Ready for a long-awaited getaway?
Traveling, especially for longer periods of time, requires some intentional design and foresight. Most of that preparation is obvious and exciting — like deciding when you’ll travel, where you’ll stay and who will join you. Financial components require a broader spectrum of anticipation and can sometimes be easily overlooked. Here’s a checklist to help you make sure your finances are squared away so you can enjoy a stress-free trip.
Stop at the Bank Before You Leave
- Let your bank know you’ll be traveling so you don’t lose access to your money.
- Set up spending alerts to get a notification when your card is used. This will help you notice suspicious activity.
- Ask your bank about transaction fees if you will travel abroad.
- Get cash — especially if you are heading overseas. Some countries will charge high ATM conversion fees.
Add an International Phone Plan
If you don’t already have an international phone plan, most carriers have an international text/call option that you can add that will cover the duration of your trip.
Share Safely and Securely
- Update your privacy settings before posting photos of your trip on social media. Make sure that only trusted friends and family are able to view your posts and see that you are away.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi if possible, or use a VPN if you have one.
- Update your device to protect against malware, spyware or other cyber threats.
Consider Traveler’s Insurance
Since there can always be some uncertainty with travel plans, it may be a good idea to consider traveler’s insurance. Some credit card companies have a travel insurance option if you book with your card. This is often less expensive than going through a third party.
No One Likes to Think About This, but Have a Plan for Worst Case Scenarios
- Make copies of any travel documents you’ll use for your trip (passport, driver’s license or rental car information) in case they are lost or stolen.
- Call your health insurance provider to see what international coverage is available if you are traveling overseas. For domestic travel, ask which hospitals or clinics are in network.
- If you have life insurance and plan to travel overseas, check to see if it covers an international death.
- If you don’t currently have a will, you should before you travel.
Have a Plan for Your Home While You’re Away
- Leave a key with a neighbor or friend. It’s important that someone can access your house if necessary.
- Put your mail on hold, switch to paperless billing, or have someone collect your mail for you. Mail can contain sensitive personal information; the risk of identity theft increases when it is left in your mailbox unattended.
Flexible Schedule? Save Big on Travel
If you are able to travel without having to do extensive advanced planning, you might be able to score some last minute sales.
If you’re retired or happen to have the ability to be flexible, you are likely able to save extra on your flights or hotel stays. There are several online travel newsletters that you can subscribe to, such as Scotts Cheap Flights, Next Vacay, TripFate, Jack’s Flight Club, I Know the Pilot and Secret Flying. These newsletters will send out notifications to your email when airlines or hotels have good last minute deals. If you have the willingness and wherewithal to drop everything and go, your flexibility can be a financial benefit.
Keep Your Belongings Safe!
A body wallet – a small, secure bag that straps to your body — is a great way to keep money, credit cards, passports and other valuables safe while you travel. Some even have an RFID blocking feature, which prevents remote reading of your credit cards’ microchips.
Reach out to your Trust Point relationship manager if you have any financial questions about an upcoming trip.