Control costs and enjoy peace of mind when traveling
Does your vacation-planning checklist include controlling costs and protecting your money while you travel? If not, it should. Before you head off on holidays, here are a few suggestions to keep money concerns from interfering with your good time.
- Plan an affordable and reliable vacation. To find the best deals, research destinations, flights and hotels online. For flights, you can lower the cost of tickets by booking early. Or consider last-minute deals, which can offer large savings if you're not picky about your dates or where you're traveling. Before booking with a hotel, search online for reviews from past travelers to check whether it has a good reputation. Research discounted prices on websites such as Priceline.com, and then call the hotel directly to see if there's a better deal available.
- Make use of credit card protections, benefits and rewards. Use your credit card to pay for hotel rooms, rental cars and flights. Most cards offer auto rental collision damage insurance and some also have trip cancellation/delay insurance or other travel-related protections, such as lost luggage insurance. Check to see what coverage your card carries. Also, if you use a rewards card to purchase your vacation, you may receive added bonuses such as Air Miles or cash back.
- Use banking services to stay on top of bills while away. Many banks will let you automate your payments so that on a certain day each month, funds will come out of your account to pay everything from credit card bills to electricity. If you're going to be traveling for more than a week or two, set up automatic payments before you leave. Another option is to use online or mobile banking to pay your bills electronically while away.1
- Don’t let your mail pile up. A full mailbox may signal to burglars that you're not at home. Arrange with a friend or neighbor to collect your mail and check on your home while you're away. This is another good reason to switch to online billing: it helps protect your identity while on vacation by keeping sensitive documents with personal information on them out of your mailbox and safe from identity thieves.
- How to pay while on the road. Carry some cash with you in case you're ever in a place where your credit or debit cards aren't accepted. If you're traveling out of the country, let your bank and credit card company know your travel plans so when foreign charges (a Mai Tai in Mexico, maybe?) appear on your debit or credit card, they don't get suspicious and freeze the card, suspecting identity theft. Contact your bank or credit card company immediately if either your debit or credit card is lost or stolen while you're traveling.
Taking these steps will help protect your money on vacation. In addition, you'll probably enjoy your holiday more if you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your finances are secure.
What's next? How your credit card can protect you
1 You must first enroll in Online Banking, and set up Transfers and Bill Pay. Wireless carrier fees may apply.
Some accounts and services, and the fees that apply to them, vary from state to state. Please review the information for your state in the Personal Schedule of Fees (at www.bankofamerica.com/feesataglance or at your local Banking Center) and in the Online Banking Service Agreement at www.bankofamerica.com/serviceagreement.