manage Your Bills While Traveling Abroad
When we travel, it’s imperative that our finances travel with us, usually in the typical forms of cash, debit cards or credit cards. When we’re overseas, there isn’t a great deal that changes when it comes to purchasing things; we still need to continue to purchase food and lodging (at least), therefore, the conventional methods still apply.
The question is, how do we do this safely and manage our finances well while traveling abroad?
Even though the methods we use don’t really change, our mindset should change, depending on where we go. In certain countries, identity theft is far more common than it is in the United States, thus using a credit card is ill-advised.
However, at the same time, there are places where carrying cash is more risky. It all depends on the place you’re going and what you can expect in terms of risk.
You’ve got to assess that risk yourself, but regardless of where you’re going, here are a few overall best practices that you can use to manage your finances effectively while you’re traveling overseas:
1. Diversify — It’s not a good idea to have all your money in one spot while you’re traveling abroad. If at all possible, keep the bulk of your funds in a high-interest savings account, while keeping whatever you need for your trip in a checking account or as cash in hand.
If someone is able to get access to your cash or checking account, at least they won’t be able to wipe you out completely.
2. Protect your cash — If you do decide to use cash, make sure you only take on the trip what you’ll need, with maybe a little extra. Likewise, when you leave your hotel or wherever you’re staying, only take the cash you’ll need for that outing.
Carrying a lot of cash increases the risk of losing it, therefore, it will be more likely to catch the eye of people looking to rip you off.
3. Protect your pin numbers — Don’t feel bad about covering up your pin number when you’re making a purchase or using an ATM. It’s highly unlikely that anyone who isn’t looking over your shoulder trying to spot your pin number before they swipe your card, is even going to care.
Your pin number is one of those things that you should take extra precaution to protect when you’re out of the country, since many countries don’t have a high level of security when it comes to credit or debit cards. As far as sound, overseas credit card advice goes, this is one of the best (and simplest) things you can do to protect yourself.
4. Planning your expenses — As much as you can, try and plan your expenses before you go on your trip. It’s never possible to plan for every single encounter and cost, but try and draw up a ballpark, then plan to allocate a little more than that (just in case). If you go into the trip with only what you need, you’ll be a poor candidate for thievery, and you’ll have less to lose in the event that something does go wrong.
The best overall strategy for managing your money when you’re outside of the country you’re familiar with is to consolidate, keep it simple and stay as conservative as possible.
That’s not to say that you should skip out on aspects of your trip that would require you to spend money, but instead, simply plan for those events, and know ahead of time where you want your money to be, and where you plan for it to go.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and online marketing professional in Southern California who works with HostPapa to help others learn how to take full advantage of available online resources. As a frequent traveler, she always makes sure to take the right steps to protect her finances from getting into the wrong hands. Follow her on Twitter today!
Originally posted 2013-09-11 15:30:53.
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Identity theft affects almost 15 million Americans a year, according to idtheftinfo.org. Summer vacationers are prime targets, usually because they are less guarded with their behavior both online and off.
When you’re out of town, you may not always get online using a secure wireless network. At home, mail and other deliveries can pile up, alerting scammers that you’re out of town. There’s also the chance that you could accidentally leave your wallet or phone unattended on your trip. Any of these scenarios is like Christmas morning for identity thieves.
The most common methods of identity theft arrive via stolen wallets and purses, mail theft, rummaging through your trash and stealing personal information from unsecured computers. Before you head out on that vacation, take some time to learn which risky behaviors can be avoided so that you can keep your personal information safe.
Methods of Identity Theft
Information from both your online and physical worlds are what the thieves are looking for. In some cases, your social networking status updates can be used to facilitate crimes. Never accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Strangers could be looking for your personal data and information about when you’ll be out of town. They might use your social networking status updates to know when it’s safe to break into your home. Have talks with your children about Internet safety.
Old-school methods like snooping, stealing wallets and rummaging through your garbage and mail for banking or credit card information are still used by thieves. Pickpockets still lurk on busy streets, in hotel lobbies, bus stations, cafes and anywhere there’s a lot of activity. Make sure you and your family stay vigilant even as you’re enjoying your vacation.
Identity theft can lead to the loss of cash and valuables and result in damaged credit, lost insurance benefits and even a criminal record. These dangers are serious, and it could take years to clear it up
Follow these tips to help keep your identity safe this summer:
1. Tell your kids not to post specifics about your travel dates on their social networking sites
2. Have a trusted neighbor collect your mail while you’re away from home, or put a vacation hold on it at the post office
3. Lock up your laptops and other valuables before you leave your hotel room
4. Don’t check your bank account or enter personal information on unsecured wireless networks in hotels or cafes. Make sure to log out of your accounts when finished, and avoid using pay-per-minute computers (these can be infected with spyware)
5. Subscribe to an identity protection service like Lifelock. You’ll receive alerts whenever suspicious activity is detected on any of your accounts.
If You Become a Victim
1. Contact bank and credit card companies to let them know your information has been compromised
2. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports
3. File a report with the police
Rachel is a regular traveler who often takes her twin boys with her on backpacking and boating adventures. She regularly writes about vacationing with the family and how to have fun while being safe away from home.
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Ex-conman Frank Abagnale warns how Facebook users risk identity theft.
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At Advertising Week Europe Frank Abagnale warns of the dangers Facebook users face of identity theft through the information they provide as well as through misuse of face recognition software. The 65-year-old, whose 1960s scams were portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can and is now an FBI security expert, says technology has made it far easier to commit identity fraud now than 40 years ago.
More info on identity theft below.
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