Jul 30, 2022

Smart Financial To-Do’s Before Going on a Trip

By preparing a "financial to-do list" before you go on vacation, you guarantee your money is in order while you're gone and ensure a seamless return to reality. The following tips can help you prepare, save money, and enjoy your vacation stress-free.

Smart Financial To-Do’s Before Going on a Trip

Travelers frequently invest many hours preparing the ideal getaway,  from looking for the cheapest flight rates to locating the ideal Airbnb apartment. Unfortunately, a lot of frequent flyers fail to use the same caution while making financial plans. The last thing you want to happen is to arrive at your destination and discover you are short on cash. That is why creating a vacation budget that includes everything from rental car prices to seat selection fees is critical.

Also, by making a "financial to-do list" before you go on vacation you ensure that your money is in order while you're gone and make sure your re-entry into reality goes as smoothly as possible. 

The following advice will help you plan, save money, and make sure your finances are taken care of while you are enjoying yourself- stress-free!

In the Planning Stages:

1. Create a Travel Budget

By taking time to consider your costs thoroughly, both for necessities and for leisure, you will have a working budget ready for your trip. Here are some costs to consider:

Decide on a transportation method

It could cost a lot of money to get to the destination of your choice. Find out how much it would cost to get to your preferred place by bus, train, coach, rental vehicle, or cruise ship. The fastest route is by air, but if the distance is not too vast, it could be more expensive than by train, bus, or rental car so bear that in mind. To compare prices you can check out Google Flights, SkyScanner.com, Expedia, FareCompare.com, or Kayak, you may assess the costs of airline tickets. Always conduct price comparison research prior to making a purchase.

Check out the local transportation 

When you get there, you'll need more transportation to move around the area.

Use your favorite search engine to look for the local public transportation system. Not all cities will offer every one of the aforementioned choices. SkyScanner.com, Expedia, or Kayak are some websites where you may compare rental vehicle rates. A pricing comparison should always be done before making a reservation. You can save big bucks just by doing this. When renting a car, you should also think about which rental companies are most convenient for your hotel or airport.

Travel Hack

Think about your lodging costs

Your lodging expenses are one of the more important things you'll need to factor into your budget. Be cautious to take into account both your specific demands and what is offered where you are going because lodgings range widely in price and quality. 

Tip: Choose a hotel that is close to the attractions you want to visit. This will be practical and cost-effective for your trips. Think about features like in-room televisions, internet access, and access to a pool. Additionally, think about the size and comfort of the beds and bathrooms, the presence of air conditioning, and whether or not breakfast is provided free of charge. Call the front desk if you have any inquiries that their website does not address. Check out Yelp and Tripadvisor for user reviews. Remember that almost every hotel receives both positive and negative evaluations. Read as many as you can.

Make note of your food costs 

Remember that you'll probably be eating out and that prices for meals might vary substantially depending on where you go. Use your chosen search engine to find out how much food costs in your area. Consider booking a hotel room with a stove or at least a microwave if you need to cut costs on food, and then stock up on some quick-to-prepare dishes at a nearby supermarket. Or pack foods that will be easy to prepare when traveling, this is a huge bonus as it will save on costs!

Check the costs of the attractions you want to visit

Consider the costs associated with getting there, getting in, and any expenses unique to these visits. While the majority of monuments, parks, and museums are free to visit, some may have a nominal admission fee. To include these sights in your budget, do some research on them beforehand. Look into pre-planned sightseeing excursions in your location. They might be the most reasonably priced and comprehensive approach to visiting a place's main attractions.

Habits Successful Budgeters Always Try to Maintain

Like every budget- you need “wiggle room” money 

 Always plan your trip with a little more money in the budget. It's conceivable that you will discover a cost that you hadn't previously thought about. It could be as basic as requiring medications for an unexpected illness or sunscreen for the beach.

Note: Use online budgeting tools like BudgetYourTrip.com. All you have to do is set up an account and enter the details of your budget and travel expenses or create your own budget spreadsheet. Here is a FREE budget template for you to use. 

2. Examine Exchange Rates

At least four weeks before your trip date, do some research on the currency of your destination. If you are leaving the country, you may need to exchange your money for the local currency. Many foreign countries widely accept U.S. Dollars, but you still want to search whether or not this is applicable in your destination, as some may not. When traveling in Europe, for example,  not all European countries accept the euro. Others require tourists to purchase cash upon arrival or have very strict regulations about what they will accept.  

To find the exchange rate, click here. Simply input the amount you have allotted for your trip, and then switch the currency in the second box to that of your final destination.

Also, here are some ways you can get ahead of the rate beforehand: 

  • Keep an eye out for transaction and conversion fees
  • Apply for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees
  • Before you travel, make a currency exchange
  • Open a bank account with no foreign transaction fees
  • Make a payment in the local currency

3. Use Travel-Friendly Debit Card or Credit Cards

Make a few additional preparations to ensure that you can access your money when you need it without incurring a ton of additional costs. To make that possible, consider some of the best options available for credit cards and debit cards. Here are a few things to note when choosing: 

Credit cards- Best for Security Purposes 

In general, credit cards provide the highest level of protection, including when traveling. Credit cards don't have a connection to your bank or savings account as debit cards do, so there is no possibility of a fraudster getting access to your money. In spite of the fact that neither debit nor credit cards hold users responsible for unauthorized charges, fraud is still simpler to handle when funds haven't really been taken from your checking account. Credit cards don't have a connection to your bank or savings account as debit cards do, so there is no possibility of a fraudster getting access to your money. Here are some of the Best Travel Credit Cards of 2022 that offer the best rewards. That being said, Most people don’t realize this, but the vast majority of credit cards charge 2% to 4% for purchases made outside of the U.S.

Debit cards- Best for Cost Savings

Like credit cards, your debit card gives you much-needed access to cash when you're traveling, and it allows you to carry less cash at any given time. Certain debit cards incur a foreign ATM fee when you use an ATM abroad. On each transaction you make, you can additionally be required to pay additional currency conversion or foreign transaction fees. You can cut those costs or perhaps get rid of them with the aid of the best debit cards for foreign travel. For example, Charles Schwab Bank doesn’t charge you to use an ATM, even ones in foreign countries. You can't avoid the ATM fee, but Charles Schwab will refund it with no limits on the refunds. There are also no service fees or account minimums.

In terms of cost savings, because a debit card is connected to your bank account, using one instead of a credit card can be advantageous. The money is deducted from your bank account when you swipe. You won't have to worry about paying off a credit card balance as a result. Huge plus.

Before You Leave the Country:

1. Let Your Bank Know You Are Traveling

Before you depart, let your banking institution know where you're going, and keep an eye on your bank statements.  Banks and credit card companies will reject transactions that seem suspicious or go against your usual patterns of behavior in an effort to protect you from fraud. If you don't let your bank know that you'll be spending money away from home, your transactions can be rejected, which would cause you unnecessary trouble while traveling.

You don't want your credit card to be put on hold unnecessarily.  Make sure to inform them of your intended departure date and when you plan to return.  Your destination is important especially if you are going out of the country.  It is wise to inform them of which countries you will be visiting so they are aware of your overseas use of your credit card or debit card.

2. Set Up Automatic Payment for Bills

It is simple to put money out of your mind while traveling. To ensure that your account balance does not decrease while you are away, quickly account for all direct deposits and automatic withdrawals that will take place before you depart. Aside from overdraft costs, there are a few other banking fees to be aware of, such as ATM fees (including surcharges from banks other than your own).  Here are some to look out for:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Minimum balance fees
  • Paper statement fees
  • Balance inquiry fees
  • Regularly checking your bank account can help you discover possible fraudulent behavior.

Setting up automatic payments for the majority of accounts, such as credit cards, vehicle loans, utility bills, and mortgages, is as simple as giving a creditor your banking information over the phone or via their website. If a bill is due while you are away from home, taking this precaution will help you avoid late fines or terminated services.

Additionally, even after your trip is finished, you can continue to save time, paper, and postage by using automated payment options. As an added incentive for clients, some businesses even provide auto-enrollment discounts and benefits. Make careful to submit money well in advance of your departure date in case there is a unique charge that cannot be covered automatically.

3. Consider Travel Insurance

In covered cases, travel insurance protects you from unexpected delays, cancellations, or medical bills. However, before purchasing it from your airline or another carrier, make sure you are covered by the credit card you used to purchase your flight.

Websites that provide stand-alone travel insurance include Allianz, World Nomads, Travel Guard, and InsureMyTrip.com. Additionally, general insurance companies like Geico offer travel insurance. If you have already purchased auto, life, or house insurance from these companies, you might be eligible for a discount.

Note: several airlines have eliminated flight change fees, and many hotels have begun offering flexible cancellations on their reservations. Travel insurance may not be worth the money if you would not be penalized financially if you cancel those ticket reservations. So this choice would be up to what your preferences are, if you think it would be beneficial, go for it.

4. Check out Cell Phone Options

Check your cell phone coverage provider for plans that cover most locations for free. Otherwise, consider getting a local prepaid SIM card, which can be far less expensive than most cellular companies' international roaming rates.  Alternatively, set your phone to airplane mode and use it just while you are connected to Wi-Fi.

5. Set Up Account Monitoring Tools

Account monitoring can protect you from identity theft and ensure that your vacation is everything you imagined it to be. Set up automatic SMS or email alerts when your account balances fall below a certain threshold, automated access to verify transactions quickly, and alerts when a transaction is flagged or declined.

6. Put a Hold On Mail and Other Subscriptions

Travelers can call the U.S. Postal Service, go online, or fill out a form in person at the post office to request a hold for up to 30 days. If you'll be staying at the same temporary address while on vacation, the post office also provides a domestic forwarding service.

In the same way, tourists frequently have the option to seek holds for periodicals, newspapers, and other subscription-based services including meal delivery services, gym memberships, and streaming services. These costs can quickly pile up, especially if you'll be traveling for an extended period of time.

Wrapping Up

Taking a few little financial actions before departing for your trip will help ensure a hassle-free vacation and a smooth transition back into the real world.  Make It Count! Do you need help creating a travel budget? We, at Money Masters, can help and answer any further questions you may have. Get in touch with us today. Let us make your “chill out” days as smooth sailing as possible!

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