During vacation, the only things you should be focused on are how late you can sleep in, which brunch place has the fluffiest French toast, or how many European cities you can explore in a week.

This is why you should formulate a plan to keep finances and money safe before your trip begins. By adhering to these simple strategies, you can minimize risk and enjoy the peace of mind you deserve on your break.

Give your credit card company and bank a heads-up

Many financial institutions are set to either alert their customers or freeze their accounts if fraud or theft is suspected. Contacting them beforehand to let them know where you’ll be visiting and for how long will minimize the chances of unnecessary disruptions to your transactions.

Use credit cards instead of debit cards

Your liability for fraudulent charges on your credit card is quite small (a maximum of $50) whereas you could be responsible for far more if you don’t report debit card lost or stolen. Also, using a credit card is lower risk, as it’s not directly connected to your bank account. That means if you do lose it or if it’s stolen, you don’t have to worry about your money being potentially compromised.

Keep an eye on your accounts

If you have a mobile banking app, check it regularly throughout your trip so you can take swift action if suspicious transactions appear. Doing so before any charges are made will mean you won’t be on the hook for them, while delaying could make you liable for up to a certain amount.

Be cautious of public Wi-Fi

Since anyone can join public Wi-Fi, your risk of cyberattacks increases exponentially. To keep yourself safe, don’t access any financial accounts while connected to public internet. If you need to use mobile banking, connect with your cellular data and use a mobile banking app rather than online banking. Smartphones are typically better protected against malware than laptops.

Protect your devices

Hackers are very good at what they do, and they bet on people not knowing how to properly secure their devices. Setting up multifactor authentication will make you much harder to target, as will creating a strong password. Using biometric security features like fingerprint recognition will also give you another layer of protection.

Don’t carry a lot of cash

Cash is attractive to thieves and can make you more of a target. Instead, consider using a prepaid card that offers fraud protection as well as free withdrawals at some ATMS.

Carry a backup credit card

Having an alternate method of payment is a no-brainer for peace of mind while traveling. Some credit cards are more widely accepted than others, so having a second one will ensure you won’t be caught without a way to pay. Just make sure to keep it in your hotel room or somewhere other than your wallet, so that way, you’ll still be able to make purchases in case your primary one is stolen.

Secure important documents

Traveling often requires you to carry essential documents like passports. Make a digital copy of these important documents, and keep them in password-protected cloud storage so you can access them in the event one is stolen or lost. If you are traveling to places that are known for pickpockets, consider purchasing a lanyard or crossbody bag that can be worn under your clothes or jacket.

Use hotel safes or lockboxes

If you don’t need to keep your passport or other important documents on you, stow them away in your hotel using a secure safe or lockbox. You can also store expensive jewelry or your backup credit card in here.

Double-check ATMs

A skimmer is a card reader disguised to look like a normal part of an ATM, and it works by scanning your information and recording your PIN. To check for a skimmer, feel for any tape or sticky residue on the ATM, and look for anything bulky on the card insert area or PIN keypad that could be an extra piece. You can also wiggle the card slot or keypad to test if it’s loose.

Prepare for emergencies

Even with all this preparation, accidents and unforeseen events can still occur. Make sure you have the numbers of your financial institutions and credit card companies on hand so you can make quick calls to rectify any situation that may arise.

With a little forethought and organization, you can protect your finances while on vacation and put your focus on where it belongs—having the time of your life.

This article was prepared by ReminderMedia.

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