Protecting Your Credit While on Vacation

A credit card is undoubtedly the safest and most convenient method for making purchases while on vacation. Nonetheless, there are a few things you should do in order to ensure your financial security.

Plan Ahead

As with any aspect of vacation, planning ahead is the most important first step to using a credit card while on vacation. If you will be traveling out of the country, contact your credit card company to ensure the card can be used outside of the United States. In addition, find out about any fees that may be associated with using the card outside of the country. Some companies charge a flat rate, while others charge a percentage of your purchase. Still other cards charge a combination of both. Be sure to select the credit card that charges the least amount of fees and to check on the credit card’s policies shortly before going on vacation as many cards routinely change their policies. Sometimes, a credit card from a credit union provides the best deal.

It is also a good idea to contact your credit card company ahead of time and let them know you will be traveling out of the country or to another state. If you do not, the fraud department of your credit card company may freeze your spending privileges due to unusual activity. As a result, you will have to interrupt your vacation in order to call the credit card company and explain your situation. For this reason, it is also helpful to carry two credit cards with you on vacation. That way, one can act as a back up if you run into problems with the other. For ease of record-keeping, however, you should only use one card if possible.

Prepare for Emergencies

Emergencies and accidents can happen on vacation. Therefore, you should always carry the toll free number provided by your credit card company so you can call in case it is lost or stolen. This number can be found on the back of your card – but it won’t do you much good if the card is missing. If you have a password protected area on the web, you can also place your account numbers and contact information on the site. That way, you can access it from anywhere in the world.

Keep Records

When traveling, it is important to always keep your receipts in case disputes should arise later. This is particularly true when vacationing in a foreign country where you may not have the same purchase protection from your card as you do in the United States. In addition, be cautious about holding a hotel reservation with a credit card and then paying for it with cash. You may discover you have been double-billed. Keeping good records will help you if this situation arises.