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July 15th, 2014 |
By Jenn Montague, SVP, Regional Sales Manager
Later this month, I will embark on my first European adventure. My sister and I had committed to each other that we would do this before we reached “a certain age.” Over the course of the last year, we have been planning our itinerary for the three cities we will be visiting: Paris, Venice, and Rome. Through our research, we found tips on how to plan our day in regards to spending, how to store cash and payment cards when not in use, and high threat pick pocketing areas for tourists. As a professional in the Banking & Financial Services industry, I was very pleased that the travel guide reference we elected to use for each city spent time discussing these topics.
Prior to departure, you should prepare by contacting your bank regarding use of your debit card to include the countries/cities and the duration in each. The bank representative will place comments on your card file to ensure your card will continue to function without interruption. You should retain the contact information, separate from your card, for your bank in case your card is lost or stolen. Your bank should be contacted immediately if either event occurs. Good card use also includes having your PIN memorized and not having your PIN written on your card. As an extra level of security, your PIN should never match any of your identifying numbers such as your Social Security Number or year of birth.
Consider your trip a good reason to clean out your wallet. Leave any department store credit cards, discount cards, etc. at home. Take what you need – your debit card and major credit cards. Also, contact the bank associated with any debit or credit cards you plan on taking. While in contact with your bank, confirm your withdrawal limit and correlate this to the foreign currency amount. Since I am traveling to Europe, I am focusing on the expected conversion of the Dollar to Euros. While the United States has not converted to a Chip and PIN card system, it is more widely used in Europe by merchants and restaurants. Knowing your ATM PIN to acquire cash can solve for this issue.
It is recommended that when traveling abroad, you invest in a money belt. The money belt is essential for storing additional cash, your debit and credit cards, your passport, and tickets or passes for planned activities. It is recommended that you carry only the day’s spending money in pockets. Become comfortable with the belt and incorporate the use of it in your travels as soon as you arrive at your destination. When you are moving through the airport or riding a train with luggage, your ‘tourist’ status is clear to all. Another option for the security of prepaid passes, travel tickets, or excess cards and cash is the use of a hotel safe.
I hope your travels this summer are enjoyable and worry free – Ciao!