Credit Before Holiday Travel – 10 Things to Do Before
Getting ready to hit the friendly skies and take in some holiday travel? There are a few credit-related chores to take care of between picking your hotel and packing your bags. Before you even book your tickets, start taking care of these credit card tasks:
1. Let your bank know you are traveling.
Whether you are traveling overseas or just to another state, give your bank and credit card issuers a quick call with your itinerary. Card issuers may freeze your accounts to protect against fraud if the activity is considered unusual. Making a call before you go can save you the headache of dealing with potential issues while on the road. Many credit card companies also allow you to register travel plans online.
2. Check out your card’s concierge service.
You don’t need to be wealthy or famous to have a concierge at your service. Many credit cards offer free concierge service, which can assist with everything from researching local attractions to finding the best price on hotels. Check your card benefits to see if this is available.
3. Look up your card’s foreign transaction fees.
Many cards charge a per-transaction fee or a percentage when you use your card in another country. Make a note of which card charges the lowest fees, and try to use it exclusively to save while you are away.
4. Check out which of your cards give rewards for travel.
Discover offers 5 percent back on travel during one quarter of the year. Some American Express cards offer 2 percent to 3 percent back on travel expenses at any time. And, other cards pay out rewards in the form of airplane miles, which can be used for expenses during your trip.
5. Research your card’s protections for travel problems.
Depending on your cardholder agreement, you may have protections during travel. American Express, for instance, provides insurance when you use their card to rent a car. Knowing the coverage on your cards can keep you from expensively reproducing coverage through rental car and travel insurance.
6. See if your card offers travel discounts.
Many cards have agreements with airlines, hotel chains and rental car companies to give discounts to customers. Often, these can be found inside the members area of your credit card site.
7. Set a daily spending budget for your trip.
It’s easy to get carried away with extravagant meals and fun souvenirs. To keep spending under control, set up daily charge limits, and have reminders automatically sent to your phone when you get close to these limits.
8. Double-check your cards’ spending limits.
Having a card declined is embarrassing. And, over-the-limit fees can put a bite on your finances. Before you go, take note of how much you currently owe on each card to avoid going over the limit. Be mindful of charges that can add up, such as hotel fees.
9. Decide which cards to carry when.
It’s best not to have all of your cards in one place while you are traveling. Keep some securely in your luggage or hotel safe while you carry just one or two.
10. Make a copy of all your cards.
Before you leave, photocopy or take digital photos of all of your cards, front and back. (If you take photos with your phone, be sure to store the pictures in an encrypted folder and that automatic back-ups are turned off.) By having copies of all the cards, you can quickly contact your card issuers if your wallet is lost or stolen during your trip.
By taking a few minutes to complete these tasks before you go, you can save money, eliminate stress and better enjoy your time on the road.
Key Credit Repair wishes you safe and enjoyable holiday travel and a prosperous New Year!