1. Keep cash to a minimum
Many people prefer to pay with cash when on holiday as they feel this helps control their spending. Whilst this may be true, walking around with a lot of cash is leaving yourself vulnerable to theft. Try to use credit cards for larger payments such as hotel bills, car hire and restaurant bills, leaving a small amount of cash available for the daily incidentals.
Always carry two different credit cards in separate places, in case one gets lost, stolen or declined, and check that these are accepted in your holiday destination. If your credit card gets stolen the provider will refund fraudulent purchases, but if someone steals your cash then it is gone forever. Please check the charges that may be levied by your card provider when used abroad and always pay your bills in the local currency, this will be cheaper than converting to your home currency.
2. Record your account and customer service numbers
If your credit or debit cards are stolen then you will need to cancel the cards as soon as possible. It will be difficult to cancel these cards if the only place you can find the customer service number is on the back of the card itself. Record the key numbers and keep them in a safe place separate from your cards.
3. Use multiple locations to store your cash and cards
Don't keep all your eggs in one basket. Keep credit cards in separate locations, maybe you carry one card and your partner carries another. Also, if you are carrying cash split this into small amounts and keep these amounts in separate pockets or bags. Then if you do get robbed you can give the thief a small amount of money without losing everything. Also it's good practice to keep some small denomination notes in a specific pocket. That way if you need to tip someone you can a pull out a dollar bill, for example, quickly rather than pull out a wad of high denomination notes and be fanning through them in public. You just don't know who is watching you.
4. Avoid cash machines in secluded or rundown areas
If you need to use a cash machine try to use a machine in a busy area during daylight hours. If possible get your partner or travelling companion to accompany you to the cash machine. Although they may charge a fee a cash machine located on your hotel would be the safest option.
5. Don't 'flash your cash"
Always be discreet when taking cash out of your pocket or wallet as this the time when you are most vulnerable. It would be advisable to plan your likely spending for the day prior to setting out and take only what you need for the day.
6. Keep cash or cards in a money belt or zipped pocket
It's amazing how many men keep there wallets poking out of their back pocket, or how many women keep everything in their handbag loosely hung over their shoulder. Carry your cash and cards either in a money belt, which can be hidden under clothing, or in a zipped pocket. Keeping your valuables secure and out of sight will save you from a potential theft or loss.
7. Use passwords on all your devices
When we go on holiday we take with us devices such as laptops, tablets & smartphones. These devices contain all types of personal information which is a goldmine to any thief. Make sure you have passwords on all these devices and programme them to auto-lock after a couple of minutes inactivity. Also a number of devices such as iPhones and iPads have a function whereby all personal data is erased should someone eneter the password incorrectly 10 times in a row. So this can protect your personal data in the event of you losing your device or having it stolen. But if you do activate this feature then make sure you children don't inadvertently play with your phone.
(image by Graeme Weatherston / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)