Preventing 3rd Degree Financial Burn: Keeping your finances safe when you travel

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Wondering if you closed the garage, if your instructions for pet care were well-detailed or if you packed enough sunscreen? These are just a few items on your mental checklist as you head toward your vacation destination. While these are all important, many people leave their financial safety off that check list. Everyone knows it’s wise to keep an eye on your credit card charges while you’re away, but are there other things you could be doing to ensure your financial identity is protected while you travel? Absolutely, and here are five tips to consider before you’ve packed yourself and the kids into the car.

Keep your cards close, and your passport even closer

While traveling to your destination, keep your credit cards and all personal identification on you or in a carry-on. In case your luggage is lost, you’ll still have these items with you at all times instead of wondering where they’ve ended up. If you’re traveling internationally, keep your passport with you as this is the most important document to have with you while traveling. Your passport is your identity, so keep it close while in transit, and keep it stowed away in a secure place when you arrive at your destination.

Secure your smartphone

Along with your credit cards and IDs, keep your smartphone locked and with you, or with someone you trust, at all times. Leaving it out by the pool while you grab a drink runs the risk of damage, theft and loss of personal information. Keep it stowed away in a bag or somewhere visible to you at all times. If you want a device-free day, put it in your room’s safe.

Use cash

Bring some US dollars with you and exchange them for the local currency. This way you won’t have to use your card and risk the potential of fraud or losing it. An added bonus of using cash only is that you won’t be tempted to run up a large credit card bill. Once you’re out of cash for the day, that’s it.

Be careful with free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi sounds enticing, especially when you’re on a cell phone plan that doesn’t include unlimited data, but beware of these free hot spots. Free Wi-Fi isn’t always secure, so data hackers could use this as an opportunity to collect sensitive information you have stored on your device. Save the data usage for your hotel where the network is more secure or consider a temporary data plan for your international travels.

Protect your mail

While you’re soaking up some afternoon sun, someone could be soaking up and misusing your financial information. Thieves may raid your mailbox for financial statements, bills and other personal information. Before your trip, either place a hold on your mail delivery or ask a close friend/neighbor to collect your mail while you’re away. This way your personal information won’t be stolen. Better yet, go paperless ahead of your trip to reduce the amount of sensitive information being sent to your mailbox.

As you’re checking off all of the boxes on your packing list, be sure financial safety is a top priority. By securing your personal information, you’ll avoid a financial nightmare while you enjoy your getaway.

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