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Regardless of which season lures you with its wealth of travel options, credit cards are a necessity for just about everything. So letting your guard down when you make reservations, pony up payment, or leave your hotel room is a recipe for trouble. Bankrate.com has some good tips for credit card safety that will serve you well both on the road and at home.

If you’re going to be away, it’s always a good idea to let your credit card issuer know so they don’t flag you as having unusual purchases away from your home territory. And the same phone call can also make them alert to credit card theft. These are especially important if you’re using a debit card.

Travelling outside the U.S.? Be sure to check out those foreign transaction fees before you go – they can really add up.  While you’re at it, foreign ATMs require an all-digit PIN so be sure to memorize yours in that format.

Finally, remember that when you use your card you’re spending real money, so it’s a good idea to set a budget in advance so there are no surprises when you get the bill.  You can always keep a tally by checking your purchases on your Smartphone’s bank app.

Photo: Wikimedia.com

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.