If you're planning a trip to a foreign country, whether for business or pleasure, notify your credit card company ahead of time. Otherwise, you could be in for distinctly unpleasant surprises. That's because credit card use by a U.S. customer in a foreign land triggers red flags in the credit card company's security division.

Fraud Abroad

Discover Card advises contacting your credit card company a few days before your scheduled departure. If you don't notify the company, your account might be put on hold the first time you attempt to use your card outside of the U.S. The company is trying to prevent fraud, but its efforts could result in a travel nightmare on your part if you can't use your card and don't have cash. Let your credit card issuer know where you are going and how long you intend to stay.