You’ve packed your bags but need to remember, too, to prune your wallet before you travel. Here are some tips on what goes and what stays…
Traveling often entails being shoulder-to-shoulder amidst crowds on busy streets or on public transportation. You may be awkwardly weighed down with suitcases and other paraphernalia—all of this in a new place offering novel distractions. It’s not surprising how these circumstances can drastically increase the risk of losing your personal belongings or becoming the victim of a pickpocket.
One of the worst things to lose on a trip is your wallet. The financial loss can be substantial. Even worse, it increases the risk of identify theft.
Whatever our gender, we tend to accumulate “stuff” in our wallets. That’s why it’s vitally important to take the time to “prune your wallet” before a trip, taking as few things as possible with you—only the bare essentials.
This requires thinking through what you’ll need and what you won’t need, which can vary based on your lifestyle, your destination and the type of trip you’re taking.
Here are 14 things you should take out of your wallet before you travel:
1) Membership cards
While traveling, it’s unlikely you’ll need proof of organizational memberships. One exception: If it’s a travel organization (e.g., one associated with travel discounts, like an AARP card), take a photo of the front and back of the card with your smartphone.
2) Employee IDs
Unless you are on a business trip and plan to visit a satellite office, you probably won’t need your clunky business ID.
3) Car registration/proof of automobile insurance
Unless you’re on a road trip using your own car, you can leave these at home.
4) Department store charge cards
Unless you are going on a shopping trip and know that that the chain stores at home will also be at your destination, leave your department store charge cards at home. You can use a generic charge card (e.g., Mastercard, Visa or AMEX) or ask the sales clerk to look up your charge number.
5) Duplicate credit/debit cards
You won’t likely need two of anything; eliminate heft and reduce risk by eliminating redundancy. Limit your charge cards to one or two, and if you have two credit cards from the same bank, only take one (making sure it has the lowest foreign transaction fee if you are traveling internationally).
6) Library cards
You won’t need your local library card.
7) Sales receipts and dry cleaner bills
Put these in a safe place for when you return,
8) Local transit passes, or bus or metro cards
Unless you’re taking public transportation to the airport or taking a staycation, you won’t need these either.
9) Treasured photos
Keep these images on your smartphone and leave the originals safely at home.
10) Gift cards
Losing or misplacing a gift card is like losing cash. Save them for use when you return. You also won’t need any local store coupons (remove that Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon, too).
11) Other people’s business cards
While you might want one or two of your own (if you want more than that, certainly don’t keep them in your wallet. If the card has contact information for someone you want to connect with on your trip, add his or her contact info to the address directory of your smartphone.
12) Airline loyalty cards
Again, they provide too much heft. Make sure you give your membership/frequent flyer number when you’re making your reservation and keep these numbers on your smartphone.
13) Social security cards
You know your number by now. These are simply too high risk to carry around in terms of potential identity theft.
14) Lottery tickets
If the lottery hasn’t been held before the date of your trip, you’ll find out that you didn’t win when you get back.:-)
- Especially, make sure you don’t take unnecessary valuables. Take only as much currency as you’ll need.
- Find the safest place to keep your wallet (e.g., in a front pocket for men, in a zippered purse for women.)
- An RFID wallet can help protect you against identity theft.
- Use your password-protected smartphone to copy information you might need but you’re taking out of your wallet.
- Lastly, don’t forget to take your health or medical insurance cards and your driver’s license-photo ID out of your wallet before you travel.
All photo credits: Pixabay