Tips for a relaxing and financially safe vacation
Updated: May 20, 2020
As the main vacation season is starting, I will share some tips regarding vacation and money with you:
During vacation planning and booking:
Be careful about offers for "free vacations": Often these are scams and you either have to pay in form of fees or your credit card information might be misused for further payments.
Check for recommendations for the tour operator or the resort you are going to book. Check and verify the contact information.
Make sure you understand the cancellation policies.
When booking a hotel room, check whether there will be some resort fees added to the price already paid. If the web-site is unclear, re-check with the hotel.
Pay your vacation by credit card. Not only this gives you more protection then a payment by debit card, it often cones with a travel insurance.
Check whether you need a travel insurance or additional coverage to the insurance protection you get through your credit card.
Before you leave:
Give a travel alert to your bank and credit card companies. This way you make sure your cards are working also abroad.
Make sure you understand all possible fees for payments in a foreign currency. The terms might vary considerably between different credit card issuers and banks.
Check whether you can get cash on an ATM during your travel and what are the related fees.
Exchange foreign currency before your departure, so you can get better rates than you would get on the airport. Ordering currency to a local currency exchange bureau is often the cheapest way getting your vacation cash.
Pay all your bills or schedule the payments so you don't get surprised by late payment fees.
Make a copy of all important documents like your passports which you will carry with you. Either have paper copies or electronic files (in the cloud or on a storage stick) with you.
Hold your mail.
Have somebody checking your house for packages or advertisements delivered to your house. Those should be removed regularly. Also should somebody water your garden and mow your lawn.
During your vacation:
Do not pay by credit card in a place which is not looking trustworthy or where your credit card is taken away from you for the payment processing.
If you are paying in a crowded environment, make sure you are protecting your PIN and carefully place your card back to a safe place. Thieves are very skillful by distracting you and reaching into your bags.
Do carry only things you really need with you. Leave your passport and part of your credit cards and cash in a safe in your hotel, if possible.
Take receipts from all card payments and keep them until you have checked your account statement. Carefully check that the amount charged is the amount you have authorized.
Do spend only the amount of money you have planned to spend. It is good having a budget and a spending limit and sticking to it. You do not want to suffer the rest of the year from over-spending during your vacation weeks!
Last, but not least: Enjoy your vacation!