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Going on Vacation? Don’t Forget These 5 Money To-Dos

The week before vacation can be hectic. There’s so much to do — packing, tying up loose ends at work, finding a pet sitter, sending your travel and hotel itinerary to family and/or friends, and the list goes on.

But here’s the big question: Is your money ready for your vacation?

Below are some financial tasks to check off — both before you leave and during your trip — to make sure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Set travel notices on your debit and credit cards

You’ve finally arrived at your destination, checked into the hotel, and all you want is a nice meal. You hand your credit card to your server, only for them to return with a sour look. Your card’s been declined. The card company flagged the transaction as potentially fraudulent, thus declining the purchase and initiating a “freeze” on your card.

You can prevent this all-too-common occurrence from happening by informing your bank and card company of your trip beforehand. Setting a travel notice is especially important if you’re traveling abroad. Before you leave for your vacation, you can either call the number on the back of your debit or credit card, or, in some instances, you can do it online.

That way you avoid an awkward or frustrating situation from occurring.

2. Plan ahead for bills

Don’t let bill payment put a damper on your vacation.

Make sure any bills due during your trip are paid beforehand. That way you’re not stressing when you’re supposed to be relaxing. This could also be a good opportunity to set up automatic bill payments so you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment again.

3. Bring both cash and cards

Debit and credit cards let you make secure transactions, particularly while traveling abroad. However, some purchases could be cash-only — like the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel — so it’s important to have both cash and cards on hand. However, some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees, so be sure to check for penalties before bringing them abroad with you.

Remember, money and cards can easily get lost or stolen, so keep extra cash and a back-up card locked in your hotel safe, just in case. It’s also smart to limit how much cash you carry at any given time. Leave excess money in the hotel safe, too.

4. Need foreign currency?

If you’re traveling abroad, you might have to exchange your U.S. dollars for the local currency. You can usually access a country’s legal tender by withdrawing from a local ATM once you’re there (foreign money also makes for a cool souvenir).

Just remember to make a few large withdrawals rather than making many smaller ones. Doing this will limit the money you’ll pay in fees, and the excess can be locked up in the hotel safe until you need it.

5. Use mobile or online banking

You can still monitor your accounts while on vacation by using mobile or online banking. If you’re new to these features, you can download your bank’s mobile app to your smartphone or tablet before you leave so you can easily access your account information while away. Or you could log onto online banking from your laptop (if you packed one). Remember, wireless data charges may apply, especially if you’re traveling internationally.

What to remember

Going on vacation requires a lot of planning. But don’t forget to do these simple financial tasks before and during your trip so your finances won’t interrupt your much-earned time off — and you can let the good times roll, hassle free!

More information

Traveling soon? Log onto online banking to set a travel notice on your debit and credit cards, or call the number on the back of your card. Plus, check on your accounts anywhere and anytime by downloading our mobile app at the App Store or on Google Play.

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