Subject: Re: Credit Cards frozen?
Hi, I would be very leary of calling my card issuer to explain that I'm going on an extended, expensive vacation. Apart from the security issues inherent in broadcasting your plans to anonymous strangers, the chances of your card being stolen/misused are much greater when you are traveling. (Although Craig may not have been entirely grateful at the time that his bank froze his card, I hope that in retrospect he appreciated their suspicion--if I tried to get a $1000 cash advance in another country I would expect to be asked a few questions.)

When you use your card at home you have protections (eg. loss limit on lost or stolen cards) that you do not have when you are traveling abroad with your card. I found this out when trying to resolve a fradulent charge on my card after we returned from our European trip a few years ago. It took many months, letters, and phone calls to dispense with a problem that I could have handled with a single call if it the merchant had been domestic.

Probably the best thing you can do is use a card that you've had for a long time, so the issuer has a history of your typical activity and won't be alarmed by the occasional air ticket/hotel expenses. Maybe, if I was planning to charge something really expensive or to get a big cash advance, I'd call my issuer to explain--but otherwise, seems as though it's safer just to hang onto the card and assume that all will go smoothly.

JoAnne in Silicon Valley, CA