Travelling abroad?

June 30, 2017

A security checklist for your international vacation
You have already booked your suite, checked the menus at top-ranked restaurants and reserved your flights. But have you checked “financial security” off your summer getaway to-do list?
Excited travelers often overlook this simple yet important task. But should their wallets, purses or passports be stolen, tourists to foreign lands may waste valuable time securing bank accounts and waiting for replacement tickets, passports and credit cards to arrive before resuming plans – not to mention risk having memories of the trip spoiled by the experience.
Before you leave home, here are recommended steps to help secure your finances, according to Briane Grey, head of security at City National Bank which recently joined the RBC family of companies.
• Notify your bank and credit card providers that you will be out of the country; store their helpline phone numbers so you can quickly close accounts if necessary.
• Pay bills before you go to avoid transmitting sensitive data over unsecured networks.
• Leave excess cash and unnecessary credit cards and ID cards at home.
• Bring one credit card equipped with an RFID security chip; many overseas retailers do not require you to input a PIN.
Know the risks and scams
Do not wear designer watches and expensive jewelry, or carry your Prada bag, while you are touring the city or taking in a museum. Americans already stand out to crooks who scour train stations and tourist sites looking for wealthy travelers who may make easy crime victims.
And be wary about your valuables even while they are in your room. A common scam involves visitors claiming to be “room inspectors.” While one distracts you at the door, the other enters your room and takes cash or jewelry you have left on a nightstand or in an open room safe. Never let people into your room if you were not expecting them, and lock your valuables in a safe-deposit box at the hotel desk rather than using the not-so-secure safe in the room.
While taking in the sights, be aware of your surroundings. Perennial scams, such as picking pockets and overcharging people unfamiliar with local currencies, still rip off many travelers every year.
Here are some additional tips:
• Avoid connecting to Wi-Fi, especially if it is public; activate your phone’s global capabilities before you leave, and use your connection.
• Protect your phone and other mobile devices with passwords so thieves cannot access your data.
• Make copies of your passports, driver’s licenses, health insurance cards and tickets, and store them separately from your wallet.
• Leave a copy of a detailed itinerary with a friend or relative so they can reach you in an emergency.
Going someplace exotic is exciting. Following these commonsense steps will help ensure that you do not lose your shirt while you are having the adventure of a lifetime.

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