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5 Money Moves to Make Before Going on Vacation

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Whether you’ve taken time off to enjoy warmer weather, explore a faraway destination or embark on a different adventure altogether, you’ll want to make a few money moves beforehand to prevent any unexpected headaches during your travels. From telling your financial service providers about your plans to creating a budget for your trip, here’s a quick look at where to get started.

Notify your financial institution and credit card issuer
Alert the companies holding your checking and credit card accounts about your travel plans, including which cities or countries you expect to visit and how long you’ll be gone. Otherwise, your transactions may be flagged as suspicious, and activity in your accounts may be frozen. A simple phone call to each provider is all it takes to avoid that nightmare.

Go mobile
Just because you aren’t lugging your laptop to the beach doesn’t mean you can’t use your checking or credit account. Fitzsimons Credit Union offers mobile banking apps that grant members 24/7 access to their important financial information. Download the app onto your iPhone or Android mobile device and you’ll be good to go. Just be sure to keep login information secure.

Get cash beforehand
Before catching your flight, find out whether your destination has surcharge-free ATMs, especially if you’re going overseas. If you don’t, you may face stiff fees for each withdrawal.
If you’re heading abroad, exchange dollars for the appropriate currency a few days before leaving, because conversion rates often cost more at international airports.

Consider getting a VISA Gift Card
Getting a VISA Gift Card can mitigate the risk of overspending and incurring overdraft charges while vacationing. If you’re going overseas, try to get a card that’s accepted internationally. Most gift cards from major issuers are universally accepted.

Set a budget (and stick to it)
As relaxed as you’ll be during your time off, you may not want to be too nonchalant about your spending habits. Otherwise, you won’t like what you see when you take a peek at your checking account, or when next month’s credit card bills show up in the mail.
While it’s alright to splurge from time to time, you should consider setting up certain spending limits. Whether those are daily or weekly are up to you. Remember: Something as simple as taking public transportation from the airport to your hotel instead of a cab can save you a nice bundle of cash -- perhaps even enough to cover your first night on the town.

The bottom line
If you want your vacation to be as hassle-free as possible, consider making these money moves before you go. All it’ll take is a little time and effort in the days leading up to your trip. You’ll be able to put your feet up before you know it. 

Tony Armstrong, NerdWallet


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