5 Important Things to Do Before You Go on Vacation

5 Important Things to Do Before You Go on Vacation

When planning your next vacation, you likely have a lot on your mind – where you’re staying, what you’ll need to pack, and how you’ll get to and from your destination. As you’re planning, don’t forget these five financial and security to-dos that are less commonly considered, but equally important, in making sure your time away goes off without a hitch.

1. Establish a Budget for Your Time Away

You likely set a limit to how much you could spend when you were booking a hotel or buying plane tickets for your trip. But did you also take time to calculate how much you can afford to spend while you’re away?

Consider all your known expenses for your trip – meals, gas, souvenirs, etc. Then set a budget for each expense type. Plan ways to save, such as making a trip to the grocery store to buy breakfast items to eat in your hotel, downloading an app to find the cheapest gas near you, and giving everyone an “allowance” for souvenirs.

2. Set Travel Alerts

For security purposes, your credit card company or financial institution (i.e., credit union or bank) may deny transactions that occur outside of your home area. To avoid interruptions in account access or having purchases be declined, make sure you let them know that you’re traveling, so they know it’s really you and not a fraudster trying to get their hands on your cash.

If you’re a PSECU member, setting a travel alert is easy.

  • PSECU mobile app. Open the PSECU mobile app, tap on the menu in the top left corner, choose Manage Cards, and select Travel Plans for the card you’re intending to use while you’re away. You can then follow the prompts on the screen to set dates and locations for your travels.

  • Online banking. Log into online banking. Click on the menu in the top left corner, choose Cards, and select Travel Plans. Then you can Add a Travel Plan and set dates and locations for your travels.

 3. Make a Plan for Accessing Cash

As a digital-first credit union, we know many people prefer to tap or swipe their payments, rather than pay with cash. However, there are times when traveling that you need to have easy access to cash for things like tips, street vendors, or other cash-only expenses.

We recently joined the Allpoint network, more than doubling your access to surcharge-free ATM withdrawals nationwide. Allpoint ATMs can typically be found in Target and CVS locations. Find one near you using the ATM locator.

Traveling internationally? You can also find ATMs in the Visa® network (though they may not be surcharge-free) in the countries you’re visiting by checking out the information on our ATM page.

4. Carry Copies of Important Documents

While they’re not fun to think about, worst-case scenarios can and do happen. To prepare yourself for the worst, make copies of important documents, like your passport, and leave them in a secure place where someone you trust could access them if need be. Having backup copies could come in handy if the originals go missing during your travels and you need a copy to verify your identity or get a replacement.

Additionally, you may want to carry a copy of your passport, rather than the original, with you while you’re out exploring once you’ve arrived at your destination. In this case, you would keep the original in a locked location at your hotel for safekeeping. Before you venture out, though, you’ll want to make sure that you know if a copy will be sufficient to meet any local regulations.

5. Share Your Travel Itinerary Safely

You’ll want to let at least one person know where you’ll be at all times while you’re traveling. This way if you run into a problem, they’ll know where to track you down. Provide a trusted friend or family member with your full itinerary, including your hotel name and contact information.

However, make sure you’re not sharing this and other sensitive travel information with too many people. Broadcasting that you’re not home could invite unwanted attention to your empty house.

Choose a Card to Travel with You

As you’re planning your trip, consider which card you’ll use for your expenses. Choose one that will reward you, like our Founder’s Card, which gives you 2%* or 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase, every time.

For more saving tips, visit our blog.

*You can earn 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. You can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases if you maintain a PSECU checking account and qualifying monthly direct deposit(s) of at least $500. See the Visa® Founder's Card and Visa® Alumni Rewards Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for full details.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.