How to Prepare Financially for a Big Trip
To enjoy your trip worry-free you have to do more than just booking flights and hotel reservations. In this article you will learn how to prepare financially for a big trip.
To have the best experience, you need to go beyond finding the best flight deals. Read on and find out!
It is essential to prepare financially for a big trip. But many people forget about some important aspects of ti. Let’s see what it takes to make a good travel plan.
When planning for a trip, most of us tend to focus on the most immediate things that come to mind: hotel and flight reservations, car rental, local restaurants, sightseeing locations, etc.
While thinking and planning those is definitely part of making sure you enjoy the trip as much as possible, most of us there are steps we can take before the trip to make it even more enjoyable.
Not only that, you want to also make sure you are not caught by surprise when you realize you have spent more than you expected once you get back home.
To avoid such surprises and to make sure you do not waste time and attention worrying about money during the trip, it is important to create a “financial to-do list”.
Doing this will ensure your finances remain in order, which gives you peace of mind to actually enjoy the new place you are visiting and getting to know.
So here are a few financial moves you can make to prepare financially for a big trip, and improve your odds of enjoying the trip.
Read on and never get hit hard by reality once you get back home.
Put your bills in autopay
Before you leave for a trip, think about the bills which will be due while you are aware. It is easy to forget about them when you are away having a good time.
What an unpleasant surprise to realize you have forgotten to pay your credit card balance, right?
To avoid that, run a quick accounting of automatic withdrawals and direct deposits that may happen while you are away.
This will prevent both you from forgetting to pay and your balance from going negative.
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Secure your credit cards and personal documents
It is important to have clearly defined which credit and debit cards you will be using during your trip, especially if you are traveling abroad.
Inform your bank or credit card company how long you will be gone and where you are going.
This will prevent your cards from getting blocked because the bank has flagged your activity as suspicious.
If possible, set up text alerts so that your bank can notify you in case they spot fraudulent activity while you are traveling.
Take note of all the things you are carrying in your wallet or purse so that, in case they are lost or stolen, you can contact banks and credit card companies or replace identification.
Make copies of important credit cards, passports, driver’s license and insurance cards, and keep them in an envelope, separate from the rest of your things.
It is also a good idea to have some cash stored in your room safe or another secure location.
Have travel-friendly cards with you
Most credit cards have foreign transaction fees of 2% to 4%. Not only that, many also charge fees when you make withdrawals using out-of-network ATMs.
Therefore, before traveling, make sure you have travel-friendly debit and credit cards. Prepare financially for your big trip with the perfect credit card.
If you do not, then by all means get them. Ideally your card should not charge foreign transaction fees or fees for using ATMs from other banks.
Use prepaid cards or travel budgeting tools
To make sure you stick to your budget while traveling, first of all, you must create a budget. There are a number of downloadable apps you can use on your phone that will help you do it.
One example is Trail Wallet. This is a travel expense tracker which is available for both iPhone and iPad.
With it you can set budgets for the day or even for the duration of the trip so that you can track your spending on food, transportation, accommodations and more.
Prepaid cards also work well, especially for kids. Just load the card with a set amount and either you or your kid will have a clear picture of how much money is available, and then manage it better.
Monitor your account
There are a number of banking tools that will help you monitor your account. This includes automatic email or text alerts that let you know when your account balance has dipped to a certain level.
You can also set up alerts for flagged or declined transactions, and also automated access to check transactions.
This will reduce your chances of falling prey to identity theft or fraud. Prepare yourself to avoid fraud as part of being financially ready for your big trip.
It also helps to prevent overdrawn accounts, bank fees and suspicious charges.
Not to mention, once you return home, you will be able to look back at your spending to make sure everything went according to plan.
Watch for exchange rates
At least four weeks before departure, prepare financially for your big trip by researching your destination’s currency to make sure you do not make a mistake.
After all, not all countries in Europe take the euro, and buying currency locally can be much more expensive and difficult.
Also, if you are buying currency locally, avoid buying at the airport for they generally do not offer good exchange rates.
Look up real-time data from sources such as Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal so that you can shop around and find the best exchange rates.
Learn about cell service options
Study international roaming rates in case you plan on taking your phone abroad. If you have an unlocked GSM phone (Global System for Mobile Communication) you can get a local SIM card.
Also, if you have access to WiFi, you can download apps such as Skype or WhatsApp. This is the most economical option for you to communicate with friends and family back home.
And do not forget to turn off your cellular data when you use your smartphone or tablet abroad.
Put mail and other services on hold
Some mail could contain information related to your identity such as your Social Security number or account passwords. Having this type of mail sit in your mailbox for days, weeks or months is risky.
Scammers can steal that mail to use the information. To avoid that, you have a few options. You can request a hold for up to 30 days by calling the U.S. Postal Service.
It is also possible to do the same by visiting their website, or going to the post office and filling out a form.
You can request domestic forwarding if you will be staying at the same temporary address for a while.
Do the same for newspapers, magazines and other subscription services to save up some extra money.
Recommendation: find the perfect cash back card for travel enthusiasts.
One of the first tips for everyone who loves to travel is to have a good travel card.
But not every credit card is the same, and you have to pick the right tone for you.
To help you with this quest, we’ve made a list of the best cash back travel cards. Read on and find yours!
About the author / Danilo Pereira
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