Empower Blog

May 27, 2021

Tips for Staying Financially Safe on Summer Vacation

Money-Saving Tips
With Memorial Day just around the corner, I am so happy to say that summer is finally here – and it is looking like this is going to be one for the books compared to Summer 2020! As we burst into the summer months with vaccinations on the rise and restrictions being loosened, many families are probably itching to get out of the house and head out on their summer vacation adventures.

While traveling, it is important to keep your financial account information and money safe from possible scams or outright theft. Unfortunately, many scam artists target tourists and travelers, so be sure to follow these tips while on the road!

Stick With Credit

When financing a trip, most families will discuss form of payment for food and incidentals ahead of time. The choice is typically between cash, credit, or debit card. I’m here to share that using credit cards is actually the safest way to protect your money while traveling for several reasons. If cash is stolen or misplaced, it’s gone for good. There’s no way to replace those funds, and your chances of recovering the cash are pretty slim. If your debit card is compromised that means your actual bank account was accessed, and money can be removed directly from your account. If your credit card is compromised, however, you have many more options. You can place a stop on the card and report fraudulent purchases directly to the card company. There are layers of protection against charges categorized as fraudulent, and you will be issued a new card. Whether you choose to use your debit or credit card, be sure to contact the issuing financial institution to add a travel notification. This will ensure they know it is you spending your money and will stop the card from being accidentally blocked by the card issuer thinking it is a fraudster!

Be Mindful in a Crowd

While a lot of account fraud happens through digital channels in this day in age, there are still the old-fashioned pickpockets out there to be aware of. If you are traveling somewhere and find yourself in a large crowd, be sure to keep an eye on your belongings and your purse or wallet close to the front of your body. You should also make sure you minimize the amount of cards and cash you are carrying in the event of a loss or theft. Never carry documentation like social security cards, passports, or birth certificates while out and about. If theft of these items occurs, it could easily escalate to identity theft – which is way harder to recover from. If you are required to bring these items with you to get to your destination, just leave these items in a hotel safe – you shouldn’t need them while out and about wherever you are.

Steer Clear of Tourist Traps

Depending on where you are traveling, there are certainly hot spots for fraud. We recommend that travelers avoid unfamiliar shops or kiosks, signing up for deals with street or airport vendors, random ATMs, or providing account information directly, either written or verbally. Research your stops ahead of time, create an itinerary, and stick to your plan!

The best practice we always recommend is to monitor your accounts thoroughly, as it’s much easier to identify any unauthorized transactions. Throughout your trip, and especially when you return home from your summer vacation, check your accounts to ensure everything adds up. Follow these steps and you are sure to have a worry-free vacation!
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About the Author
Professional Picture of Kat Hnatyshyn
Kat Hnatyshyn

Branch Manager

Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. When not blogging or caring for her little ones, Kat is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union.