Six Vital Financial To-Dos Before Going on a Trip
Traveling grants us that rare opportunity to shrug off our day-to-day responsibilities and live like free spirits, albeit only for a few days. With no stove to slave over, you can enjoy those outdoor pools you have been Googling online as you take in majestic vistas of lands abroad.
There are some essential monetary moves you need to make to ensure a successful trip before picking up those bags. They will also keep your nest back home cozy and warm so that your re-entry back to the grind can be as seamless as possible.
What follows is a simple checklist you should go through before you set off globetrotting.
Automate your bill payments
Vacations are a time to relax and rack up exciting memories of exotic food, spectacular views, new experiences, and loads of fun. You do not want to wind a trip up with a severe case of post-vacation blues arising from suspended services or late fees from unpaid bills back home.
The last thing on your mind during your trip will be your finances, so plan them carefully before your departure. After a proper assessment of your automatic withdrawals and direct deposits, ensure that your account has enough money in it to keep these payments going.
Automatic payments work fantastically for car repair loans, utility bills, and mortgage and credit card payments.
What do you need to do to get automatic payments started? Just make a call or share your information with your creditor online to set it up. And if there’s a bill that requires manual payment, send in the funds in advance, so that you have a stress-free environment to come home to.
Prepare your credit cards
Credit cards can make or break your trip so study them closely and get one that works for your trip and not against it. It is quite easy to fall into the debt trap when using a credit card for travel, but when used wisely, these cards have their perks.
Payments with a credit card are perfect for those emergency and unforeseen payments, and some include travel bonuses and introductory rates to die for.
Here are tips on getting the best credit card for your trip
- Choose an internationally accepted credit card
MasterCard and Visa payments are accepted in most parts of the world and having one at hand will save the day in case you find some financial obstacle on your way. Make a quick check with your card-issuer, hotel, and travel agent before travel to ensure that your card is not limited.
- Choose a card with affordable interest rates
Many credit cards will charge between 2 to 4% interest rates for foreign payments, and this can translate to big bucks when paying for your trip’s expenses with a credit card.
A card could also charge higher fees for out-of-network ATM usage, it’s important so avoid credit cards with foreign transaction fees on them. Go, instead, for fee-free cards that are interlinked with other banks’ ATMs for affordable withdrawals and payments.
- Adjust your card’s PIN
Your debit card might have a PIN incompatible with foreign machines. If yours has that issue, make it compatible before your trip to keep your trip free of snags. Your magnetic strip card may also not work in a newer chip and PIN card machine. It is, therefore, advisable to take an extra card on your trip for back up.
- Know your card’s limit
Besides the actual charges, you may be aware that most service providers will go a step further and put a hold on some of your credit card cash as security. These holds will dissipate within a few days of placement, but they tend to strain your card’s limit.
For debit cards, this action could leave you short of funds you had stowed away for food or shopping. If you do not want a surprise and a declined card, ensure that you have plenty of cash or credit available on your card. Plan also to pay your bills when checking out if you have to use your card or have a card that has no spending gap.
- Inform the bank when traveling
If you do not want your card suspended or declined while paying for that sinfully rich and delectable gelato in Rome give your card company a call before travel. To fend off fraud, card issuers employ security software that raises red flags if a purchase is made away from your usual purchase zones.
Know your exchange rates
You might end up paying a fortune for that souvenir tagine pot you’d like to take home from Morocco if you have not studied your travel exchange rates before you travel. You will need a good exchange rate, and while hotels and tourist centers offer currency exchange, they often do so at a higher than usual exchange rate.
The rule of thumb here is to study the rates of the country you are visiting four weeks prior to your trip so that you can get the best exchange rate deals possible. Having your exchange rates at your fingertips will ensure that the local seller does not find you easy to scam, either.
Make a budget
Nothing will take down the buzz you got from purchasing that beautiful ancient crockery from that flea market in Istanbul more than a colossal bout of spender’s remorse. The value of a budget before your travel cannot be overemphasized, and you do not have to go old-school paper and pen to create it.
There dozens of fantastic free budgeting apps online today that have free expense trackers. And if you are not tech savvy, though, you can plan to travel with prepaid cards. These cards will ensure that you do not spend more than you had initially planned to.
There are so many things that can go wrong during a trip, and the only way to mitigate the unforeseen expenses is to get travel insurance. A good insurance plan can cover medical, theft or cancellation costs, which will help you save big bucks in case the very worst happens.