Travelling takes you out of your comfort zone and into a world of exciting new possibilities. That unfamiliarity should be cause for celebration, not alarm, so to put your mind at ease on your travels abroad, follow these top tips to ensure smooth sailing.
For convenience and safety, currency cards are the best way to deal with finances abroad. If you need to repeatedly change between currencies you can get a multiple currency card, which will help you to save on conversion fees and avoid using your bank card abroad. Be cautious when approaching ATMs, checking for signs of interference. In some destinations, you may wish to ask a local business partner or hotel staff for a recommended safe cash point.
It's good sense to split your cash into several bundles and store each one separately. The same applies for your credit and currency cards. Start as you mean to go on by having some cash in your hand luggage and some in your suitcase, then once you've arrived in your destination, find suitable storage places around your apartment or hotel room. This will mitigate the impact of losing one wallet and ensure that you always have emergency cash. Before you set out, go through your main wallet and remove anything you won't need on your trip.
While you may already be in the habit of carefully zipping away your purse or wallet, it's particularly important in a foreign country. Don't leave anything valuable on a table-top in a restaurant, and ensure you have visibility of your bag at all times. You may wish to consider purchasing a body wallet, which clips unobtrusively around your waist and under your clothes, cutting off pickpockets' access.
Scan your documents
Take photocopies of your passport, driver's licence and other important documents and keep them safely stored away in a separate location from the originals. If you're confident in the security of your email server, you may also wish to email scanned files so that you can download them if necessary.
Know the authorities
In addition to noting the location of your national embassy, it's worth writing down the contact details of the local police force. Some places have a designated branch of the police dedicated to tourists. If you feel you've been the victim of a scam, it's always worth reporting it, as even if the police cannot return your money, it may help them to prevent future occurrences.
Protect your data
Although it is natural to want to check up on emails and social media, don't log onto the first wi-fi network you find. It's surprisingly easy for a hacker to set up a fake wireless point and try to obtain your details. Make use of your phone's encryption options to keep your data safe, switch off your Bluetooth, and pay close attention to any warnings generated by your phone's security software. If possible, wait until you're certain you're in reach of a genuine connection.
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