Summer vacations are in full swing and so are vacation plans for many families. While planning a vacation can be fun, taking time to do some pre-vacation precautions and planning will help you have a worry-free vacation.
Money and Vacation
Know your Budget: Know what your budget is before you step foot out the door. This will help you avoid overspending, and allow you to kick back and enjoy yourself.
Decide what to Carry: Decide which card(s) or form of payment you will be using and stick to it. While some people swear by traveler’s checks, others prefer credit cards. If you do carry cash-it’s best to spread it out between people in your party, and even stash some in a secret spot. Consider leaving a backup credit card somewhere safe when you venture out.
Plan Your Vacation Safely:
Emergency Budget for Vacation: Leave enough room in your vacation budget for accidents, ER visits, or unplanned expenses. It’s worth a little creative and careful budgeting to not have to worry about spending too much when you discover someone left their bathing suit at home or meals cost more than you anticipated.
Use a Credit Card: Use a credit card to secure and pay for your vacation arrangements-this will offer you flexibility, the ability to dispute any charges, and in some cases travel insurance (check with your credit card company). Even if you’re anti-credit, reserving your rooms with a credit card is savvy.
Debit cards have large holds placed on them when you check into a hotel or rent a car with them, while credit cards do not. You can pay with a debit card, cash, or traveler’s check-just reserve your room and car with the credit card.
Leave valuables at home: Leaving your valuables at home is safer than taking them on the road. Leave valuable jewelry, electronics, and other precious items at home. You can purchase a safe to keep them safe at home, or have a neighbor or house sitter check in on your house, pets, and belongings. Most importantly though do not trust that an airline will keep your valuables safe.
Store Important Papers: Especially if you have someone coming into your home put away all your important documents, any cash, checkbooks, etc.
Prepping for Vacation:
Stop Deliveries and Mail: Have the post office hold your mail (you can hold your mail online with a simple form), stop the newspaper delivery, and let your UPS driver know not to leave packages on your porch.
Be a Good Neighbor: Let a neighbor who is home frequently (a stay at home parent, or retiree) know that you’ll be out of town and to keep a lookout. Offer to do the same for them should the need arise.
Hire a Sitter: If you’re going to be away for a long period of time consider hiring a house or pet sitter. This will allow you to have someone check in on your house, plants, and pets while allowing you some peace of mind.
In Case of Loss:
Make Copies of Your Wallet Contents: People usually take time to empty our wallets of unnecessary clutter before a vacation, but take it a step further and make copies of everything in your wallet. Leave one copy with your important documents and scan another copy to have with you in case you lose your wallet.
Turn on Passwords: If you don’t already have a passcode on your phone, iPad, or laptop-set one up. If you have an Apple product set up the ‘Find my iPhone/iPad” app.
Know your Insurance: Know if you have travel insurance for your vacation, your deductibles for stolen goods, and any warranty info. If it’s too much to track spend 20 minutes making a document with pertinent info like homeowner’s deductibles, numbers to call, etc.
Avoid ID Theft on Vacation
Don’t Share Online: I know, I’m one to talk. 😉 Sharing vacation plans or live updates from vacation in a public forum can make your home a target for home invasion. Consider leaving it offline-or if you must share online, take safety precautions at home (like installing an alarm system, safe, or hiring a house sitter).
Don’t Rely on Safety of WiFi hotspots: Public WiFi hotspots can cause you to get computer viruses or malware without realizing it. It’s also a prime location for identity theft. Take precautions about getting online on the go, and don’t ever enter personal information, pay bills, or enter credit card info over a WiFi hotspot.
Monitor for ID theft and Credit Reports on the Go: Wether you’re going to be gone a week or have a long vacation planned setting up ID theft and credit monitoring will give you peace of mind. You’ll get email updates anytime your credit is run, and be able to followup no matter where in the world you are visiting.
Protecting your children’s identities is more important than ever (rising numbers of ID thefts are happening to minors simply because most children’s identities are not monitored. We use and recommend kID Sure because it’s comprehensive and easy to use.
For more see: Avoiding identity theft when traveling
While it may seem like a lot of precautions to take following these tips will help you have a worry-free summer vacation.
Disclosure: Identity Guard and KIDSure services were provided to me for review at no charge. In addition I received monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.