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Old 07-24-2010, 01:42 PM   #61
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What do you typically lock the packsafe to?
We find the most stable, preferably attached-to-the-wall item we can find. Often it will be the plumbing in the bathroom. We wrap our PacSafe around a rollie backpack with our valuables inside, and then run the steel cable through the plumbing and again through the mesh of the PacSafe and lock it.

If the plumbing wonít work for you for some reason, then we locate something metal attached to the wall (TV stand?) and attach it there. Sometimes the solid wood beds in hotels might have a bedboard we can lace our cable through and that will work. Find the most inconvenient, full of hassle, stable, attached to the wall item to lock it through and use that.
 
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I'm having trouble finding this card on the web. Anybody have a link?
Errgh. Gave you the wrong name. Sorry. Itís called Smart Cash (so you can get Fast Cash). Located on Fidelityís site under mySmartCash Account. or call 1. 800. 323. 5353

They have some great features like allowing you to write checks from this account and they pay the postage.

We utilize this account to pay anything requiring a physical check in the States when we are abroad.
 
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Doesnt it take a few days for the money to be transferred from the recipient's PayPal acct to his/her bank acct?
In my experience I sent an American friend who was living in Thailand at the time, money from my PayPal account while I was elsewhere in the world. He received it instantly into his PayPal account. But you might be right in that for him to retrieve it into his physical handsÖ he may have had to wait a couple of days.

 
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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...
Iíd like that. Anytime! We love to have visitors meet us in foreign locations. 'Course, we have been overseas so much even the States is like a foreign country to us now.

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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.
Passport ID has worked for us for years. We have all this information in our book.

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Totally agree with your comment on the overseas US gov't reps. Not only are they not helpful, they are often mean-spirited.
Go figureÖ A little customer service goes a long way.

Billy
Author, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement
The Adventurerís Guide to Chapala Living
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:46 PM   #62
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Anyone else find this thread kinda scary?
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:04 PM   #63
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Anyone else find this thread kinda scary?
Not really. 99% of the time, a prepared traveler will have some or most of what he needs hidden on his person or in his hotel room. Or will not have lost everything. Ie - you may get pickpocketed, but still have your luggage. Or you may have your luggage stolen, but have your passport, cash, most of your credit and ATM cars, etc in your money belt or day pack. In fact it is pretty hard to imagine a scenario where you have EVERYTHING stolen short of getting robbed literally naked while on the bus or in a taxi while in between cities and they take all the luggage too.

And add to this the fact that the majority of trips end up being uneventful and no significant theft or robbery occurs at all.

I guess the alternative is that we could all lock ourselves into our barred-window, fireproof house and live a safe and uneventful long life!
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:40 PM   #64
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I guess the alternative is that we could all lock ourselves into our barred-window, fireproof house and live a safe and uneventful long life!
Since when does travel = an eventful and purposeful life? I've traveled more than most and don't agree with this at all. A meaningful life is where you find it - at home or around the globe. As the old saying goes, wherever you go, there you are.
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:00 AM   #65
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Itís called Smart Cash (so you can get Fast Cash).
Found it. Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:02 AM   #66
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Anyone else find this thread kinda scary?
Not really. All you're talking about is a few pieces of paper (or thumbdrive) that you only need to set up once.

And (I don't know if it's been stated), I do have a checklist (with a column for me and one for my DW) that is filled out before/after every trip (did I tell you I'm anal?)

It also includes "end-of-trip" items, such as holding boarding ticket stubs until we receive credit on our airline programs, maintaining copies of receipts to cross-check against our bank/CC cards, and re-stocking of clothing items. This last item may seem strange, but when we pack for a new trip, we always pack old underwear, socks, etc. and discard them during the trip. Since we "restocked" at the end of the previous trip, we know we have "new stuff" waiting at home and we don't need to do any hurried shopping when we get back.

It also reduces volume (not necessarily weight) in our luggage on the way back, but does allow us to pack those extra "treasures" we purchased along the way.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:16 AM   #67
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Anyone else find this thread kinda scary?
Just the opposite. Excellent tips, and itís reassuring when other experienced and reputable travelers share (and validate) similar concerns regarding backup plans and general preparedness.

Key takeaways from this thread:

Losing all your stuff when traveling in a foreign country is a low probability event but it happens.

The time and effort needed to have an actionable and effective backup and recovery plan is minimal when compared to the cost and effort to recover without one.

Itís like fire insurance for your house.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:26 AM   #68
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I've had to call a credit card company while overseas but that's about the worst of it. I don't think I had to cancel a card or anything. In fact, I called the international number on the card, which I still had.

But now, I've put all that info including my passport number into 1Password app. for the iPhone (they offered it for free a few months ago but now it's $15). There is also a desktop client to which you can sync all your passwords and wallet items like passport, credit cards, drivers license etc.

One thing it doesn't do is store pictures. Otherwise, I'd take a picture of my passport and keep it on the iPhone. Of course there are other apps. like Evernote which can store images in the cloud.

The thing though is my iPhone tends to be with my wallet so maybe this isn't the best strategy. But I know I couldn't keep pieces of paper with vita personal info. on it without losing them.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:18 PM   #69
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I've traveled a bit (300+ trips, 30+ countries) and have NEVER had any ID or luggage stolen except checked luggage once, probably just luck of the draw. But here is my backup in case I do.

I made a spreadsheet that is not only password protected but also encrypted and then I emailed it to myself at both Google and Yahoo accounts. The spreadsheet is easy. Pick a code word to encrypt with. Say: TIMBERLAND
That represents 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0.

Insert a passport image into the spreadsheet with only the # blanked.
Passport # say 190456440 would encrypt to TNDBELBBD written in spreadsheet
VISA # = BERL DNAL BMIT exp date = TT/TD code = REB
VISA Hot Line = 1-800-456-7890
AMEX #= (same process)
Airline ticket # = UA568909 Phone # = local and US numbers
Hotel booking # for each one, Phone # for each one
Etc, etc.

I email it to myself with password protection (double safe) and then make 3 paper copies folded and put in those very thin laminating cards from Office Depot, put one under the insert in my shoe, and the others in the baggage ID tag and toiletry kit. There is nothing on it that means anything but to me the codeword keeper.

I have 4 $100 dollar bills that are getting old and frayed now but I keep one in my Eagle Creek travel belt, another in the lining of my latest travel bag, one is inside my toiletry kit which will be separte from the suitcase when in the room, and the other is under my shoe insert in a tiny zip lock.

The only way I can be without money and credentials and CC details is to be totally stripped naked on a street in Boliva while at the same time someone is robbing my room to the point of taking my toiletries.

That would make a great travel story.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:47 PM   #70
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Great tips on this thread. Like others have suggested, we keep photocopies of our passports, and non-toll free numbers to our credit cards. I haven't had too many problems with credit cards being denied, but always carry a spare. I've always notified credit cards and my credit unions of my overseas travel.

If traveling with a child, it is a good idea to travel with a copy of the child's birth certificate. In this era of international child abduction, you might be asked to prove its your kid. I've never been asked this and I don't completely understand how a birth certificate (which can be forged) proves parentage but I figure it doesn't hurt!

DW and I also carry discreet money belts and multiple wallets. I think above all, being discreet with cameras, flashy clothing etc helps. Spreading money in multiple places seems to be good too. Travelers checks definitely don't have the usefulness that they used to.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:55 PM   #71
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Lots of great suggestions. I did check on using Paypal to transfer money to the Philippines, and it appears that the only way to send money there is to another person's bank account, and it takes a number of business days. I did not see any type of Western Union type money pickup service, probably because of fraud. I am definitely going to open a Xoom.com account and get it attached to one of my bank accounts. Then I may test it once when I am there by sending cash to myself. The fees are low. Some banks have slower transfers than others (e.g., HSBC), I know that my Everbank account has faster transfer, something to consider.

Getting everything stolen is a *lot* worse than getting most of your things stolen. So that means being extra careful whenever you are changing locations, and you have all your things with you. I am going to be more careful about wearing my waist belt in these situations, sometimes I have gotten a little too comfortable and not done that.

Finally, I recall when I was reading travel forums before I started traveling extensively. It seems much more common to FORGET something than to get it stolen. So best to be careful when hiding stuff not to forget it
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:58 PM   #72
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It seems much more common to FORGET something than to get it stolen. So best to be careful when hiding stuff not to forget it
Yes - I don't know how many times I hide a $20 bill somewhere, then while unpacking a week later I mysteriously find $20 here and $40 there. Or a whole wad of peso notes balled up in a bag or bottom of the suitcase, or stuffed in a sock or something.
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:39 AM   #73
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Then I may test it once when I am there by sending cash to myself.
I'll be very interested to know how it goes. Are you going to try Xoom's "cash pickup" feature?
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:25 AM   #74
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I'll be very interested to know how it goes. Are you going to try Xoom's "cash pickup" feature?
Yes. So the source would be a bank account transfer that I initiate online, sending money to myself. I would then get notified when it is available. I would then pick up the money myself, using identification. The cost for the service is about 2% (via low exchange rate) plus $5.00.

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Old 08-18-2010, 08:49 AM   #75
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High quality photos of passport data page stored in two different email accounts.

Pulled insoles out of shoes. Inserted sealed plastic bag containing three $100 bills. Glued insoles back.

Have sister and long time friend in the states who will drop everything to wire me money if I ever request it. I keep money in my Skype account and have the login info memorized.

One of my banks is USAA. Any international problem I've tossed to them they handled with ease. I expect (hope?) the speed with which they send me new ATM cards will be up to their usual stellar customer service standard.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:03 AM   #76
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Can't resist this as it reminds me of a real story published in our local english newspaper in Hong Kong couple of years back. A tourist (won't mention which nationality but he can't speak English) lost everything and was separated from his friend while touring in Hong Kong. He spent 3 days sleeping in the streets, picking up money he found in the streets (around HKD3) to take the ferry from where he was lost and then walked all the way back to his hotel. His friend had (during his absence) reported to their consulate and local police that he was lost. When he was asked why he did not approach people on the street or local policemen to ask for help, he said he could not speak English. He had not eaten much during the 3-day ordeal and was exhausted when he finally reached his hotel.

Trust me, I'm not making this up.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:19 AM   #77
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:13 PM   #78
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As a military member in South America, I work very closely with the embassy community and see first hand how much effort they put into helping Americans in these scenarios at whatever time of day (it's usually at 2AM after someone has been mugged in the wrong part of town). Embassies and Consulates have special funds to "repatriate" Americans who have been robbed. It is essentially a loan for a plane ticket home, but you can't leave the USA again until it is paid back. Yea, the trip is over, but you get home.
In regard to letting your bank know that you are going overseas, USAA's (so I imagine it is true of many banks) web site allows you to do this up to 30 days in advance. I prefer doing it myself because I can see that the data has been entered correctly. Before the advent of this system I used to have CC problems all the time (30+ countries), but have had none since then.
I also remember that we have things of value other than cash and CCs. The street value of a pair of Levi's or a camera down here is worth at least a hotel room and some internet time. I can get pretty far on that.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:50 PM   #79
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I just spoke to a Consular friend about the "repatriation" loan. It's more complicated and has more consequences than I thought. I'll get the real scoop and post better info.
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:38 PM   #80
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Great thread !
I also have put money under my shoe insole when going out in sketchy places like Rio in Brazil. In my many years of international travel I have been robbed twice, once about 15 years ago in Athens Greece and once in San Jose Costa Rica about 4 years ago. Keeping a low profile and not showing signs of wealth is important. Even wearing a $50 watch or sunglasses in some countries is asking for problems.
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