Security & Backup Plans
Prepare for the Unexpected
- Make multiple photocopies of your important documents (passport, visa, credit/debit cards). Store photocopies in your place of residence abroad and also leave photocopies with a family member or trusted friend back home. You may also wish to store copies electronically on a secure device.
- Write down all of your credit card numbers and each company's phone number and store them in a safe place. Toll-free numbers often do not work from other countries, so make sure you have a number with a U.S. area code.
- Notify your bank that you will be abroad. If you don't, they might flag your expenditures abroad as suspicious and cancel your credit/debit card.
- Bring a backup credit/debit card and/or have some cash accessible, but secured properly, at your place of residence abroad. If your credit card is stolen, it may take some time for your bank to reissue and send a card, so it is important to have other access to funds while you wait for a new bank card.
- Give your bank account information to a trusted parent or guardian (optional). If you find yourself short on funds, the best way to obtain additional money from your home country is usually to have a parent or guardian deposit money into your bank account directly. Make sure to give your parents your bank account information in advance if you think you might need to use this option. If your wallet was stolen and you have no way to access your bank account, you can also have someone wire you money via Western Union or another currency exchange.
- Avoid traveling with large amounts of cash. If you must, divide it up and store it in a few different locations.
- Be vigilant when taking out money at ATMs. Extracting large sums of money from the ATM and keeping large sums of cash on you (or in your personal space) increases the risk of theft. Carry with you only what you need.