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Hi Nugget,

I have been living and working in Central and Eastern Europe for the past year, including Basel.

Here is what I suggest you do:

Make a photocopy of the front and back of each of your credit cards, calling cards, and frequent flyer cards.

Also make a photocopy of the picture page of your passport and any visas/work permits you may have.

Make a photocopy of any Insurance cards and prescriptions.

Take one VISA or MC card out of your wallet and have it as an emergency card. You do not need to do this with AMEX because they can print you a new card at any Amex Travel Center, worldwide. VISA and MC will need to FedEx you a replacement card and this can take a few days. Also note that AMEX can give you cash in case of emergency.

So, while traveling by airplane, take your emergency Visa and the copy of your docuemts and put them in a security wallet or in your checked luggage - somewhere other than in your pocekt or your hand luggage.

When you arrive at your destination, put your emergency Visa and documents in your apartment or in the safe in your hotel room. Make sure you take these with you again when you travel.

Note that you will need your passport on your person while you are abroad for identification and possibly to change money. Be cautious but do not be afraid of this practice. You will get used to it. The photocopy of your passport page will allow you to easily replace your passport at any US Embassy, worldwide.

Calling your CC companies ahead of time is not a bad idea but it is not absolutely necessary.

Finally, I suggest you bring one ATM card with you. The ATM is the FASTEST and CHEAPEST way to get money in a foreign country. You can find "Bankautomats" EVERYWHERE. Travelers cheques are "safe" but they are a hassle and exchange places other than Amex will gouge you for using them. You could take $500 in travelers cheques as an emergency but this is really not necessary. See, you can just go to Amex the next day and they will sell you trevelers cheques while you are waiting for your new card to be printed :)

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need further help.

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