Living with credit, Protecting yourself

4 handy travel gadgets for credit card lovers

Julie Loffredi

There are two things I never want to lose when I travel: my credit cards and my smartphone.

Luckily, there are some cool travel gadgets that can help prevent these types of mishaps and make nervous Nellies like me feel more at ease on that next adventure.

Portable smartphone charger
As a smart credit card user, I always want to double-check transactions while on the go. This helps me keep my budget in check and on alert for any suspicious or fraudulent behavior. This is a big reason why I sign up for text and email alerts from my credit credit company.

The only downside? If my phone battery goes kaput, I’m out of luck.

So, I always bring along a portable battery booster to help turbocharge my power-hungry iPhone. There are lots of these on the market. The GreatShield Powertank lets you charge up two devices simultaneously and is compatible with iPhone, Galaxy, Note and iPad.

Price: $25.

Bluetooth smart tag tracking device
I once left my wallet at an airport coffee shop. Luckily, I realized my mistake before boarding my flight.

But if I had a tracking device attached to my purse, it would have saved me some grief. There are lots of Bluetooth tracking devices on the market, too, but I went with the Bluetooth Smart Tag Tracking Device, available at TravelSmith. The tracker helps safeguard your valuables by using a Bluetooth connection to a mobile device.

When the device is out of range, the app sends an alert to help you retrace your steps.

Price: $60.

RFID blocking sleeves
RFID Blocking Sleeves from Alpine Rivers are aimed at travelers, like me, who want to stop data thieves in their tracks.

Yes, the risk of RFID theft of your card info is low, but I don’t want to take any chances.

How it works: Users slip credit cards, a driver’s license or passports into the sleeves and then tuck them into a wallet or purse. The electromagnetic shield will then help block high-tech pickpockets from scanning information.

Price: $28, 12 credit card holders and three passport protectors.

Square credit card reader
During a weekend trip with friends, this handy device from Square could have come in handy.

Let me back up for a minute. So, here’s the dilemma: We all go out to eat together, share a hotel together, and a cab ride together. Then, to make it easier, someone always volunteers to pay for a bill and then figure out the amount each of us would then have to pay her back. By the end of the trip, the math gets super messy, and no one ever seems to have the right amount of cash to pay the person back for footing last night’s bar tab.

This mobile credit card reader could have reduced a lot of that confusion. Each of us could have just paid for our portion on the spot with a credit card and scanned it through our friend’s phone. Genius!

Price: The Square dongle is free after sign-up, but you pay a fee per credit card swipe.

There you have it. For about $100 before you hit the road or take to the air, you can ensure that your smartphone is always good to go, worry less about losing your wallet, fight the small risk of RFID card fraud, and you’re able to easily make sure friends pay their part of a bill.

For me, that’s a small price to pay for my added peace of mind.

See related: My 5 favorite apps to save money while traveling

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