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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Playing your cards right � tips for traveling with credit cards



Using credit cards while traveling is a good idea for a number of reasons:

--You have a record of your expenditures for record-keeping and tax purposes (especially important if you travel for business)
--You may get a better exchange rate when obtaining foreign currency when using your credit card.
--Credit card companies can refund disputed charges and may offer extra guarantees, special deals or warranties.
--Your liability in the case of a stolen credit card is limited to $50

But, traveling these days is often a juggling act of luggage, boarding passes, identification cards, passports and a gauntlet of security measures. These identification acrobatics can leave one slightly addled and perhaps more at risk of being targeted by an enterprising pickpocket or purse snatcher.

And, even though your liability is limited, costs can quickly add up if multiple cards are involved. Factor in the hassle and increased risk of identity theft, and it is apparent a few preemptive measures can save you from a boatload of heartache.

Consider the following tips as guidelines to traveling safely and affordably with your credit cards�.

Plan Ahead:

Anytime you travel you should make photo copies of all of your credit cards airline tickets and documents, both front and back. You should leave these photocopies with a friend or family member. Be aware that if you make copies of your cards and documents to take with you, you may be giving thieves another opportunity to rip off your personal information. Consider blacking out details such as expiration dates, verification codes and social security numbers.

If you decide not to carry photocopies of your credit cards, be sure to have the card cancellation numbers from the backs of the cards written down and stashed in your luggage.

Leave a Paper Trail:

Save receipts and keep track of the places you used your card. Make sure receipts are stored in a safe place so they can be checked against your credit card statement to ensure unauthorized charges have not been made and/or gone unnoticed.

Two accounts are better than one:

When traveling with other family members, even spouses, bring different credit cards that are on separate accounts. When a card is lost or stolen and must be cancelled, all cards on the account are cancelled as well. Having at least two cards from separate accounts will prevent the situation from leaving you stranded.

Keep it light:

Carry only the personal information absolutely necessary for vacation, such as a passport or driver's license. The less personal information you have, the better off you will be if your purse or wallet is stolen. When traveling by air, always keep copies of important documents in a separate part of your luggage, such as a carry-on bag.

Keep cards on your person. Most travel stores carry small bags that you can keep cards, cash, and other items you will need to access while out and about. Consider a money belt or security wallet.

Look out for fees:

When traveling abroad and using a credit card, watch out for the conversion fee that many banks levy to convert charges in foreign currencies to dollars, generally 1% of the purchase amount. Some banks charge a fee and some don�t so, if you have several cards, it's worth checking with the issuers to see which one has the best deal. Even with the conversion charge, many times ATM machines will have the best possible exchange rates and the lowest fees.

With proper planning, credit cards are a convenient, secure and cost-effective means of payment when traveling. Just keep these tips in mind, and the next time you�re balancing on one foot at the security gate, you�ll be glad you did.

Copyright � 2004 Luggage 'n' Travel Accessories
http://www.luggage-n-travel-accessories.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Corwin is a successful author and happy traveler. Please visit http://www.luggage-n-travel-accessories.com, your source for luggage and travel accessories, travel related information, timely articles and tips.

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Learn About Whole Life Insurance



Whole Life Insurance, Trends, and Staying Power

Whole life insurance provides customers with a life insurance policy that will help their loved ones in the future, and with an investment component that will help customers and their families right away. This mixture of delayed and instant gratification has been attractive to life insurance shoppers for decades, but today�s trend in life insurance is moving away from whole life insurance packages. Once, whole life insurance policies were the standard, but today they are the exception.

As the economy changes and the American public become increasingly savvy about money management, the full service that a whole life insurance policy provides just isn�t as necessary as it used to be. People who want a more hands on approach to investing are likely to find a whole life insurance policy too limiting. And, the amount of money that one of these policies requires each month can make it difficult to pursue other investment options, especially for middle and lower class families who are living on a budget. A lot of financial experts today feel the investment portions of whole life insurance policies do not offer customers the best return rate on their money. This provides an incentive for people to purchase term life insurance policies which do not include any investment components, and then invest their money elsewhere.

However, there are still some advantages to purchasing a whole life insurance policy. Although the investments that an insurance company will make on your behalf may not be the most lucrative, they will almost certainly be among the most stable. Many people prefer a lower rate of return with a lower chance of loss rather than a riskier gamble. There is plenty to be said in favor of this perspective, especially when it comes to planning for the future. In addition, people who do not have the discipline or inclination to save money on their own often find the structured saving a whole life insurance policy requires to be a boon.

If the idea of budgeting your own savings plans and spending time researching hot stock tips appeals to you, a whole life insurance policy probably won�t be to your personal taste. Of course, even if you don�t opt for this tried and true kind of policy, you can be certain that someone else will. Although today�s trends seem to foretell the end of the whole life insurance policy, there are still enough customers interested in this kind of traditional and conservative policy that insurance companies will be likely to offer this kind of coverage for many years to come.

-->by: Gray Rollins

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