To the beach. Across the country. Overseas. No matter where this vacation season takes you, you'll want to plan ahead financially. Our tips can help.Book in Advance Making reservations as early as possible helps you lock in your preferred dates and rates. If you plan to redeem frequent flier miles or credit card reward points, ask about blackout dates. Keep in mind, airlines tend to limit the number of reward and frequent flier seats on high-demand flights. And, to avoid unexpected travel expenses, research luggage restrictions and carry-on fees ahead of time. Catch Up on Bills Making sure all your bills are current is essential before leaving town. If you're taking an extended vacation, consider setting up automatic bill payments or a web bill pay service—just be aware of processing times to avoid missing a payment. Take Credit Card Precautions Review your card balances and memorize their limits. Then alert your credit card company to your travel plans. Fraud departments look for unusual patterns in spending and could decline transactions. To reduce your risk of identity theft, empty your wallets of unnecessary cards and identification. If, while on vacation, you buy something that has to be shipped, pay with your credit card and save the receipt. If the item doesn't arrive when you return, speak to your credit card issuer about canceling the purchase. Research ATM Transaction & Currency Differences If you're headed overseas, be sure to memorize your PIN and its word equivalent. ATM keypads in many countries only display digits, not letters. Know your financial institution's daily withdrawal limit and how time zone changes may affect those limits. Also, research currency exchange rates and foreign transaction fees, especially since money is dispensed in local currency. Any foreign transaction fees will be in addition to any ATM fees your bank charges. Ask About Free Transportation Free shuttles to and from the airport and surrounding areas can save you a lot on gas and time. If your hotel doesn't offer shuttle service, ask how much a typical cab or shuttle fare is to help you plan ahead. Pack Snacks and Coupons Everyone loves a good meal. Before you leave, research budget-friendly restaurants near your destination. Take advantage of daily deals by searching online and downloading apps for your smartphone. When possible, pack your own bag of non-perishable goodies for both you and your family—granola bars, crackers, dried fruit, water, cereal—every little bit helps! Relax and Enjoy! By planning ahead, you'll be able to relax and make the most of your money and your vacation, creating wonderful memories for years to come!
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