Whether you’re jetting off to a tropical destination or planning to explore the great outdoors on a camping excursion, planning a vacation requires careful financial consideration. Fortunately, this process doesn’t have to be complicated. From safeguarding your money to smart budgeting strategies, here are seven simple financial steps you should take before you travel.

1. Give your bank a heads up

It’s important to let your bank and credit card companies know where you’re going and how long you’ll be there so the charges you make along the way won’t get flagged as potentially fraudulent. This is especially important if you plan on traveling abroad, or if your travel plans include transactions that are outside of your normal habits—for example, if you’re going to be using your debit card at a gas station in another state, or to book a hotel across the country.

Letting your bank know about your upcoming vacation can also help them protect you in the case that your debit card is lost, stolen, or compromised when you’re far from home. Bank 34 has Premier Defense Fraud Monitoring 24/7 with real-time authorization decisions for detecting, preventing and managing fraud activity. At home or abroad, you can travel with peace of mind and know that we’ll keep a close eye out for suspicious activity.

2. Research your credit card’s travel perks

While signing up for a new travel card is one way to finance your vacation, your current credit card may have travel-related perks and services you’re not aware of. Some cards earn airline miles as you spend money, or offer cash back deals when booking hotels or visiting restaurants. Lesser known benefits may help you rent a car, or exchange reward points for tickets to tourism destinations. Whatever benefits your card offers, they can come in handy during the vacation planning process, and when you arrive at your destination.

Bank 34’s low rate and preferred point rewards personal cards come with travel benefits that include:

  • Car rental insurance coverage
  • Airport concierge
  • Global services
  • Travel & lifestyle service

3. Prepare for foreign transaction fees

Depending on your credit card, you may incur fees for transactions made abroad, or for using an ATM to withdraw money in a foreign country. Make sure you’re aware of what these fees are and include them in your vacation budget. This is also a good time to verify if your bank has international ATM partnerships for no-fee withdrawals abroad. Additionally, you can withdraw all the cash you need before your trip to avoid withdrawal fees, but you’ll need to ensure that you keep it protected from getting lost or stolen. Keep in mind, physical currency does reduce the risk of identity theft and credit card fraud overseas.

 

4. Check the exchange rate

Before traveling abroad, you should familiarize yourself with the currency and exchange rates of your destination. That way, you’ll know exactly how far your dollar will, or won’t, go. Exchange rates can vary depending on where you decide to trade in your cash for the local currency. Kiosks in airports and touristy areas may give you less favorable exchange rates than ATMs or actual banks. If you prefer, many banks allow you to exchange currency at your local branch, so you can get the money you need before your trip and avoid high fees.

5. Set your savings goals

If you have a trip planned on the horizon, the best time to start saving is today. Setting aside some cash here and there can really add up, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to a solid vacation budget. You can even set up a dedicated travel savings account and contribute to it automatically through direct deposit. That way, you won’t be tempted to use the money for other things, and you can earn interest in the process.

Our checking and savings accounts make it easy to save for your trip while earning interest, cash back, and other rewards. The kids can even do their part and contribute with our special Piggy Bank Savings accounts for those under 18.

One tip to help you budget for your trip is to divide your estimated vacation cost by the amount of time you have between now and the day your trip starts. So if you’re planning on spending $3,000 on a vacation that’s 12 months away, you should set a savings goal of at least $250 a month in the meantime.

6. Put your bills on auto-pay

Your bills still need to be paid, even when you’re on vacation. Make sure and take advantage of online billing and payment systems for your monthly expenses. With Bank 34’s personal e-banking, you can pay bills, transfer money, check your statements, and access your account anywhere that you have internet access. Thanks to scheduling payments in advance, you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about coming home to late fees or past-due notices.

7. Consider purchasing travel insurance

Travel insurance provides protection for all the “what ifs” that might occur while you’re on vacation. Everything from medical emergencies abroad to theft, cancelled trips, and trip interruptions are covered under common travel insurance plans. Some credit cards offer travel coverage, or you can opt to buy directly from a travel insurance broker. You can also shop around and compare different policies before purchasing one, so you can ensure you find the perfect plan for your travel needs.

Meet your financial goals with Bank 34

From opening a savings account to budgeting for your dream vacation, we are happy to be your financial partner for all your banking needs. Bank 34 has stood independent since 1934, and we’ve helped countless families, businesses, and individuals with lending and banking services. We take the time to get to know our clients and work with them to develop solutions that address their unique circumstances. Contact us to experience what sets Bank 34 apart from countless others in the world of banking.

 

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