Lighten Your Wallet
Now is a great time to clean out your wallet to remove unnecessary clutter and reduce the number of credit and debit cards you carry. Determine ahead of time what cards you plan to use or keep handy for an emergency while traveling and store the rest in a secure location at home. In the event of theft, this will limit the number of cards and balances that are compromised.
If you’re carrying cash, don’t keep it all in one place. Consider separating some into a secret stash in case of theft or emergency, such as a hidden compartment or the hotel room’s safe. Only take with you what you need for the day’s excursion.
Use your phone's digital wallet feature to make purchases without having to take your cards out of your wallet. Load your debit and credit card numbers into your digital wallet and tap to pay. This option is not available at all businesses, so make sure to have another form of payment handy.
Important Numbers and Documents
If there are documents you may need to access in case of emergency while travelling, keep a copy in secure cloud storage or with trusted, close family or friends.
Before leaving, ensure that you have a PIN for each card you take with you – even your credit cards. If you use your credit card at an ATM, a PIN will be required, and when traveling overseas, some businesses may require it to do a transaction.
Make a list of all of the important numbers you may need in case of emergency. This includes:
- Financial Institution numbers for accounts and cards
- Emergency contact names and numbers
- Embassy contact number and address if travelling overseas
- Contact your cardholders to let them know when and where you are travelling. This will help ensure charges you make in a new location are not rejected.
Get a Door Stop Wedge
Consider purchasing a door stop wedge for added security when you are in your hotel room. They are an inexpensive, simple way to provide added security to help keep an intruder out of your room and away from your belongings while increasing your personal safety. While you are at it, consider getting a room away from the first floor as these rooms are easier to break into from the outside.
Check in With the Local Travel Center
Before arriving, call or email the local travel center to learn more about your destination. They can provide websites, maps, transportation costs/options, and tips that help make your stay more enjoyable. They know the safest places and times to visit local sites. They can also give you suggestions for the best local places to eat based on your budget.
Check in With the State Travel Department
Check the U.S. Department of State travel site when preparing for your trip. Here you can find information on renewing your passport, Visa requirements for different countries, trusted traveler programs, travel alerts, how to avoid scams, and other resource for preparing for trips. You can also register your trip through their traveler program for free. The “ Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.” (excerpt from the STEP website). Benefits include:
- Access to important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in the country you are travelling to
- Helps the Embassy contact you in an emergency situation
- Helps family get in touch with you in an emergency
Wait to Share Your Adventure
While it’s important for family or close friends to know where you are travelling and to keep them updated, consider waiting to share your travel adventures until you return home. Keep families apprised of your itinerary and let them know when to expect to hear from you throughout your trip. Save posting photos to social media or sharing with others about your travels until you are safely back home. This helps ensure that this information does not get into the hands of the wrong person who may take advantage of an empty house.
Following these tips will help you to have a more relaxing, stress-free trip. Safe travels!
MAX Credit Union is a full-service financial institution serving Central and East Alabama, including Montgomery, AL; Auburn, AL; Opelika, AL; Prattville, AL; Wetumpka, AL; and Troy, AL.