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How to be a smart traveler wherever you go.

With travel easier and cheaper and companies moving some services overseas, it may be necessary to travel more often and farther than before. A first time trip out of the country can be a hassle if you are not prepared. Here are some tips to protect yourself while travelling. There are some things to be done before you head out to catch your plane.

Before you go:

  1. Carry a minimum number of valuables, leave irreplaceable items at home, and plan where to stash your cash. Bring a variety of credit cards, cash, and travelers checks and keep them in separate areas. For instance, keep one credit card, some cash and traveler’s checks on your person, stash some in your suitcase, and store most of it in the hotel’s safe.

  2. Only bring the credit cards that you will be using. Do not take unnecessary identification or credit cards in case they are stolen.

  3. Familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs.

  4. Know the power source of the country you are traveling to. The United States uses different A/C adapter than the rest of the world. If you are bringing a laptop or cellphone, be sure the charger is compatible.

  5. Scan your passport, airplane ticket, driver’s license, and credit cards and email them to yourself. If you cannot scan, then make two copies, keep one at home and one with you.

  6. Leave your Social Security card at home.

  7. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends and establish points of contact. Know where your local embassies are.

  8. Be sure that you are aware of what can and cannot travel on an airplane. You do not want to have to leave something behind.

  9. Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program helps contact you in case an emergency comes up at home or a crisis in your travel area. It is a free service provided by the State Department and requires your express written consent to give out information.

  10. Visit the Depart of State: Bureau of Diplomatic Security for security news and information on the country you plan to visit.

  11. Contact Bank Mutual Customer Service at (800) 261-6888 to have a travel alert placed on your account so that your debit cards will work.

While traveling:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Watch your luggage and/or purse. Do not leave them unattended.

  2. Protect your passport and cash!

  3. Keep your hotel door locked and meet visitors in the lobby.

  4. Beware of strangers asking too many personal questions.

  5. Follow the steps to protect your laptop, cellphone, or other mobile device on a public Wi-Fi network outlined in our Public Wi-Fi Security section.

  6. Do not allow foreign electronic storage devices to be connected to your computer or phone.

  7. Only use authorized public transportation.

  8. Change your traveler’s checks only when you need the currency. Countersign the checks in front of the person who will cash them, at an authorized store.

  9. Do not flash large amounts of cash.

  10. Do not give money to beggars. If they are working as part of a larger gang, you have now shown them where you are keeping your money.

Upon your return:

  1. If you traveled for business and did work on a laptop, have your system administrator review the access rights for any unauthorized access.

  2. Change all your passwords that were used while travelling.

  3. Report any unusual circumstances to your Security Officer and FBI. By reporting to the FBI, they will ensure that future travel advisories take those into consideration.

  4. Review your bank statements for any unusual activity. Notify Bank Mutual if you feel something was unauthorized.

This list is not comprehensive. There are multiple advisories that outline in more detail specific steps to take:

If you encounter problems:

  • Contact the local US Embassy or Consulate

  • If items are stolen, contact the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims.

  • Report the loss or theft of:

    • Traveler’s checks to the nearest agent of the issuing company

    • Credit cards to the issuing company

    • Airline tickets to the airline or travel agent

    • Passport to the nearest US Embassy or Consulate

If your debit card stops working, contact Bank Mutual Customer Care at 1-800-261-6888.