Never have all of your credit cards on you on at once

Nowadays, anyone with a pulse has a mailbox stuffed with credit card offers. Take advantage some of these and sign up for a card with no annual fee and some sort of incentive (airline miles, cash back, etc., but personal experience requires me to advise you against Capital One-Sorry Alec). When you book your flights and hotels, you will need a credit card, so you might as well get one that offers some sort of reward.

When you travel, bring at least two cards with you. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted abroad, as is Diners Club (for real), but Discover is not. I rarely write checks at home (notable exceptions: Wisconsin DOT for license plate renewal and the Madison rec department for badminton), so I do not bring traveller’s cheques on vacation. They seem like a hassle and most places take a credit card and all places take cash. Keep them in two separate places, so should one get lost or stolen, you are not totally screwed. Leave one in the safe in your hotel and if there isn’t a safe, bury it in your luggage with your extra cash.

Purses can be snatched and pockets can be picked, so when carrying your wallet and passport with you, put them in an inside pocket of a jacket or front pocket of your pants. Rick Steves recommends a money belt, but I just can’t bring myself to dig around inside my pants for some cash if I want to buy a Coke. Be wary of anyone getting too close you on public transportation and always assume that any diversion you see is meant to separate you from your valuables.

Know Before You Go

Credit cards take time to get, so apply for one early to ensure it gets to you in time.

Bottom Line

Bring at least two credit cards on your trip and keep them in separate places

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