Nothing puts a damper on a vacation quite like a lost credit card or overdrawn checking account. When you should be spending time exploring the local sights or lounging on the beach, you’re instead stuck on the phone trying to resolve a financial mix-up that’s putting a serious cramp in your travel plans. Sometimes, your wallet woes are due to bad luck, but often it’s your own money mistakes that put your trip in jeopardy.
With Americans spending an average of $941 per person on their summer vacations, according to American Express, there’s plenty of room for things to go wrong financially. Fortunately, a little planning and common sense can help you avoid the biggest money disasters while you’re away from home. Let’s take a look at the five worst money mistakes when you’re traveling.
1. Forgetting to tell your bank you’re traveling
“I’m sorry, your card has been declined.” Hearing those words from a cashier is awkward wherever you are, but they can be especially nerve-wracking if you’re traveling and can’t figure out an alternate payment method. To ensure seamless transactions while you’re on vacation, let your bank know you’ll be traveling, whether your trip is domestic or international.
“Banks have so many more sophisticated systems these days to monitor card transaction activity and look for anomalous behavior,” Nicole Lorch, senior vice president of retail banking at First Internet Bank, explained to The Cheat Sheet. Those security measures help keep your money safe, but can lead to problems if you forget to clue your bank in to your travel plans. Usually a few clicks on your account settings is all it takes to tell you bank or credit card issuer you’ll be on vacation in Chiang Mai rather than at home in Chicago.