As our Principle, Jay, returns from a short but well-deserved break it calls to mind the importance of securing your financial affairs before, during and after vacations. In addition to the obvious logical advantages, taking these steps can help us better relax and enjoy our time away. Whether you visit a new city or unplug into nature, having a checklist like this one can help keep you protected.
- Know your protections and liabilities: Whether you pay with credit or debit, your “card accounts” will have varying levels of protection. Whether it’s identity theft reimbursement, airline points, or rental protections most companies offer some safeguards against troubles you could encounter. Call your company to let them know where you will be travelling so that they can confirm which of your securities will and won’t apply. Additionally, if an identity thief has a spending spree while you are away, knowing your location can help the company identify these transactions for you.
- Get your ducks in a row: To really unwind make sure your financial matters are taken care of before booking your trip. Many life insurance applications ask about trips you have planned, but if you haven’t bought plane tickets yet the trip isn’t considered “planned” by the insurer in most cases. As a general rule, make sure whatever financial plans you are working on or considering are squared away before your trip so that you can better enjoy the time away.
- Prepay or automate your bills: You don’t want to come home to a late fee, so find out which of your expenses will trigger back home while you are away. If needed you can arrange to prepay these bills or set a temporary automatic payment for the time that you are away. It can be risky to bank on having reliable internet in remote locations, so take care of these responsibilities in advance.
- Clear your real inbox: An overflowing mailbox can be a red flag for identity thieves and the longer your important mail sits outside, the longer it is vulnerable. To protect against this, arrange with your local post office to hold your mail. Most offer temporary mail holds but if not, talk to a trusted neighbor or family member about holding onto your incoming mail for you.
- Plan your spending: It is easy to be tempted by all of the fun experiences available in a new place, but these costly items can add up. Plan your budget and try your best to stick to it. Rather than missing out on unexpected opportunities, plan some cushion in your budget. With a strong plan, every dollar saved in the booking process is another dollar you can spend out on the town once you arrive.
- Credit is king: It is always a good idea to carry some cash, but for the most part you should be using your credit card while away. ATM or currency exchange fees can add up quickly and put a dent in your budget that you don’t need, so use your credit card to avoid these issues as well as giving yourself an easy to track spending trail for your records. Again make sure to let your credit company know you are travelling, so that they don’t think an identity thief is making the transactions and freeze the account.