Keep you and your money safe during summer holiday travel with these tips

Nawara Fattahova

With the start of the travel season, local banks published advisories on their social media accounts for travelers as a precaution to avoid inconveniences during their visits abroad. But many people fail or read or forget these pieces of advice and instructions.

One of the most helpful tips is to download the mobile banking application of the bank. Through this application, the client can manage various needs while travelling and in Kuwait, which will save them time rather than visiting the bank’s branch or wasting money on phone calls.

Some banks block credit cards from being used abroad as a precautionary measure to protect their clients. The client should visit any branch of the bank if they don’t have the phone app to inform them about their trip to make sure that their credit card won’t be blocked, especially to high risk destinations.
Banks advise to always check the sales amount before entering the PIN, as well as checking the invoice in detail. Don’t leave any bill from a restaurant, hotel or other service establishment with the tip or the total amount sections blank.

Credit cards should be kept away from direct sunlight, as this may damage them.
Use the safe placed in your hotel room to store your expensive and important items. Most hotels now have safes. Make sure you also keep the door closed and locked at all times. Repeated cases of theft have been reported in various countries, especially the favorite touristic destinations for Gulf nationals, so tourists are advised not to wear expensive watches and jewelry, especially when walking in the streets. It’s also recommended to avoid carrying expensive purses.

Keep your purse or wallet in an inside pocket and always watch out for pick pockets, especially when you are in a crowded place or distracted by watching street performers, in shops or on the metro.

Some banks also advise clients to check the ATM machine to make sure that there are no scanners installed. During the past few years, new ways of theft have been developed, out of which installing skimmers at ATM machines is the most popular, and many clients have fallen victim to this scam.

Don’t keep the purse containing your wallet or other expensive items in the overhead storage bin on the plane, especially during longer flights when you could fall asleep. This may result in ending up leaving the plane without your money, and only noticing later when you need to pay. Losing some of your money is better than losing it all. Try to put your cash and bank cards in at least two or three wallets, placing each wallet in a different bag or pocket. So if you unfortunately lose one wallet, you will still be able to survive with the spare money in the other wallets.

The best combination is having some cash (best exchanged here) and using credit or debit cards at points of sale. Withdrawing money from an ATM machine may be very costly, as your local bank will charge a withdrawal fee of around KD 1 for each transaction, in addition to the fee by the foreign bank and the unfavorable exchange rate. So one transaction may cost around KD 4. So it’s better to withdraw one large amount and avoid repeated withdrawals of smaller amounts.

When travelling to some countries, you will need cash. In Iran for instance, international credit or debit cards don’t work – neither at the stores nor for withdrawals. Only local cards work there due to the sanctions. So make sure you have enough money for the whole trip. In emergency cases, you can receive money transfers from some countries only.

By Nawara Fattahova
nawara@kuwaittimes.net