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Travel Tips

Check back often as we update this page with the latest helpful tips for travelers.
Newest Scam: Someone calls your hotel room in the middle of the night, waking you. The person says he's with the hotel management and needs to verify your credit card, because the imprint taken upon check-in is blurry. They simply need to review the number. Because you are half asleep, you give out the number. Of course, that's all the scam artist needs - when you receive your monthly statement, you notice a string of strange charges.

Solution: Call your credit card issuer immediately. Notify them at once that you'll be responsible for just $50.

Better Solution: Never give out your credit card number unless you're fully alert--and even then, with discretion.

Tips and suggestions for travel abroad:

  • Purchase as much of your trip as possible before leaving the U.S. Look for hotels and packages that will guarantee their rates in U.S. dollars.
  • Rent your car in the U.S. Rates are significantly lower.
  • Deposit money in your bank or credit union if you have a debit card, check to see if you have too many digits in your PIN number. Many foreign ATMs do not accept more than four digits, get a telephone number to call for lost or stolen debit cards.
  • Pay down credit card balances to make absolutely certain you'll have enough credit while you're away. It's also a good idea to take two different types of credit cards as well as tavelers che cks.
  • Get enough foreign currency to pay for a taxi from the airport to your hotel, and to get you through the first day or until the ATMs or banks open, so you can get a favorable exchange rate.
  • Eat where locals eat; hotel dining is typically the most expensive choice.
  • Make breakfast and/or lunch your main meal as often as is enjoyable...they're up to 50% less pricey than dinner.
  • File for your VAT (Value Added Tax) refund. Ask for forms when shopping and keep all purchase receipts. In some countries VAT is as high as 24%.
When there's no convenient sink: carry a product called "PURELL." It is a hand sanitizer for traveling that's effective against disease-causing germs and doesn't require water or towels. Just rub a drop on your hands and in seconds they are bacteria free and clean.

Emergency discount: often you can get a hotel "emergency" rate if you're visiting someone in a nearby hospital or if you're held up because of flood, earthquake, really severe snowstorms, etc. It always pays to ask!

It's a good idea to take two types of credit cards as well as travelers checks. Not all cards are accepted at all restaurants, hotels, car rentals, or shops.

Get an ATM locator or travel directory from your credit card issuer, listing exactly where ATM machines are located in foreign countries you're visiting.

Purchase several pre-paid telephone calling cards. They are the simplest and cheapest way to call home.

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