Summer is here, and with it a busy season of vacations and travel. Before you load up your suitcases and hit the road, there are a few things you should do first to prepare yourself financially. We’re not talking about budgeting or saving up the cash to take the trip (although all of that is important) – we’re focusing on what steps you need to take to make sure your credit card travels just as well as you do. Here are our top seven credit card travel hacks.
1. Keep Track of Your Spending
Money seems to slip through your fingers so easily when you’re traveling, and with a credit card it’s easier than ever to just swipe your savings away. Things get even more complicated when you’re in a foreign country and dealing with exchange rates, currency conversion fees, etc. While it’s not exactly the most exciting or fun part of a vacation, keeping your receipts and being cognizant of what you’re spending each day will help you avoid a nasty surprise once you’re back home. Set a budget before you leave the house and stay up to date with your transactions. A simple note in your phone should suffice – spreadsheets are definitely not vacation-friendly.
2. Prepaid Might Solve Your Problems
If you’re nervous about blowing your credit limit, consider the humble prepaid card. While it might seem a little childish or embarrassing to basically give yourself an allowance, a prepaid card can help you stay on track and avoid budget woes. Just be aware that if you’re traveling internationally, the currency conversion fees for prepaid cards are usually much higher than for regular credit and debit cards.
3. ID, Please
While it doesn’t happen often, remember that businesses can ask you to prove your identity by showing an ID. Keep your driver’s license on you (or your passport, if traveling internationally), even if you’re not planning to drive. Don’t get offended or huffy if a store clerk asks for ID – they’re just doing their job to prevent fraud.
4. Carry Cash
Yes, we know we’re a credit card processing company, but we can’t discount the value of some good old-fashioned cash every once in a while. Since you’ll be traveling outside of your home area where you know all the little quirks, pack some cash and search out some ATMs ahead of time. This credit card travel hack means won’t have to worry if the taxi’s credit card meter is “broken” or if the taco truck you’re craving only accepts cash.
5. Give Your Card Company a Heads Up
Before you embark on a trip, give your bank and/or credit card company a call or go online to let them know you’ll be roaming far and wide to avoid them disabling your card out of concern for fraud. While international travel is more commonly associated with this kind of shutdown, it can happen anywhere, and it never fails to rear its head at the most inconvenient of times (see why we suggest you carry some cash?). While you can sort this sort of thing out from the road if it does happen, it’s not exactly the kind of problem you want to have to handle on vacation.
6. Make Sure Your Card is Rewarding You
This is one of the most popular credit card travel hacks, and with good reason. Most credit cards have some sort of points or rewards system, but there are some that are better for travel than others. Look for cards that give you double or even triple points on airline tickets, hotel stays, rental cars, and more, and for those that offer you travel protection and trip insurance if your vacation goes sideways. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is widely regarded as one of the top travel cards out there – if you qualify, it’s certainly worth looking into.
7. Be Prepared for Bumps in the Road
Even with the most careful prior planning in the world, traveling can still throw you for a loop. The most important credit card travel hack out there is to be ready for anything. Carry multiple forms of ID to prove you are who you say you are. Keep plenty of cash on hand to help out in an emergency. Figure out how you’ll contact your card company if your card malfunctions or is declined. All these things will help you have a smoother and lower stress trip, even if something doesn’t quite go according to plan.
A Credit Card Processor That Makes Every Day Feel Like Summer Vacation
When you arrive back home after a relaxing trip, the last thing you want to find out is that everything fell apart at your business while you were gone. With 360 Payments, you can rest assured that your payments are being processed without a hitch. We pride ourselves on being a true partner to business owners and on making sure we’re doing our job so you can focus on yours (or not, we all need a break!). Want to learn more? Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website.
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