Travel tips: PIN shenanigans

You know how sometimes your vacations have gone smoothly until the very end? Well this story more or less embodies that. My mom and I were in Copenhagen’s train station, getting ready to head out to the airport. We needed our tickets for the short, three-stop ride over to it. We went to get our tickets at the machine, and fortunately it had English as one of the language options. We were merrily going along in the process when the issue of payment came up-we had to type in our PIN number to our credit card. In America, we don’t have PIN numbers for our credit cards as far as I’m aware. Okay we thought, we’ll use our debit cards. My mom puts hers in and types her PIN. No dice. Fortunately, I have my debit card with me as well-I’m coming to the rescue. I type my PIN in. No can do. Did I enter the right PIN number and not a different number that I might have accidentally memorized? I don’t think so. So far, this is not good-we need to get a good time cushion before our flight departs, and this stupid ticket machine wouldn’t accept our credit AND debit cards. Thankfully, we remember that there’s the main ticket office nearby, so we skedaddle on over there. There was a line there and we were praying that they could help us. We ended up getting our tickets, but we ended up paying for it in US dollars. We ended up getting to the airport on time and made it home without any incident, but this put a scare into us; even more so considering that it was 8 in the morning when this happened-good morning to us indeed. Oh and the kicker? We technically didn’t even need our tickets-no one even checked them on the short journey over to the airport. What’s the moral of this? Know your PIN for your debit card is the main one, with having enough cash on you to pay for any unseen turn of events that may pop up at the last minute. It also serves to highlight the fact that the almighty credit card abroad may not be as almighty as we make it out to be here in America. I’ll conclude this by saying to make sure you know about these things before you leave the country, because a lack of homework will lead you to getting an F in these situations. Learn from our scare in the Copenhagen train station, and don’t be us.

P.S. We also ran into this problem in Sweden, but fortunately they could manually accept our credit cards. As in, it took a little longer to process our transactions, but they went through. Still though, there’s no telling about what might happen, so just be prepared.

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