The last thing you want while on vacation is a financial hassle. Follow these tips to protect your money when traveling abroad.

First, streamline your wallet: driver’s license, ATM card, and two credit cards. Next, make two copies of your crucial information: passport, travel itinerary, debit card, and credit cards (plus customer service numbers). Hide the first copy in your luggage and give the second to a trusted friend. Finally, tell your bank and creditors you’ll be on vacation to prevent them from accidentally freezing your account.

While traveling, your top priority is to keep your cash and cards secure. Here’s a thorough example: keep your valuables in a pouch that goes around your neck and under your shirt, put emergency cash and your secondary credit card wrapped in wax paper under the liner of your shoe, and have a few bills in your front pocket for quick purchases (bonus points if the pocket is zippered). Whatever system you choose, remember that pickpockets look for distracted tourists fumbling about in their fat wallets or bulky purses. If your methods are organized, you’ll make quick, efficient purchases – and know instantly if something is missing.

With everything secure on your person (or in a hotel safe), it’s time to secure your purchases. Use your ATM card to withdraw cash from legitimate machines – preferably attached to or inside of a bank. Don’t pull out money if an unruly crowd of eyeballs is behind you and don’t walk away until your cash is out of sight. Don’t use your ATM card for actual purchases because it links directly to your checking account – which will be emptied quickly if the card is stolen or skimmed. If you use your primary credit card instead, your liability will be limited to $50 provided you report theft or loss of the card.

So be smart. Split up your cash into different pockets. Keep your eyes open while crowded into public transportation and get that fat wallet out of your back pocket. When the vacation is over, check your statements for errors and tell your banks and creditors you’re back home.

Stewart Pelto

Stewart Pelto

Stewart Pelto is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is now the proud recipient of a Master’s degree in French Literature – a degree that honed the same researching and writing skills he uses to write informative articles today. While pursuing this degree, he taught French courses to undergraduate students for two years. What he enjoyed most about the position was the challenge of making difficult concepts readily understandable and accessible to all.

He served as a Senator for the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, fighting to keep tuition costs down for graduate students struggling with their finances and student loans. He also developed his budgeting skills during his time as a Treasurer for the Graduate Romance Association. He enjoyed becoming more active in his local community and working to make a positive effect on his surroundings.

While an undergraduate himself, he spent a year abroad in Europe earning his degree in Spanish and French. While studying in both Sevilla, Spain, and Montpellier, France, he was exposed to the everyday reality of living under different economic and financial systems. Among other interesting travels he has made is a financial pilgrimage to the Spanish stock market in Madrid.

Stewart Pelto brings his rigorous academic education and his international experience to the problem of raising credit awareness and promoting financial responsibility. He hopes that his articles will teach his readers about debt and credit in an easily accessible and readily understandable way.
Stewart Pelto