Traveling provides endless amounts of fun and new experiences. However, except for if you get lucky, you’re unlikely to be traveling for free. It costs money, even if you’re able to enjoy your travels on a shoestring budget. Since you’re spending your hard-earned cash on your trip, you don’t want to end up losing any more money than is strictly necessary. That’s why it’s important to take steps to protect your money so that you don’t end up overspending or even victim to a crime. Before you go on your next trip, there are a few ways you could prepare, so you know your money is safe.
Don’t Get Ripped Off on Exchange Rates
Most of the time, going to another country means having to use the local currency. There are some places where you can use US dollars, but there are many more where you can’t. Exchanging your money is always tricky business because you want to get the best deal, but exchange rates change all the time. It’s annoying to exchange your money and then see that you could have got a much better deal a week later. You’ll also get different rates at different places. The one thing you absolutely shouldn’t do is wait until you get to the airport. You’ll get a terrible price. In addition to exchange rates, remember to consider any fees you might have to pay because that will cost you extra.
Tell Your Bank About Your Plans
When you’re in a foreign country, or even just halfway across your own country, the last thing you want is to be left without money. If you want to use your cards at all while you’re away, you could be in danger of having them frozen due to “suspicious activity”. If your bank or credit card provider thinks you’re in New York and they can see someone using your card in Paris, they might freeze your card as a precaution, just in case someone has stolen it. While getting it unfrozen can be as simple as calling them up, this can often be a little tricky when you’re away from home. Many banks and card providers make it easy for you to tell them when you’re going to be away and where you’re going so they won’t freeze your card.
Take Care of Your Cards
Taking at least one card with you when you travel is a good idea. You need to be able to access funds apart from any money or traveler’s checks you might take with you. However, you should avoid taking too many cards and make sure you protect the cards you do take with you. If you take any cards with contactless function, you might want to consider using an RFID-blocking wallet. On the other hand, some say that this type of crime is so rare as to not be worth protecting against. Another way to take care of your cards is to avoid keeping them all in the same place. Put them in your hotel safe if you’re not using them and split them between your person and bags when you carry them.
It’s also important to remember to use your cards safely. If you’re going to use your card at an ATM, you need to be careful. Apart from having to pay fees to take cash out, ATMs are easy to tamper with. Try to only use an ATM at a bank or other official location and watch out for signs that someone may have done something to the machine. If you use your card in card terminals at restaurants or in shops, exercise caution there too. Don’t let your card out of your sight or it could be carried away and copied.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Having to pay for unexpected expenses is another risk to your money while you’re traveling. Medical costs are one thing you could find yourself having to pay for without planning for it. And if you get ill or injured abroad, you could end up paying a lot of money. If you want to make sure you’re safe, check your medical insurance and travel insurance, so you don’t end up paying out of pocket. Even your Medicare can be extended with a supplement plan, so it covers emergencies while you’re out of the country. Find out more from GoMedigap to find out if there’s a plan that could work out for you. In addition to medical expenses, make sure you take out an insurance policy that will cover any loss or theft of your money or possessions.
Blend in with the Locals
One of the worst things you can do if you want to protect your money while traveling is to stick out too much. If you look like a tourist, you’re more likely to be targeted not just by criminals but by anyone who thinks you’ll be easy to take advantage of. Take notes on blending in with the locals if you want to look less vulnerable to exploitation. For example, local people are unlikely to be wearing an awkward money belt. They’re probably not wandering around with a huge camera around their neck, nor are they shouting loudly in English.
Know What to Do If Your Wallet Is Lost or Stolen
There’s always a risk of losing your wallet or having it stolen, no matter where you are in the world. But if it happens while you’re traveling, it can make it more difficult to get yourself sorted out. Just as you would at home, the first thing you should do is cancel your cards. Keeping another card elsewhere will come in handy in this situation because you’ll have easy access to other funds. You should contact the police too, although you might want to go to the nearest consulate or embassy first so they can help you out. If you need access to more cash, you might be able to go to a bank and take some out with ID using the counter service. Or you could get someone to wire you some money.
Look after your money while you’re traveling so you can protect yourself. You don’t want to end up losing money or even unable to get home.