Thought I'd share my last couple of weeks in case it's useful to anyone else. Perhaps a few more items for your pre-trip checklist.
I pride myself on being a detail oriented guy but the Travel Gods are having a great time messing with me right now. Monday last week, I tried to use my credit card and it wouldn't work. The chip crapped out just 14 days before I leave for Scotland. I was immediately able to order a new one via my banking app but it takes up to 10 business days to arrive via Canada Post-a postal service not well known for fine and effective customer services. As of this afternoon, still no card. No problem though, I have two secondary cards that I only use in emergencies. But guess what? I tried to buy gas on the weekend and neither worked. It turns out my 1st secondary card expired last year and I was never sent a new one. I didn't know this until this morning, but I need to use my cards every 60 days or they go dormant. After 1 year it is automatically cancelled with no notice. I never thought of this because it was still showing up on my banking app as an account-no fine print saying dead, dormant, no longer working.... My 2nd secondary card is an AmEx that I haven't used since 2017, but they still sent me a new one 2 years ago. Same thing though, it no longer works. Neither card can be renewed and I have to reapply which takes 2-3 weeks. But, the good news....my wife's cards work so she has to pay for everything.
The Travel Gods aren't done yet though. I've got a post going under the Scotland heading, but thought I'd share here as well. I have a bunch of British cash left over from a trip in 2018. I didn't turn it in because we were going back in 2020-which of course, didn't happen. I was warned on the weekend via a Facebook post on the Scottish Travel Society page that the transfer of British bank notes from paper to plastic is complete and I have until September 30th before it will no longer be accepted in circulation. However the post warns that many establishments are no longer accepting those notes effective immediately. I have a couple of B and B's that are cash-only and when I emailed to ask if they would accept, I was told they won't take it either.
So off to my bank I went this morning to either exchange it for the new plastic notes or turn it in and use an ATM in Scotland for my cash needs. Turns out my bank has no interest in them. Next, I tried Calforex but they want nothing to do with the paper notes either. So Plan C, take the money and try and use it up in whatever establishment will still take it.
I'll be in England in the Fall, but not in London so heading to the Bank of England to turn it in is not an option yet.
So, new items on my travel checklist:
- check the dates on my credit cards 4-6 weeks before travel.
- Use all of my credit cards 4-6 weeks before I leave so they don't go dormant while I'm away.
- Avoid future pandemics to prevent cash from expiring before I can use it.