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Tips for using credit cards while traveling

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5. Stay alert
Stay alert © Andresr/Shutterstock.com

5. Stay alert

Part of the fun of any vacation: You're shaking up your normal routine.

If you're visiting places you haven't gone before, keep an eye peeled for skimming devices before you hit ATMs, says Velasquez, of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Scope out your surroundings with an eye toward your personal and financial safety, just as you would at any other time.

FREE CREDIT SCORE: If you think you may be an ID theft victim, you can check your credit report for free today at myBankrate.

Another tip that can make your life easier: "If you're running around doing different things," a money belt or travel purse can make life easier, Velasquez says.

Make sure to opt for credit cards over debit cards for making purchases. "You have more protections," Velasquez says. Plus, if there are problems, you're disputing a credit line instead of actual cash.

Bonus travel tip: "Depending on where you go, you may want to buy a travel card," says Feddis, of the American Bankers Association.

Available to buy and load at your bank, they work much the same as a regular debit card -- except they don't pull directly from your checking account, she says.

That way, "if there's any compromise of the card, it's limited to what's on the card; they don't have access to your checking account," she says.

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