Vacation Preparation Checklist: Nine Things to Do Before You Go on Vacation
Your time off has been approved and you are readily thinking through your packing list and planning the itinerary for your upcoming trip. Planning a vacation goes beyond double-checking that you packed your toothbrush, though. Before you embark on your well-deserved getaway, follow this guide to secure your home and your finances. Don’t leave home without crossing these ten things off your vacation to-do list.
Get Your Finances in OrderBefore jetting off, organize your financial affairs. Review your budget, pay bills in advance, and set up automated payments to avoid late fees – these are all tasks you don’t want to worry about while you’re away. Additionally, notify your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans – especially if you’re going abroad – to prevent any potential fraud alerts.
Secure Your HomeTaking precautions to protect your home is essential for peace-of-mind while you’re away. Consider installing a home security system or activating a monitoring service. Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to collect your mail, water your plants, and keep an eye on your property until you get back. This will create an impression that the house is occupied and deter potential intruders.
It’s also a good idea to put your mail on hold and stop ordering packages if they don’t have time to get there while you’re home. This way, you won’t have a mailbox full of envelopes or a porch full of packages for someone to steal.
Pack an Extra Credit CardDon’t go on a trip with only one form of payment. Should you fall victim to fraud or lose your card somehow, only carrying one form of payment could easily ruin your vacation. Pack at least two cards to be on the safe side.
Pro tip: if you have multiple credit cards to choose from, make sure you bring the cards that will offer you the most perks on your trip. For example, SouthState’s Travel Rewards Plus and Reserve Rewards Plus credit cards allow you to use them without accruing foreign transaction fees, and you’ll earn rewards for your purchases. If you’re traveling out of the country, this could save you money and give you a head start at earning points for your next vacation.
Prepare to Use Secure Digital PaymentsOpt for secure digital payment options such as mobile wallets or contactless cards as your primary payment method. These methods minimize the risk of losing cash or compromising your card details. It’s important to note although contactless payments are widely accepted, they aren’t accepted everywhere. Small businesses might not be equipped with the technology to accept digital payments, so we recommend always carrying a physical form of payment just in case.
Plan for Currency ExchangeIf you're traveling to a foreign country, plan ahead for currency exchange. Research the best exchange rates and consider exchanging a small amount of cash before your departure. Use reliable exchange services or withdraw cash from ATMs upon arrival for the most favorable rates.
To be on the safe side, try to use ATMs inside of banks or monitored areas, as banks have protocols to regularly check their ATMs for skimming devices and other technology that could lead to fraud. Always be on the lookout for sticky adhesive residue, damaged or crooked pieces, or any extra attachments on the ATM as this can be an indicator the machine has been tampered with.
Set Up Account AlertsTo keep a close eye on your financial activity, sign up for account alerts from your bank and credit card providers. These notifications will inform you of any transactions made with your accounts, helping you detect potential fraud early on.
Leave Room in Your Budget for an Emergency FundEstablish an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses during your vacation. Unforeseen circumstances can arise, so having a financial safety net will provide you with peace of mind, should there be any surprises. SouthState offers a range of savings accounts you can manage from your mobile device – in the unlikely event of an emergency, the money is available at your fingertips.
Share Sparingly on SocialWe know you’re excited to post photos from your trip on Instagram and Facebook, but it’s important to be cautious of what you share online when you’re away from home. Sharing photos in real-time makes it too easy to instantly notify large numbers of people that your home is empty, so it’s best to wait to post anything until after you return.
For more information on how you can safeguard your digital footprint while you’re traveling, check out these tips cyber-savvy travelers know.
Review Insurance CoverageEnsure you have appropriate travel insurance coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost luggage, and any valuables you plan to take with you (for example, your camera). Take note of the policy details and keep a copy of the insurance documents with you.
Now you’re ready to embark on your vacation, knowing your finances and home are in good shape. By following these ten essential steps, you'll ensure a stress-free and secure getaway. At SouthState, we're committed to supporting your financial well-being. Explore our comprehensive services and start your journey towards financial peace of mind today.