So you've booked your summer holiday and are counting down the days, planning what to pack and how much spending money you'll need. There's always the nagging feeling you're forgetting a crucial item, but it's important to put your mind at ease about one of the most vital preparations - your safety.
With a significant rise in card fraud abroad through card cloning, make sure you are ultra cautious when using credit cards abroad.
Always get a receipt and keep it as evidence. If you are able to, check your transactions online, although there will be some countries where you won't be allowed to check your account in this way due to high levels of internet fraud.
Query any transactions that you don't recognise; they usually start with a very small transaction to test that the card works, so be vigilant and call your bank or credit card company immediately if you spot anything.
If you are paying by credit card make sure the person serving you completes the transaction in front of you; try not to let them walk away from sight with your card as they could copy the details and use them on another occasion.
Make sure you keep your provider's lost cards telephone number somewhere other than your wallet/purse so it doesn't disappear if your personal belongings do.
If you do discover fraudulent use of your card, don't panic - most credit card companies will refund any losses if this does happen to you.
Alternatively, don't take a credit or debit card - take a prepaid travel money card instead, as this way, there's no need to worry about fraudsters having access to all your hard-earned cash.
Make sure you don't carry huge wads of cash with you to the beach or on an evening out. Only take out what you think you'll need and leave the rest in your hotel safe.
Spread your money around, so if it does get stolen you won't lose it all.
If you are going to carry cash, hide it well. Keep some emergency cash in a money belt or purse/pouch on a string which sits under your clothes.
Pickpockets are rife in many holiday resorts, especially the smart places as they expect the clientele to be wealthy.
Try not to keep cash in the same place as your cards or other documentation.
Take a photocopy of all your important documents: credit and debit cards (front and back as this will have your provider's lost card number on it), passport, driver's licence (if you're taking it) and travel insurance policy.
Take a copy with you in your hand luggage and leave another copy with a family member or someone you trust at home (but remember, never leave any passwords or pin numbers).When you get to your hotel keep these in your safe if you have one.
That way, just in case the worst does happen, you won't panic that you can't remember your card details if and when you need to report the theft/loss.
If you do happen to lose your passport or it gets stolen, report it immediately to local police and go to the nearest British embassy as you'll need to get it reissued in order to travel home.
Wherever you're travelling to, you'll need some first-aid essentials. Many chemists close one day a week and early on Saturdays, even in Europe, so make sure to stock up before you go to get you through. You'll also find it's a lot cheaper at home in some of the budget shops and supermarkets. Here's a quick list of essentials you'll want to pack:
Learn something about the culture of the country you'll be visiting and what gestures such as eye contact, a handshake or smiling may mean – what's inoffensive to you could be the height of rudeness in a different culture, so make sure you're aware of any local customs.
Try not to attract unwanted attention and respect the local culture by wearing what the locals wear. For example, in India, it's frowned upon for women to show their legs, upper arms or any cleavage, and if you're going to visit any temples in Thailand it's important to wear shirts or blouses with sleeves and carry a sarong or wear a skirt. Also remember that you will have to take off your shoes.
PS, don't forget to get annual travel insurance.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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