Whether it’s a summer vacation, holiday reunions with family, or unexpected family emergencies, credit cards often make traveling more convenient. It’s easy to pack, easy to carry, and when you use it you have an automatic record of your purchases. Swiping is also a more secure payment method than cash. There are some basics that you should know and follow when preparing to travel with credit cards such as notifying your card issuer when you will swiping outside of your usual stomping grounds. This will help you avoid any interruptions in access to your account for suspicions of fraud. It’s also a good idea to have contact numbers for your card issuers saved in your phone just in case you do find yourself in an unfortunate circumstance.
However, there is more to planning the perfect trip than maintaining access to your credit cards. The following are a few helpful tips to make your journey more joyful and keep your swipe safe!
- What you don’t know can cost you.
Take the time before your trip to research any travel incentives or perks your card may offer. Travel cards commonly offer priority boarding, vouchers for food and drinks, waived luggage fees, and even access to airport lounges. What you may NOT know is that perks like room upgrades, late checkout, and free breakfast may already be waiting for you as a benefit of your existing credit cards. Find out by simply calling your card issuer and requesting a list of travel benefits.
- Safety First.
According to “Obamacare” policy you more than likely already have health care coverage. However, when traveling it is not uncommon to purchase additional medical insurance for your trip, particularly when traveling abroad. Although forking over more money on top of the cost of your trip may not be an attractive idea, in many cases it is both wise and best. Because credit card companies can access insurance at a discounted rate, they are able to pass those savings on to you. Some cards may even offer some basic forms of insurance for no additional charge. Naturally, prices for coverage will vary depending of the specifics of your trip. If you are traveling abroad, it’s certainly worth taking the time to find out what you may be entitled to.
- Fees over Seas.
It is standard industry practice for credit card companies to charge additional fees for foreign transactions. Some even charge for domestic transactions with foreign institutions. A secret to help you avoid these fees is to request that your purchases be charged in U.S. dollars at the point of sale. Before you travel, find out what fees you will be subject to while traveling abroad as they can quickly add up!
- The more the merrier.
Raise your hand if you have ever had a card declined while traveling. Most card user have been inconvenienced by this “security precaution” at least once. This can happen for a few different reasons. Not all cards are accepted universally. In some cases perfectly good credit cards are declined. Even after doing due diligence to notify the credit card company of your travel plans, you may still run into a few snags. One way to be proactive about your card’s acceptance is to visit establishments in the area you plan to visit on line to confirm which credit cards are most commonly accepted.
- Virtual reality.
Before you do anything go to your credit card’s website and create a profile for easy access to your account, transaction history, and other pertinent information. Doing this in advance will enable you to make use of the various features such as on-line chat or immediate blocking in the event of a lost or stolen card. Before your trip get familiar with the accommodations and measures your card issuer will take if your card comes up missing.
At this point you may be realizing your trip may require a little or even a lot more pre-planning than you anticipated. Take the time to put yourself and your credit cards in the best position possible for travel. You will be more comfortable, safe, and ultimately have a far more enjoyable trip. Bon Voyage!