- Contact your bank and credit card company and inform them of your travel. Because of fraud detection monitoring, legitimate charges can be declined if they are out of the ordinary. And it's not just when you are out of the country. I had $400 worth of dorm furnishings and groceries declined at Target after I took my son to college in California. Despite having plenty of available credit, charges in California looked suspicious the day after I had charges at home in Georgia. So, make sure you call and inform them of your travel dates and locations so that you can avoid inconvenient interruptions. I usually carry three cards - ATM Card, AmEx, and Visa or Mastercard for those locations that don't take Amex. Also, when you call the credit card company, ask about any fees and currency conversion charges so you can plan to take the cards which will minimize extra fees.
- Learn how to access the web version of your email account if you currently use email that downloads onto your computer. If your email provider has a limit to the amount of storage provided, clean out your email prior to leaving so that your account won't go over the limit while you are traveling and then starting rejecting your emails. Also, take the time to add your contacts to your webmail version, or save emails from key folks you may need to contact, since some webmail/online accounts don't automatically capture the contact details if you typically manage your email from your computer (client-based email).
- Start making a list of key websites and passwords you may need to access while traveling. If you have your passwords saved in your browser, you probably won't remember them when you are traveling, so take the time now to make a short list. Start thinking about it 6 weeks out so you can remember to add websites to your list as it occurs to you. Websites you may need to access while traveling: webmail, work related sites you may need to access, Carbonite, website content you manage. It is not a good idea to check your banking information from a foreign location, particularly from an internet cafe. If you have someone keeping your kids and an issue comes up that you need to address, think about access you may need while traveling: school websites, list of friends and their phone numbers,
- Pay bills ahead and through due dates that are one week after your return. About two weeks prior to departure, review all bills that will need to be addressed while you are gone. If you can pay online, go ahead and schedule the payment. If you anticipate the need to pay a bill but you haven't received the notice in the mail yet, now may be the time to sign up for online bill pay so you can get that taken care of now.
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