With spring break season in full swing, it’s important to ensure that you’re keeping your financial security top-of-mind.
As enjoyable as travel is, you can almost always expect the unexpected—late flights, misplaced belongings, botched itineraries and so on. In the case that something unexpected happens in your financial world while you’re traveling, whether it be losing a debit card or having your account compromised, it’s crucial to ensure that you’ve taken the proper precautions with your accounts before you take off.
Here are some money tips to keep in mind while making your travel plans:
1. Reach out to your bank before you travel.
Before you leave town, let them know you’ll be traveling. You'll avoid account holds or transaction rejections. Especially if you’re out of the country, this tip is crucial to avoid card rejections or freezes.
2. Download your bank’s mobile app.
Downloading your app before traveling will help you access your account information while you’re traveling. This way, you can also track and budget your spending.
3. Keep your wallet close.
This tip especially helps if you’re traveling in a new city. Be wary of where your wallet, cards, or cash are located at all times. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of exploring a new place, which makes it easy to misplace things—and in busier cities, tourists make an easy mark for pickpockets.
4. Break up the cash you carry.
Don’t carry all your cash on you at once in the case that it gets stolen or misplaced. Take travel money — only the cash you need for your day outings — and keep the rest of your valuables (like passports, backup credit cards or extra cash) locked away in your hotel room.
5. Take at least two cards with you.
Think of that extra card as a backup plan while traveling. That way, if one card gets lost or stolen, you’re not left high and dry in a new place.
Prepaid cards can also serve as an option to traditional credit or debit cards; they can provide a buffer from your everyday bank account, they generally offer fraud protection, and they can help with travel budgeting.
6. Know your emergency contact information.
Your personal safety is the most important priority when traveling, so it’s good to have this info on hand in the case that something unexpected happens.
If you’re out of the country, keep in mind that 800-numbers are only used in the U.S. and Canada, and foreign countries will have different emergency numbers than 911.
You should also scan your important documents before you leave the country. If your passport or wallet are stolen, it will be crucial to have identification information at your disposal.
7. Set up transaction alerts for your credit and debit cards.
Through transaction alerts, you can keep an eye on the transactions you make during your trip. If you notice a suspicious or unfamiliar transaction, contact your bank ASAP to make sure that your account hasn’t been compromised. Transaction alerts* can also keep you mindful of how much you’re spending.
Keep an eye on the ATMs you use, too. If the card reader looks like it’s been tampered with, don’t take the risk; try somewhere else.
8. Travel insurance can help ensure you're covered.
Travel accident insurance and traveler’s assistance can provide a measure of protection, especially if you’re out of the country. Almost all banks provide this in some form, but check in with yours before you leave town to see any special services it may offer.
9. Lastly, be careful with social media.
This might seem like a strange tip when it comes to financial security, but be mindful: While it may be fun to post pictures of your exciting trip with family and friends, too many details of your departure on a public account could leave you vulnerable to home invaders who know you’re away.
The Best Benefit of Travel Finance Tips
Vacation should be a fun and exciting experience where you can unwind from the busyness of daily life. By using some of these easy travel tips, you can avoid unnecessary financial stress during your break and focus instead on some deserved rest and relaxation.