The travel and tourism industry is one of the most important industries in the world worth over US$7.6 trillion in 2016. In the US, it is expected to contribute US$2.6 trillion to the American economy by 2027 (Statista). Traveling is a past time that is enjoyed by Americans even if the majority have limited paid vacation time (on average 10-14 days per year). But those who travel during paid time off enjoy their vacation visiting relatives, shopping, sightseeing or dining. For those planning a vacation, there is one aspect that affects their decision to travel and that is the financial concern. If you are planning a getaway, there are some things you need to keep in mind to protect your financial interests.
Use credit cards
Depending on where you travel, the age of the cashless economy has descended in a lot of places. Carrying lots of cash is not only dangerous because it attracts thieves but also, there is no security when you lose it. In contrast, credit cards offer protection if they are stolen or used. It’s also a good idea to carry at least two credit cards so that you have a backup option if one or the other does not work or gets stolen. Before departure, inform your bank where you are headed and for how long so that your cards will not be blocked for suspicious activity.
Consider prepaid credit cards
One of the biggest fears while traveling is that you might end up spending more money than you ought to or what you can afford. It is so easy to get carried away when you have a credit card with a high limit burning a hole in your pocket. However, overspending during a vacation will only derail your finances and the pleasure of getting that pretty souvenir or splurging on shopping overrides the pain of paying back the debt. What’s worse is that you might even need to incur personal loans to consolidate debts. To avoid this situation, consider getting a prepaid credit card that does not give you free rein. Make sure to include at least 10% in incidentals or unforeseen charges before purchasing a prepaid card.
Check banking activity
Whenever you can, check your bank accounts regularly. Although this is not always possible when you are on vacation, if you can do it, you’ll be able to detect any unusual activities or movement. When surfing, do not rely on the hotel’s Wi-Fi but if you do, get a VPN so that your activities are secured. You can also use your mobile phone as a tethering device to ensure that your browsing activities are safe.
Set-up auto pay when traveling for a longer period
It’s not always easy to keep tabs on payment dates for so many things such as light, electricity, municipal taxes or insurance. If you have not put regular bills on auto pay, now is the time to do it for you don’t want to come back to a cold house with no water after a fantastic vacation. Test if the automatic payment system works at least a month before departure to allow enough time to settle technical issues (if any) with your bank.
Traveling is a great pastime and often a very much awaited occasion if you have been planning yours for a long time. It can be made seamless by taking precautionary measures before you leave home to avoid unpleasant surprises. Besides, learning to manage money will not only help you when traveling but is a lifetime skill that will benefit you in building personal wealth.