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Vacation Dollars and Sense: 10 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling

June 5, 2024

By Derek Nolan, Rivers Edge Bank, June 2024

Summer vacation season is here!  While we might want to just focus on road trip snacks, the best restaurant hot spots, or the greatest place for a photo op, we still need to keep in mind how to keep ourselves financially protected while traveling.  Just like reviewing the top places to visit when scoping out your destination, here is a top 10 list of ways to keep you and your money safe while out on vacation:

1. Notify Your Bank of Your Travels

Before you leave on your trip, make sure to reach out to your bank to let them know you will be gone.  They will then give you the process of how to receive fraud notifications and can also update their system with expected travel dates.

2. Download the Mobile Banking App

When you are on the go, the last thing you want to have to do is find a computer or call into the bank for balance and transaction inquiries.  Having the app on your phone allows you to track your account 24/7, wherever you are.  You can also make transfers in case the vacation may go a little over budget. ?

3. Create Account Alerts

In the mobile app, you can set up account alerts that let you know when certain transactions come through on your account.  When you are on vacation, it is easy to forget some of the routine practices you have for managing your money so your alerts can help you stay on track.  It also will help you detect any fraudulent activity as soon as possible. 

4. Avoid Public or Unsecured Wi-Fi

Any Wi-Fi that is not secured by a password is open for anyone and everyone to access the same information you are accessing.  It provides a direct way to access your device and track your activity.  Even be aware of networks that are password-protected, but anyone can get the password.  Hotels are a perfect example.  If everyone in the hotel uses the same password for the same network, you might as well just go the room next to you and show your neighbor what you are accessing.  Always remain on your cell phone data plan if possible. 

5. Share Your Adventures… When You Return!

It is so tempting to post the perfect beach or mountain sunrise pic to your social media accounts as soon as it happens, but that comes with some major risks.  Not only does it let bad actors know you are not home to monitor your house, but it also provides ample opportunities for social engineering scams.  Knowing you are on vacation allows a scammer to customize their attack on you to make it seem as real as possible.

6. Be on Alert for Scammers

Speaking of social engineering, always be on the lookout for things that do not seem quite right.  There are always plenty of ways scammers can take advantage of situations.  Just because you are on vacation does not mean you should take a break from having your guard up. 

7. Be Selective of ATM Usage

It is recommended to only use ATMs at banks that are well-lit and under constant monitoring.  Using random ATMs in obscure places can increase the risk of skimming devices or unwanted video surveillance.  Also, always check for card skimmers on ATMs and gas pumps by giving the card reader a slight tug before using it.

8. Consider Using Pre-Paid Travel Cards

Travels cards are available to load money onto them and then can be used just like a debit card.  The benefit with these is that if the card number is compromised or the card is lost/stolen, you are not left without access to your funds and your account is still safe.  These are especially helpful when traveling internationally.  They can help protect your funds while abroad and may be more likely to be accepted than your debit card. 

9. Keep Your ID Separate from Your Wallet

It is easier than a person realizes to lose or misplace your wallet while traveling.  While it may be inconvenient to lose your debit and/or credit cards, it can amplify the issues if you lose your ID as well.  Pick pocketers are a risk as well.  Consider keeping your ID in a safe place on your person either in front of you or in a lanyard underneath your clothing. 

10. Report Lost or Stolen Cards Immediately

If you do happen to lose our debit/credit/travel card(s), please notify your bank right away.  Even if the bank is not open, there will be an after-hours number you can call to report your lost or stolen cards.  This will help reduce any losses that may occur and remediation efforts can start right away. 


Vacation brings a lot of fun with it: new places to experience, new flavors to try, and new memories to create with loved ones.  Having your money stolen while on your trip though can bring all of this to a halt.  It may take a little bit of planning and extra work to protect yourself, but it is worth it in the end.  If you have some travel plans and have questions on how to best protect yourself, feel free to reach out to any one of our bank locations.  We would love to be able to help in any way we can!

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