Tips for planning a vacation

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Daydreaming of islands and alohas, the wonder of wandering, or feeding your soul with flavors of your new favorite city? Travel is roaring back to life, and we’ve got you covered with tips for planning and cost saving ideas.

Before you travel

So much of what makes a trip a great trip depends on what happens before you even pack your suitcase. Put the time into planning, so you can make the most of your vacation and be ready to roll with whatever comes your way.

Plan smart. Save money.

  • Enroll in hotel loyalty, frequent flier, and other rewards programs for better rates, perks, and other benefits.
  • Sign up for a credit card with points and earn when you spend.*
  • Book directly with your airline or hotel for good deals – and fewer hurdles, if you need to tweak your plans.

Save on flights

  • Work your schedule to your advantage — fly on the day of a holiday, consider flexible dates, and add a layover to your trip to find the most affordable fares.
  • Avoid overweight baggage fees — you need a lot less than you think you do! And you’ll be happy lugging around less, too.
  • Trip stack and book one extended trip with multiple destinations instead of multiple getaways.

Protect your travel investment

  • Book refundable tickets or tickets with flexible cancellation policies. Read all the fine print before you click “submit.”
  • Check the latest health related protocols, testing, necessary documentation, and mask requirements for your destination and return to avoid potential fines or expensive testing.

Get your banking in order

  • Set up digital banking and online access, so you can check your balance, make payments, and transfer funds wherever you are.
  • Download your bank's mobile banking app for ease and convenience while you’re on the go.
  • Set up account alerts to help you track your spending and stay on top of account balances.
  • Make sure your credit and debit cards are good to go. Verify your card expiration dates and spending limits and memorize your debit card personal identification number (PIN). Traveling internationally? Give your credit card company and bank a heads-up, so their radar doesn’t go up when they start seeing charges coming through from Gibraltar — or wherever you are.

Finalize the details

  • Compile a list of telephone contact numbers you might need while traveling, including airlines, hotels, touring companies, and your bank’s customer service and fraud departments.
  • Double-check your passport, especially if you haven’t been traveling. If it’s expired, renew early! Turnaround times are slower than usual.
  • Go digital with your documents Keep digital copies of your important documents on your phone – from passports, vaccination cards, boarding passes, to luggage tags, and hotel and car rental reservations. Tip: Take screenshots in case service is spotty.

During your trip

Don’t let financial woes or mishaps take your time and energy away from soaking up the sun or the sights. Here are a few tips to protect yourself and your wallet and keep you in vacation mode.

  • Bring more than one form of payment. Travel with your ATM/debit card, cash, traveler’s checks, and one or two credit cards, just in case one is stolen, damaged, or lost.
  • Use your debit or credit card to take advantage of better exchange rates and save money when traveling overseas.1
  • Perform cash withdrawals at a financial institution ATM, if possible.
  • Keep your bank account safe. When taking out cash, avoid freestanding ATMs that don’t have cameras, as well as those that are unaffiliated with a financial institution, and use your bank’s secure mobile app or a private computer to access your account.
  • Be vigilant of potential fraudulent behavior with your bank accounts. Regularly review your account activity and contact your bank to address issues so as not to impact account access.

Webster customers: You should always use caution when accessing your bank accounts from a public computer while traveling; you never know if a virus or malware has been installed on a public machine.

After your trip

  • Keep an eye on your accounts to check for any unusual or unauthorized charges for at least a month or two after your trip. But it’s not a bad habit to get into all the time!

 

Ready to start planning your trip?

Download our printable checklist.

 

1 Investopedia.com, 2021

* The creditor and issuer of these cards is Elan Financial Services, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. ©Elan Financial Services.

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General Disclosures

The opinions and views in this blog post are those of the authors, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult professional advisors with regard to your individual situation.