You’re patiently waiting in line to pay for “pasalubong” at a souvenir shop in Barcelona when you realize that someone’s trying to reach for your wallet. What do you do?
Unfortunately, this type of crime can happen anywhere, especially in famous tourist spots. From shopping for various knickknacks to taking photos in popular attractions, tourists are often unaware of their surroundings, making it easier for pickpockets to target them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to safeguard your credit card when traveling to a foreign country. Have your pen and paper ready for these tips:
Let your credit card provider know you’re traveling
This one’s a no brainer. If you’re planning to bring your credit card outside the country, call your bank to let them know that you’re going to use it abroad. Give them specific details such as the country you’re visiting and how long you intend to stay there.
Tip: When telling your bank your length of stay, add a few days as a buffer for when you need to make new travel arrangements.
Ensure that you know how to get in touch with your bank in case your credit card gets lost or stolen. While not all toll-free numbers work overseas, you can check if they have other contact details you can refer to. Type in the numbers on your phone and bring it along with your other travel documents.
Avoid bringing more than 2 credit cards
The ideal number of credit cards to carry while traveling is two, and not more than that. If you lose a card, then the other one can serve as your backup. Ensure that your cards are accepted internationally like Mastercard, Visa, or American Express.
Remember to take photos of the front and back of your cards for emergency purposes.
You can also download your bank’s app of your bank to your smartphone so you always have your card details with you—as long as there’s an Internet connection. Bear in mind, though, that public Wi-Fi can make you vulnerable to losing personal information including your credit card details.
Don’t put your cards in one wallet or bag
It’s a good idea not to place all your eggs in one basket. If you’re traveling with a friend or a family member, you can split the cards by putting them in separate but secured pockets or bags.
When you carry bags, keep them close to your body. The zippers should always be closed so that no one can just reach in to snatch your cards. Never put your wallets in the back pockets of your pants because thieves can pull it out without you knowing it.
Bring extra cash
There are establishments that don’t have credit card facilities so it’s best to bring some cash to pay for your transportation from the airport to the hotel and other immediate expenses.
Do you need to have your Philippine pesos exchanged with US dollars? Only approach legitimate money changers at malls or go directly to the nearest bank. You have to do this at least a week before you fly, though. Banks may require you to present travel documents like your itinerary and passport.
Some countries don’t convert Philippine pesos to the local currency so you have to be ready with foreign currency for hassle-free transactions.
Stay alert and outsmart pickpockets
Whether you’re at a café or boutique, always keep your things on your lap or anywhere near you. Avoid leaving your bag at your feet and get into the habit of checking your stuff before exiting a place.
No matter what the brand is, don’t show off your wallet while at the counter because a pickpocket might be standing behind you, waiting for the perfect moment to snag your valuables.
As long as you take these precautionary steps, you’ll definitely have a trip worth remembering. Still don’t have a credit card to use for your upcoming out-of-the-country vacation? Compare different cards via GoBear to see which card fits your needs.