Arrangements Prior to Departure
Welcome back to our three-part series of articles about minimizing international travel risks for monetary and identity problems – lost money or lack of access to funds, lost ID or passport, or lost time dealing with those problems.
In Part Two, we offer tips for the time leading up to your travel. Also, read Part One for early preparation measures and Part Three for tips for staying safe while traveling and steps for solving problems.
Pre-departure preparation reduces travel hassles.
Take these steps shortly before your departure date:
Keep valuable information safe and easily accessible.
Having important contact information, account numbers, expiration dates, and security codes safely recorded and accessible can make a big difference if your wallet is lost or stolen.
Scan or take photos of the front and back of all your credit/debit cards, passports, TSA Pre-Check and other traveler numbers, and insurance cards. Provide these photos to a trusted non-traveler in your circle who can be easily contacted.
Safeguard your accounts.
You may need to access financial information, make stop payment requests, and respond to fraud alerts. Record passwords for critical websites (such as password managers, email, and financial institutions) and carry them securely, separate from your phone.
To increase the ease of performing a financial transaction if your phone is lost or stolen, change two-factor authentication (2FA) codes for your banks and credit cards to your email address rather than your mobile phone number. If changing 2FA to an email address is not possible, then use the mobile number of a trusted non-traveler whom you can easily contact.
Protect your devices.
Ensure that you’ll have all your important information. And protect against anyone else being able to access your devices or hack your files.
Back up your phone, tablet, and laptop data and make sure you’re using passcodes and passwords on all your devices. Learn how to disable all your devices and even erase them should they be lost or stolen. And you might want to set up a free Skype account to make calls on a computer if you end up without your phone.
Consider setting up daily automatic cloud backup for your phone so your trip photos will be safe.
Know how to use your devices in other countries.
Seek out cost-effective plans for using your phone overseas. Enroll ahead of time, and don’t forget to purchase a SIM card if necessary.
Be credit card savvy.
We all assume we can get by with the plastic in our wallets or pay apps on our phones, but things don’t always go smoothly.
Minimize the risk that charges in other countries will be declined. Call credit card companies and banks to notify them when you’ll be away and where. Here’s a list of all credit card phone numbers. You might want to program yours into your phone before you leave.
If traveling with a family member, make sure that joint account credit cards’ numbers are different from each other, so you’ll have a usable card if one of them is lost or stolen.
Check on foreign transaction fees and travel benefits associated with your credit/debit cards. Find out which is the lowest-priced option. Also, know ahead of time how to get a replacement card overseas.
Make a list of auto-pay charges connected to your credit/debit cards. Having that information handy will make it easier to change payment sources for those accounts and bills if your credit/debit cards are lost, stolen, or canceled.
Have peace of mind knowing you’ve managed things back home.
Update and record your home security system notifications.
Check and/or update your alarm company’s authorized-user emergency call list. Remind your emergency contacts that they are on the list and refresh their understanding of procedures in case one of them must handle a problem at your home.
Eliminate signals that you are away.
To make your home appear occupied, stop delivery of mail and newspapers. Have deliveries of any recent and/or subscription online purchases delayed until after you return or redirected to a trusted neighbor’s address.
Keep eyes on your home.
To minimize the risk of theft, property damage, etc., inform trusted neighbors of your travel plans.
Ask someone to check your entryway regularly and pick up any packages that do show up, as well as doorhangers/flyers left there.
These precautions can help avoid travel stress and prevent potential issues for a more enjoyable trip. Safe travels!