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Protect Your Money While Traveling Abroad

You want to protect your money while traveling — especially when you head overseas. There are steps you can take, such as being thoughtful of the type of environment where you will be staying and avoiding having large amounts of cash. Staying safe while traveling should be at the top of your plans.

Protect Your Money While Traveling AbroadProtecting your money while traveling is always a priority, but it’s especially important while you’re traveling abroad.

Taking a few simple precautions before your trip and during your travels can ensure a safe, enjoyable trip and can keep your money secure. Here’s how to keep your money safe while you’re traveling abroad:

Before you begin your trip

Make preparations with your credit card company.

Before you head out, there are certain things you need to know about using a credit card overseas to ensure you and your money are safe such as alerting them that you’ll be traveling and knowing any fees you’ll get abroad.

Pack smart.

When you’re packing, leave valuables and flashy jewelry at home. The U.S. Department of State recommends not dressing like an “affluent tourist,” as this can make you more susceptible to thieves and scams.

Know the place you’re traveling to.

Do research before you go to know which areas are more likely to have thefts. Avoid high-crime areas or common scams associated with the area. Here are three helpful ways to find out:

  • Start following the place you’re traveling to. Read the local newspaper, follow news updates on Twitter and look into other local news updates from the area.
  • Read as many reviews of the area as possible. You can find reviews on sites like TripAdvisor. Anyone who has traveled there is a good resource for information of where the safe areas are. Ask friends and family if they know of anyone who has traveled there. Also, reach out to travel bloggers or writers who have been there and may be more than happy to help.

While you’re traveling

Don’t keep your money in one place

If you have all of your money in cash in your bag, and your bag is stolen, it’s all gone. Instead, carry a combination of cash and a credit card or two. Have this cash and credit cards in multiple places. You can carry some in a bag and then some in a secret pocket in a suitcase or leave some in the hotel safe. If you’re traveling with someone, let each of you hold a portion of the money.

Avoid taking large amounts of cash

There are many points when you’ll need cash, but carrying a large amount with you is risky. Unlike a credit card, if your cash is lost or stolen, it’s gone forever. Plus, taking out a wad of cash to pay for something can make you a target for theft. Instead, keep the rest of your cash on a debit card you withdraw from, in the form of a traveler’s check, or back in a secure hotel safe.

Be careful with conversions

If you’re converting currency, airports will have higher fees. Instead, choose a bank or exchange booth with a better rate. Avoid any local who says they can help exchange your money for you, as it is very likely a scam. Also, be sure you’re aware of what the actual conversion is. Download the free Currency Converter app app so you know you’re getting the right rate back.

Store your money in a safe place

Purses are easy to snatch, a book bag could be opened while you’re not looking and a wallet stored in a back pocket can be easily targeted for a pickpocket. Instead, add safe money storage to your checklist for your international travel. A money belt is a common tool amongst backpackers and travel veterans. The belt wraps underneath your clothing around your waist. Or opt for a purse that goes across your body.

Protect your credit cards

When you’re using a debit or credit card, don’t let it out of your sight. Someone can copy the numbers of the card or double swipe it. When you’re entering a PIN number at an ATM, cover it so other people cannot see your code.

Keep yourself safe while keeping your money safe

The same precautions you should take for your own safety will also protect your money as well.

  • Avoid areas that are unsafe or where common thefts occur.
  • Avoid shortcuts like alley ways or other dangerous areas.
  • Travel with a partner.
  • Be extra cautious at night.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.

How do your protect your money while traveling abroad?

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Published or updated on May 8, 2013

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About Kristen Kuchar

Kristen Kuchar, author of Mac n' Cheese to the Rescue, is a food and travel writer working with numerous notable publications on both print and online. A firm believer that traveling and great food don't have to compromise finances, she's always finding great ways to save. She is currently living in Chicago with her husband Mark. You can follow her on Twitter @KristenKuchar.


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