Happy and Safe Trails for Your Credit Cards

According to a Federal Reserve Bank of Boston survey, the average American has at least 3 credit cards tucked in their wallet.  Take those cards along with you on a long weekend getaway, a weeklong tropical vacation, or an extended trip, and those credit cards turn into three opportunities for an identity thief to cause you a lot of headaches.

A consumer’s “vacation wallet” should have only the basic items; auto and health insurance cards, driver license and a debit/credit card since that replaces the need to carry cash or your check book. There’s no reason to tote any store credit cards, discount cards, etc. Those only increase exposure to identity theft (and headaches) should your wallet fall into the wrong hands.

Additionally one or two (at the most) bank credit cards should join you on vacation and business trips, too. You want to bring two in case there’s a problem with one card, you’ll have a back-up.

There are a few tricks to keep your wallet and credit cards safe on vacation. Read on to learn how your credit cards can stay a happy and safe on the road.

Trick pickpockets

Whether you’re at a restaurant, rest stop or local attraction, rifling through cash and credit cards (either in your wallet or in a bundle you retrieve from your pocket) gives potential ID thieves a glimpse into your life. Instead, break up the contents of your wallet.

Carry a bank credit card in a front pocket and your debit/credit card in your wallet so you only have to retrieve the specific method of payment you want at the register.

Split up

If you’re traveling with your spouse or partner, divide and conquer your forms of payment. Instead of one of you carrying all the plastic, mix things up and tuck half the plastic in each of your wallets or pockets. That way in case one of you loses your wallet and you need to cancel a card, the other person has a card from a different account.

Lock them up

Don’t feel like lugging your wallet or credit card to the amusement park, casino or museum? Don’t look to your luggage or hotel room as safe harbor. While it’s tempting to be lulled by the ease of stuffing your plastic on the bottom of your luggage, remember various hotel workers have access to your room. That’s why it’s wise to keep credit cards out of plain sight by stashing them in the hotel room’s safe (or the safe at the front desk) which an unscrupulous maid can’t access.