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Three Vacation-Related Blunders to Avoid

vacationMany of us are excited at the notion of traveling again. As we begin to get back into the groove of planning trips, there are some key vacation blunders to avoid making.

1) Going into debt to travel – There are tons of promotions out there. One offer that comes to mind encourages people to apply for a home equity line of credit to use the money for travel. This essentially allows a person to borrow against the equity in their home. But there are serious risks involved. Not only might it lower credit scores and cost fees, but it can also put one at risk of foreclosure. Putting trips on credit cards is also risky because vacationers can end up with high balances. Janet decided to do this. When all was said and done, she came home and discovered she lacked the income to make adequate monthly payments. Failing to meet monthly balances increased her credit card debt by adding on interest and late fees, destroyed her credit scores, and created financial and emotional stress. Bottom line: No matter how great a trip sounds, it always best to save for it first.

2) Failure to plan – Bob and his family decided to take a vacation to Miami Beach, Florida. They arranged their flight and hotels but decide to get the rental car at the airport. They wait in line only to discover that there are no rental cars available. Currently, fewer than usual rental cars are accessible because of the economic downturn related to COVID-19. Additionally, there are rental agency replenishment deficiencies due to the semiconductor chip shortage. Regardless, failing to adequately plan the travel details of his trip cost Bob and his family, as they were beholden to use more restrictive and expensive options such as taking taxis. This added undue stress to their trip from the get-go, as their luggage didn’t fit in the taxi, and they had to take two separate ones from the airport to the hotel, costing them double the price. Bottom line: Don’t wing it. For a smooth run, take the time to plan the important details of your trip.

3) Forgetting to notify the bank of foreign transactions – Delilah and Joe took the vacation of their dreams to the Amalfi Coast. But, when they went to use their credit cards, their transactions were initially denied due to unusual activity on their accounts. Not only did this cause them embarrassment, but they had to get on long distance calls to straighten the matter out with the bank. They forgot to notify the credit card company that they were traveling. The company took the correct action by denying the transaction to protect their account from fraudulent activity, but this situation could have been avoided had the couple set a travel alert up with the credit card company in advance. Each credit card company has a different method to report travel, but you may also call the number on the back of your card to speak to an agent. Bottom line: If you plan to use credit at international locations, make large purchases far from home, or use credit cards that you haven’t used in a while, it’s a good idea to set up a travel alert with your card company.

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