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The One Critical Thing You Must Do Before International Travel

Most people get excited about International Travel.  It doesn’t matter where you are going Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean or Europe, Japan or Australia.  You will make sure you have your clothes, your shoes, sunblock, and jewelry.  You double check your travel documents and your passport.  You tell the Job, Family, and Friends and it is not until you get to your destination that you realize you never told maybe the most important people of all that you were leaving the Country.  Your Bank and Credit Card Company!


Travel Notification

This can be a real problem.  People usually have prepaid for the plane ticket or cruise ticket.  That may have been done 2 months before or up to a year ahead of the trip. Today many International Hotels and Resorts are prepaid.  If you purchased a vacation package your transfer from the airport to the hotel may have been prepaid.  It is not until you make a purchase.  No matter how small or large. The Bank or Credit Card company is aware you are traveling and outside the Country.  In most cases, your first purchase will go through.  However, that usually sets off the Fraud Alert on your Credit or Debit Card.  That sets into motion a flurry of activities were the end result is your card is shut down.  No further purchases can be made.  They will attempt to contact you.  Commonly by phone, text or email, but remember you are in a Foreign Country and your phone may not work or may not be on.  Until they hear from you the Bank or Credit Card Company will assume it is fraud and will freeze your account.  This is why it is important to put a “Travel Notification” on your Card or Accounts.  It is easy and takes about 5 minutes and 3 easy steps.

Steps for Setting up a Travel Notification:
  • Step 1:  Look over your travel plans and know your dates of travel.  You need to tell them the Country you will be traveling to (Not the City) and the date you will be there.  This is really important if you are on a Cruise and traveling to multiple locations.
  • Step 2:  Look on the back of your Credit or Debit Card and call the number.  Follow the prompts because each company is different.  Ask to speak with a Representative.
  • Step 3:  Tell them you will be traveling out of the Country and you want to put a “Travel Notification” on your card.  Each company has a different process, however, in general, you will need to either have the card handy or know the information.  They will need to know the card number, expiration and security code on the back.  Some companies use an automated system others may not.
  • Note: You will want to repeat this process on any other card you want to use or may think you want to use.  This includes your emergency card.

If your card does get shut down while you are overseas.  Look on the back of your card and locate the International Phone Number.  Call them and they should be able to take care of it right away.  You may need to go to the front desk at your hotel or resort to use the phone.  You may be able to go online and log into your Bank or Credit Card Companies website.  From there, you should be able to contact them or respond to a Fraud Alert.  One word of caution; many WiFi spots are not secured and anyone on the network can gain your password and bank information.  With access to this information, they can steal your money, identity or even open new credit accounts.  So please be aware.  I recommend calling the International number if you can gain access to a phone.  Preferably an old fashioned land line.

You can avoid all of that hassle by putting on the “Travel Notification” on your cards.  It allows you to use the Credit or Debit Card(s) in each Country you informed them about, on the date you are there.  It also prevents your card from being used in those Counties after you have left the Country.  The Bank and Credit Card Companies will block any use of the card after the day or days you were in the Country.  If they let the charges through, you will not be responsible for the unauthorized purchase.  Even if you don’t think you are planning to use a Credit Card or Debit Card I still recommend that you put a “Travel Notice” on at least 1 Card in case of an emergency.

Everyone should get excited about International Travel.  It doesn’t matter where you are going.  You will make sure you have everything you need for your trip.  Take 5 minutes to put a “Travel Notice” on your Card or Accounts.  It will save you time, anxiety and frustration and allow you peace of mind.  Enjoy your vacation!

Read  How to use USPS Mail Hold – related article


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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 34 different Countries mainly concentrated in Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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