Are you planning a getaway this summer? If so, be sure to keep your credit and cash safe and sound – or your trip may be disrupted by more than rainy weather.
Secure your spending limit. It is remarkably easy to blow a budget while on vacation, so before taking off, set a figure for what you intend to spend. Be realistic – most people underestimate their travel expenses by 50 percent!
- Tip: You can keep spending on track by taking good old-fashioned traveler’s checks in exactly the amount you are willing to part with. They have safety features built in to them too – if you lose cash it’s gone, but you can report missing checks and get replacements quickly for a small fee.
Only carry the credit cards you need. One of the most unpleasant experiences any vacationer can have is to lose a wallet full of plastic. Being able to list which cards you are carrying is important, since you will need to report each one that is missing to guard against fraudulent purchases.
- Tip: Before you go, remove all unnecessary cards and store them in a safe space. Photocopy the back and front of each card you take, and tuck it into a suitcase or money belt. Also, if you’re leaving the country, get the overseas customer service number – the one you would normally call may not work abroad.
Share your travel plans with your credit issuers. Many travelers dust off rarely used credit cards for their trip and plan to use them far more than they would at home. However, your credit card company may view the extra activity as an indication of fraud and suspend use – which can leave you red-faced and turning your pockets inside out for change when you are trying to pay for a meal.
- Tip: Notify your credit issuers of your itinerary, including travel dates and destinations.
Know about extra fees for using foreign ATMs. If you will be vacationing outside of the United States, be aware that using some foreign ATMs can be expensive. On top of the currency-exchange commission, you will usually be hit with a currency conversion fee as well as an “ATM-use” or transaction fee. All in all, the cost to withdraw the equivalent of 100 U.S. dollars can exceed eight dollars – more than five times what it would be to extract that sum on home soil.
- Tip: Before you go abroad, contact your financial institution to learn their policy on conversion and transaction fees. Limit your oversees ATM activity to the bare minimum.
Wherever you go this season, takes steps to safeguard your money before you leave and during your trip!