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Financial Checklist for Traveling Abroad

So you’re vacationing outside the U.S. soon – sounds exciting! But whether the destination is Paris or Peru, Ireland or Israel, Canada or the Caribbean, there are certain steps you should take to safeguard your finances and make the most of your money.  

Travel websites and apps have made it easy to get great deals on transportation, lodging and sight-seeing worldwide. But your international vacation planning isn’t finished the instant that last reservation is made. In the digital age, it’s become even more important to create an international travel checklist. After all, nothing will put a damper on that dream trip more quickly than a debit card crisis in Cairo.

The good news is Dominion Energy Credit Union’s travel abroad tips can help you avoid stressful situations. Here are some key items for your financial travel checklist:

Travel Plan Notification 

Fraud prevention is important to Dominion Energy Credit Union. So before heading to the airport or cruise ship terminal, let us know what countries you’ll be visiting and what dates you’ll be traveling. This way, we won’t be worried when we see debit card charges for mountain climbing gear in St. Moritz or museum tickets in Morocco. Without prior travel notification, your account might be frozen because of what seems like suspicious spending in a foreign country.
Bonus tip: Take the same pre-trip notification steps for your credit card. Our Card Control App helps you place travel notes and lock/unlock your debit and credit cards on the go anytime, day or night. Be sure to download this helpful secondary app before you go.

Sign Up Online

Before you leave, make sure you’re signed up for our free online and mobile banking services. When you’re away, you can view account information via smartphone, tablet, or hotel computer. That will allow you to transfer money between accounts as needed and check to see that all listed withdrawals are legitimate. 

Bonus tip: Because you won’t be logging in to your account from your home computer or a known mobile location, you’ll probably need to answer online banking security questions to access your account. Make sure you know the right answers before leaving home.

Know Your Limits

It’s important to understand if there are any daily spending limits on your debit card. If you unexpectedly exceed your limit, you might miss out on those Mayan blouses in Mexico or religious artifacts in Rome.
Bonus tip: We can temporarily raise your daily spending limits for special purposes, such as vacations. Ask about this possibility before you leave home.

Get Those Numbers

Sure, you know your PIN by heart. But be sure you make note of the member service phone number for Dominion Energy Credit Union, so you can call in an emergency: 1-800-268-6928. While you’re at it, make note of the equivalent number for your credit card companies.

Bonus tip: Before embarking, ask your cell service provider about international calling rates. There are many tales of travelers who forgot to switch their service and return home to find thousand-dollar phone bills. Major carriers offer modestly priced international calling plans. You can also buy contract-free phones that offer fair rates for international calls. 

Give Yourself Options

You may be planning to lean heavily on a credit card that offers rewards for frequent use. But experts say travelers should carry a variety of payment methods, including cash, a debit card and at least two different credit cards. After all, you never know when a magnetic strip will wear out in Warsaw, or when a pub in Perth won’t accept a particular card.

Bonus tip: Make sure you pack the credit card you used to book reservations, even if you don’t plan to use it to make payments. By checking the card number, businesses can verify your identity and cut down on fraud.

Change Money Wisely

It’s tempting to sprint to the currency exchange booth at the airport to get those euros, pesos or yen. But that’s a recipe for rip-off. Check with The Federal Reserve first for the best exchange rates. If we don’t offer what you need, use overseas ATMs connected to a reputable bank, credit card company or global network, such as PLUS, Cirrus, Maestro or the ATM Global Alliance.

Bonus tip: When traveling, visit ATMs located inside or just outside of banks. ATMs in cafés and town squares are more likely to be targeted by thieves who use surveillance cameras to capture data that’s later used to empty accounts.

Bon Voyage

All of us at Dominion Energy Credit Union hope your trip goes off without a hitch. But, should you run into any issues, we are always here to help by contacting us.