For many families, summer is a time for vacations and fun — but if you’re not careful, those summer trips could very easily result in financial problems. Your vacation won’t do much good if you come back home to find yourself dealing with late bills and other financial issues.
So what steps should you take before you leave for your vacation? The following tips are a must if you wish to keep your finances in check this summer.
1. Budget Your Vacation
One of the first things you need to do before your trip is establish a budget for your vacation. It can be incredibly easy to overspend while traveling, especially if you use your credit card for all your purchases. That extra meal in the restaurant or the extra souvenir from the gift shop may not seem like a big purchase, but even your smaller expenses can add up quite quickly if you’re not careful. Set a budget for your trip that accounts for all your expenses, including travel, hotels, food, and activities. Make sure you have enough money available to cover these expenses, as well as your normal financial responsibilities. Then stick to your budget! By not overspending, your vacation won’t lead to financial problems.
2. Schedule Bill Payments
Just because you’ve gone on vacation doesn’t mean your bills can go unpaid. Many families cause themselves unnecessary financial stress because they forget to pay bills before they leave on vacation. Late fees for rent and utilities can prove quite costly. Thankfully, avoiding these types of charges is easier than you might think. Many rent and utility companies now allow you to view your bill and schedule payments online. Some companies even allow you to automate your payments! By scheduling your payments before you leave for vacation, you can avoid a wide range of financial problems.
3. Put Mail on Hold
This may not seem like a financially important task, but if you’re planning on leaving for an extended vacation, it’s always a good idea to have the post office hold your mail until you get back. Most homeowners receive a lot of financial information through the mail — from paper billing statements and paystubs to credit card offers. Allowing your mail to pile up while you’re away makes your home a prime target for thieves — and if they find important financial information in your accumulated mail, you could end up with some serious monetary problems.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Fees
Traveling abroad is always an exciting experience, but if you’re not careful, your foreign travels could also result in extra expenses that push you past your established vacation budget. This is because many credit cards have high fees for purchases made abroad. It’s a good idea to investigate what kinds of charges you might accrue for using your credit card on your trip so you can plan accordingly and find ways to avoid these fees.
5. Be Electronically Smart
Most people understand the importance of protecting their wallet and luggage while traveling in order to avoid serious financial problems. However, it is just as important to be electronically safe while traveling. For example, your laptop, tablet, or smartphone very likely has confidential financial information stored on it, such as bank logins or credit card information. As such, you should take extra precautions to keep these devices safe. If you use a public computer while on your trip, you should avoid logging into sites that contain confidential information. Another user could use your browsing history to gain access to your information, and many of these computers are infected with malicious spyware that could record your information.
By taking a few extra precautions, you can ensure that your family’s fun summer vacation will also be financially safe, allowing you to have peace of mind as you enjoy your trip.