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Old 07-22-2010, 02:38 PM   #41
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I am horrible for losing stuff. I will admit this before going on with this next part....

I have 3 times lost my CC's while out of the US. The one I talked about above earlier this year in Nicaragua. Once in London and the other time in Bolivia.

The one in Nicaragua took 2 days to get to me. They send it fed ex to the hotel/eco lodge I was staying at. A FedEx motorcyclist delivered it from the Capital. A VERY small town, where no place, including the hotel, has a street address. The BOA agent didn't give me a hard time at all about that, she laughed about sending the CC out to a hotel with no address or phone # but I assured her it would find me, as I said, small town, and it did. They told me they were going to charge me $35 but they never did.

Bolivia happened back in 2007 and took Citi about 3 days if I remember correctly and it was delivered to the friends home I was staying with.

The time I lost one in London was next day and this was probably 10 years ago. Don't recall which bank.

As I said in the post before however, my Credit Union wouldn't send me a replacement ATM card, no way no how. But, Western Union worked out better anyway.

These are my personal experiences only.
Actually, I find the prompt replacement very reassuring, thanks for the detailed information. I think getting that first card replaced is the key. Cost is not an issue -- $35 charge, no problem!

On the Credit Union refusing to replace your card, that is definitely yet another reason to have multiple cards. I even had my ATM card eaten by an ATM machine once in the USA near my home, and I couldn't get the card back for 3 days. And this was at a bank location.
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:55 PM   #42
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Photocopies of entry/exit stamps are also useful if you have a tax with federal or state tax authorities.

Kramer, on your next trip to the US you might think about ordering copies of your birth certificate, and having one along with you when you return overseas. Makes dealing with US consular offices easier less difficult. Keep another copy in the US with relatives.

Agree with you on travelers checks Ė less relevant every day.

Iíve always relied on a family member for emergency. They have been reliable but not always punctual. The xoom idea is good because it does not depend on anyone else.

Identification. If youíve lost all your things, how do you identify yourself in an emergency. You could get a passport card and keep it separate from your passport. It wonít replace the passport for travel purposes but it should work fine for identification. This is my current plan. I keep expired passports for the same purpose. I used an expired driverís license for years. The combination of the passport photocopy and another valid credit card might do.
Michael, more good advice. I just looked into the passport card. It looks like around $55 fee plus mailing costs plus I need to send my passport book in with the request. Since my time in the USA is normally limited, that means I need to pay $60 extra for an expedited application. So will probably not pay the $120 or so dollars just to have one more backup ID but I will get one next time I add pages to my passport or renew it. I do have two USA driver's licenses (one no longer valid) and an expired passport, so having these along could be handy.

I may only have one copy of the birth certificate, I will have to see on that when I return to the USA. Again, ordering copies are quite expensive and there are strict guidelines due to fraud. For sure, I will take a copy of it, though, and take a picture.

I am also planning on getting one of these:

Pacsafe Anti-Theft Bags & Travel Security Products

PacSafe travel safe for locking passport and a couple of cards up in the hotel room when there is no safe. Just be sure not to forget about it and leave it behind!! Another reason never to keep everything together.

I was thinking that traveler's checks could be a good backup in case international communications are down. But there is apparently a lot of fraud with them and I wonder if they would even cash them in such a situation. I have been carrying around the same traveler's checks for 3 years now. I have cashed in part of the original stash I bought a few times, and it seems like there were some difficulties each time.

Paypal seemed to have a send money internationally option on one of their online menus, but I have not investigated that yet.

I still don't have evidence of anyone successfully wiring money to themselves using a credit card except for one guy who did it, he changed his name slightly so that it went through. (as in his credit card did not have his middle name but he sent it to himself with the middle name added, this was using Xoom). It sounds like you can't always count on this, or really any of these methods, they are all tools, things to try in an emergency. Just like investments, it is best to be diversified and knowledgeable.

Another thing to have handy is a list of American consulates and embassies in your country(s) of destination along with contact info, both written down and online so it is handy.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:13 PM   #43
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To get around the sending money to yourself with your own CC thing: you can receive money via Western Union without an ID, you just use a password/phrase. So you, using your CC, can send it to Mr/Ms. Joe Blow and tell them that Joe Blow must use the phrase "Purple People Eater" to pick up the money. Then You, Mr or Ms Joe Blow goes into Western Union and picks up the money using the password you have set..
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:13 PM   #44
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Too late. The scammers have already been there. If I was that message, you could be my best buddy, it would get ignored.
I was really referring to contacting my closest people. My brother, good old friend from high school, certain friends or coworkers. People who I could clearly identify myself to by demonstrating specific knowledge that a scammer wouldn't have. I knew about that scam and I would hope my friends are smart enough to not send money to a blanket request. I am talking about using gchat or facebook messenger to ask specific people who are frequently online for specific help. The people I know probably wouldn't just send $300 to me unless they could identify it was me (one would hope!).
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:23 PM   #45
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you can receive money via Western Union without an ID, you just use a password/phrase
Has anybody here actually done this successfully? I ask because it's the only (?) solution the situation I worry about most: having everything taken. While I was in Peru this year a busload of tourists was held up. The thieves took everything, including the bus and the tourists' clothes. The tourists were left naked on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere.

Now that's a scenario to work through!
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:36 PM   #46
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I have not personally done it but went with someone at my language school who picked up money with only a password or "test phrase". The only thing I would worry about is making it too long or difficult to understand if the receiver is in a country that is not their native language.
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:42 PM   #47
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Has anybody here actually done this successfully? I ask because it's the only (?) solution the situation I worry about most: having everything taken. While I was in Peru this year a busload of tourists was held up. The thieves took everything, including the bus and the tourists' clothes. The tourists were left naked on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere.

Now that's a scenario to work through!
Oh boy .........I'm planning a trip to Peru next year. Maybe I should have some underwear tattooed on before I go.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:24 PM   #48
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Has anybody here actually done this successfully? I ask because it's the only (?) solution the situation I worry about most: having everything taken. While I was in Peru this year a busload of tourists was held up. The thieves took everything, including the bus and the tourists' clothes. The tourists were left naked on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere.

Now that's a scenario to work through!
Well, if that happened, money wouldn't be of much to you until you got to a town, at which point you would presumably be in the company of law enforcement. You would also have journalists wanting to take your picture, and you would have a legitimate reason to ask to be issued with a barrel and taken to the nearest US Consulate.

My daughter spent a couple of weeks in Bangkok with a school friend whose mother worked at the Belgian embassy there. Friend's Mom said that they got a lot of stranded tourists, but they were typically married men who had been ripped off by sex workers and got the strict minimum service from the embassy. They were actually pleased when someone came in who had been a victim of something which wasn't largely of their own making and that they wanted to help out.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:51 PM   #49
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Has anybody here actually done this successfully? I ask because it's the only (?) solution the situation I worry about most: having everything taken. While I was in Peru this year a busload of tourists was held up. The thieves took everything, including the bus and the tourists' clothes. The tourists were left naked on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere.

Now that's a scenario to work through!
Remember Jason Bourne in the Bourne Identity. He had a Swiss Safety Deposit box that was accessible with only passwords and no ID. He had details stored in a small laser device implanted under his skin on his body, that projected the details using a laser light. He accessed his bank box with this information and bio-identity (palm reader) and it had loads of passports, cash, a USB key, half a dozen credit cards, a handgun, etc. He had safe houses in multiple countries. He spoke multiple languages fluently, was a skilled assassin and fighter, had advanced technology training, foraging skills, crossed borders without detection, etc.

Looking at these requirements, I am almost there, except that I only have 4 credit cards

Kramer
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:18 PM   #50
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Check with your credit card company - I just got cards with chips a few weeks ago after I saw an announcement on their web site.

Ditto from me on all the recommendations to call the card companies' customer service for a "travel alert".
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:03 PM   #51
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He spoke multiple languages fluently, was a skilled assassin and fighter, had advanced technology training, foraging skills, crossed borders without detection
Ok. I have all of that covered.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:25 AM   #52
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Remember Jason Bourne in the Bourne Identity. He had a Swiss Safety Deposit box that was accessible with only passwords and no ID. He had details stored in a small laser device implanted under his skin on his body, that projected the details using a laser light. He accessed his bank box with this information and bio-identity (palm reader) and it had loads of passports, cash, a USB key, half a dozen credit cards, a handgun, etc. He had safe houses in multiple countries. He spoke multiple languages fluently, was a skilled assassin and fighter, had advanced technology training, foraging skills, crossed borders without detection, etc.

Looking at these requirements, I am almost there, except that I only have 4 credit cards

Kramer
Yeah, but you have extra passport photos taken in different dress. OMG - Kramer is one up on Jason Bourne
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:34 PM   #53
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Question

The "How to Send Money Online" page on Western Union's site says a "call to confirm transaction" may be required before money sent online can be picked up. Does that mean that Western Union calls the sender, or that the sender calls Western Union?

Either could be problematic for anyone who doesn't have a cell phone or who just had it stolen.

http://bit.ly/bTYirv

Hmmmmm.

Edit: Just saw this elsewhere on the site:

Quote:
Your online receipt will confirm or decline your transaction. If we need additional information to approve your transaction, we will ask you to call us to complete your transaction. Once your payment is approved, your transaction will be sent. A final confirmation receipt with your Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) will be emailed to you.
That doesn't do much to clear up the whole process in my mind, especially as a lifeline when you need money in a developing country.
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Old 07-23-2010, 03:08 PM   #54
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I didn't see anything banning sending money to yourself via credit or debit card on Western Union site, but it asks you which state you are sending money from (not which country).

It says it depends on the destination country whether you can pickup with only identification or only a secret phrase or if both are required.

I have read before that to confirm transactions they may pull up your credit report and ask you personal questions over the phone about it. One option is to send money via debit card plus pin, maybe this would have less likelihood of security questions.

This seems like one more tool in the tool box, not something you can absolutely count on. I think the only way to really tell, is to try it when you are abroad.

I know at least if I have an account with Xoom and have it tied to a bank account, I can get a lot of money in 1-4 business days and have it sent to myself or a friend, without problems since that is not against their rules. But I will probably also try to set up an account with Western Union.
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Old 07-23-2010, 04:23 PM   #55
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This seems like one more tool in the tool box, not something you can absolutely count on. I think the only way to really tell, is to try it when you are abroad.
Agree 100%. I would not ask Western Union for their official policy and then expect that to work when you really need it in an undeveloped country.
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Old 07-23-2010, 04:42 PM   #56
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Check with your credit card company - I just got cards with chips a few weeks ago after I saw an announcement on their web site.

Ditto from me on all the recommendations to call the card companies' customer service for a "travel alert".
While researching my own CC's options for a chip, I came across this:

Pet peeves revisited: Chip-and-PIN credit card “security” undermined | Upgrade: Travel Better

A better mouse-trap, indeed ,,,
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:58 AM   #57
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We have never had a problem with losing anything on a trip. We travel with two cc's, he carries one, and I have another. We each take an ATM card. I never carry a purse. I take only what I will need on day excursions and that will fit in pockets. I don't carry a purse because I know how I am. I will sit it down at lunch or on a bus, etc. And then it's gone. Since I have heard all the stories about thief's cutting straps on purses, I just opt to travel light. Everything else is in a safe place back at the hotel or on the ship. We also carry copies of our passport. I had not thought of a copy of my insurance card, but I might add that to the list.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:03 AM   #58
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When I was young I drove from the US through Mexico and into Guatemala in my new Ford Van. In Antigua, Guatemala, some kids broke my cozy window and took a bag with money, passport, travelerís checks, my truckís travel papers and a few personal items. This was in the early 70ís well before ATMís and debit cards.

I was a man with no county and no record of my van being in country.

There was a civil war going on at the time and military check points were everywhere on the highways where I had to show both my passport and my truckís papers. I took a chance and drove to Guatemala City where the US Embassy is, knowing they would help me. WRONG!

They accused me of selling my passport and more than once asked if I got a $1,000.00 for it. It was a humiliating experience where I had to act like a choir boy until they relented in giving me a temporary 90-Day passport. This was the easy part.

Lesson learned. The Government is not there to help us.

Then I had to get the proper documents from Guatemalan officials for my Van, which all needed the necessary stamps so that I could travel within their country. After piles of forms and ink stamps an Official hand-wrote a message on a page in my passport allowing me to leave Guatemala.

This process took ten days. Fortunately I was traveling with a friend who kept me sane.

We recently retraced some of my steps and visited Guatemala this time using public transport.

We travel with a packsafe to lock our gear in our room and we each have two debit cards with different accounts as well as two different credit cards.

I made our own ďpassport IDísĒ (save those fees, Kramer) by taking photos of our first two pages of our passports and reducing them down to credit card size. Then I printed them and pasted the two back to back and had them laminated. Now we leave our passports either in our room or hotel safe and use the IDís for when we are on the street. I have been asked for ID from time to time and never had an issue with our passport IDís.

We made copies of our passport, credit cards and debit cards along with our birth certificates kept online and hard copies are in another location.

We carry a few hundred US Dollars in small denominations as an emergency fund which is secured once we find a room. Once settled into a place we work with local currency and divide that up and place into different locations.

We keep our credit cards and passports in the hotel safe when it makes sense and we always have extra passport photos with us available.

When walking around town, we carry Fidelityís Fast Cash Card instead of our debit cards in case we might be robbed or our items stolen. The Fast Cash Card only allows the ATM user (or thief) to take out of the account the amount of money you have put into it - the card does not give access to your full account. Transfers from your original account to the Fast Cash account takes moments online for when you need it, but protects your original account from being drained by a thief.

Paypal does indeed have an international money transfer feature to over 60 countries. For instance I can send $500 USD to anyone with an email address in the Philippines (the hotel staff member? A girlfriend or trusted friend?) and it will cost me $2.50 USD to do so. The money is available in minutes.

The receiver logs into PayPal and can sign up for an account (free) to receive the money into their bank account. SureÖ trust is necessary on both sides, but itís an option and it only takes minutes to transfer the money, not days. I donít know if there is a currency conversion fee but the $2.50 is for the transaction.

On international flights we always lock our bags. After going through security we are able to lock them up. We arenít so much worried about what they might take, we are more concerned about what they might put in.

We have never used travelerís checks. The sorts of places we visit those checks would not prove useful at all.

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Old 07-24-2010, 12:12 PM   #59
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Well, I think this thread is proving to be about he most useful one I've ever read on this board.

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I took a chance and drove to Guatemala City where the US Embassy is, knowing they would help me. WRONG!
A seasoned American traveler once told me, "If you're ever in a foreign country and need help, skip the American embassy and go directly to the British embassy."

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We travel with a packsafe to lock our gear in our room and we each have two debit cards with different accounts as well as two different credit cards
What do you typically lock the packsafe to?

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we carry Fidelityís Fast Cash Card
I'm having trouble finding this card on the web. Anybody have a link?

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Paypal does indeed have an international money transfer feature to over 60 countries. For instance I can send $500 USD to anyone with an email address in the Philippines (the hotel staff member? A girlfriend or trusted friend?) and it will cost me $2.50 USD to do so. The money is available in minutes.
Doesnt it take a few days for the money to be transferred from the recipient's PayPal acct to his/her bank acct?
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:02 PM   #60
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Billy, thanks for your post - it has some very useful info. You must have some great stories to tell. If I ever get down your way I'll buy you a beer and you can tell some...

Paypal looks like a good option. Exchange rate fees are a bit high but still compare favorably to Western Union or a large US bank. I also like the passport-ID.

Totally agree with your comment on the overseas US gov't reps. Not only are they not helpful, they are often mean-spirited.
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