Taking your wallet on vacation? Here’s how to keep it safe


Losing your wallet or having it stolen is a nuisance anytime, but when you’re on vacation, it can ruin the hope of a good trip, according to Chris McGoey, a security consultant who has traveled to more than 110 countries.

“People carry critical personal information like credit cards and a driver’s license in their wallet, and a lost or stolen one is a bigger headache and harder to recover from when you’re traveling,” he said.

But there are ways to minimize the damage from that missing wallet and keep your trip from going awry, and McGoey shared advice on how to do just that.

Know Your Wallet’s Contents

You know your wallet is important, but do you know what’s in it? In his training seminars, McGoey said that he has his attendees look inside their wallets and he finds that most are surprised at what they unearth.

“People have insurance cards, credit cards and other pieces of personal information they forgot they had, but if you don’t know what’s in your wallet, you can’t report it missing,” he said.

He suggests keeping an inventory of your wallet’s contents in your email or on an encrypted cloud server such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Carry Only Essentials

Most people carry too many credit and ATM cards in their wallet, McGoey said, advising that you travel with only the ones you rely on daily. Also, don’t carry both your Social Security card and driver’s license in your wallet because one piece of identification is generally sufficient when you’re traveling.

“The more personal information you lose, the more work you have to do to get replacements,” he said.

Have Backups of Documents

Make copies of all the documents in your wallet, and leave these copies with a family member or trusted neighbor back at home. And include a checklist of phone numbers to call in case your wallet goes missing, such as the numbers of your bank and credit card company. You can also scan and email these copies to yourself or store them on a cloud server.

These backups and numbers allow you to quickly report your cards missing. Also, if you’re flying, you won’t be left without the identification you need to get back home.

In addition, McGoey suggested having a copy of a backup credit card on your email or cloud server and leaving the actual card at home with someone you trust — if you need a replacement right away, that person can send you the card overnight.

Rely on the U.S. Embassy

If you’re traveling internationally and end up losing your wallet but have no backups of your credit cards and license, the local U.S. Embassy is your best resource to get your life back in order.

“The embassy can help you get temporary identification and also loan you cash,” McGoey said.

Your tour company, if you used one, may also be able to assist.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Following in the footsteps of fictional character Doc Ford
Following in the footsteps of fictional character Doc Ford

Darkness has descended over the southwest Florida swamps as I ease my rental car into the parking lot of Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island. Grabbing my bag, I head for the marina to meet up with Captain Jack La Plante, whose boat will be my ride over to Cabbage Key. As we skim across Pine Island Sound on a moonless night, I let my imagination run wild and...
Shake up your cruise routine with these adventurous options
Shake up your cruise routine with these adventurous options

Cruisers who are tired of the Caribbean and Mediterranean and want to spice up their next water-based vacation should check out new offerings for 2018 from AdventureSmith Explorations. Destinations include Tasmania, Patagonia and remote areas of Indonesia. Or, to get really off the grid, there’s a 17-day journey into the high Arctic to explore...
Can't remove the lithium battery from your smart luggage? Then consider it grounded.

If you own smart luggage, you should test its intelligence as soon as possible. The IQ exam that matters - if you can take out its lithium battery.  On Monday, airlines including American, Alaska, Hawaiian, Delta, United and Southwest will no longer allow passengers to fly with smart bags that contain nonremovable lithium batteries. The policy...
Ritz Carlton, a luxury Saudi prison, takes Feb. 14 bookings

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Ritz Carlton in Saudi Arabia's capital may be reopening its doors in time for Valentine's Day, after serving for several months as a prison for the country's elite caught up in what the government has described as a crackdown on corruption.  The Ritz Carlton's website on Monday showed bookings available...
You snap pix of national parks on vacation. Jarob Ortiz takes them for a living.

Jarob Ortiz stood on a rocky mound and waited. He watched the sky for a break in the clouds and the ground for shadowy patterns. Then, a shazam! of light burst through, illuminating the campfire circle.  "Oh my God, it just got really bright for a second," he said at Camp Greentop in Catoctin Mountain Park in north-central Maryland....
More Stories