A summer vacation is the perfect time to relax and forego our tiresome daily responsibilities. However, this mindset leads some people to rationalize wasteful behaviors, such as failing to ensure that their bills are paid, paying absurd currency conversion costs, or traveling without insurance. Just because vacations give us an opportunity to experience once-in-a-lifetime moments doesn’t mean we should throw caution to the wind and not get summer vacation finance protection. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to protect your finances:
Summer Vacation Finance Protection
1. Arrange Payments Ahead of Time
In the bustle of preparing and packing for a vacation, it can be easy to overlook some important details — remembering to pay your utility bills, for example. Escaping from your 9-5 routine can be refreshing, but returning from vacation to find that your electricity has been disconnected is something no one wants to go through. Avoid late fees and other inconveniences by arranging your payments before heading out the door. One easy way to do this is to set up recurring auto-payments.
It is also prudent to maintain a bill payment schedule. This consists of making a list of all your bills, organized by due dates. Then, set aside a regular time each month to take care of payments. There are a number of mobile apps that can help you do this, such as Mint or Prism. A bill payment schedule will keep you on top of things and prevent a vacation from tanking your finances.
2. Avoiding Currency Exchange Woes
If your travels will take you out of the country, be cautious when converting currency. While street vendors and hotels often offer currency exchange services, they often have low rates and bogus high charges. Even airport kiosks have absurd rates and fees. You can avoid these shenanigans by exchanging currency before your trip with your bank or credit union. If your bank has an ATM network in the area you will be visiting, take advantage of it.
Alternatively, you can avoid this mess by using your credit or debit card whenever possible. This will circumvent the need to exchange currency altogether. Just remember to notify your credit card issuer prior to the vacation, since any unusual charges may cause your account to get locked.
3. Invest in Insurance
The threat of lost luggage just got a lot less scary. While travel insurance has some obvious benefits, many people don’t realize that homeowners insurance coverage often applies to your personal belongings whether they are at your home or not. Read the fine print on your insurance policy to make sure that your property is covered. While the reimbursement amount might be lower if your property is damaged or lost while you are away from home, insurance can prove to be a source of comfort for families preparing for vacation.
There is no question that insurance is necessary, however one question remains: How can you ensure that you are getting the coverage you need at a reasonable price? While Google Compare proved to be a popular and reliable method of getting insurance quotes, it was discontinued last year. This has left many consumers wondering where to get this information. Aside from directly comparing quotes yourself, it is wise to research insurance providers on consumer watchdog sites, such as Consumer Reports. This will help you learn about which providers to exercise caution with or to simply stay away from.
4. Continue to Earn Money
Not enough PTO to cover your time off? Anxious about keeping your finances afloat for when you return from vacation? Depending on your circumstances, and the length of your time off (listen up college students!), it might be smart to look into summer work, even when you are on vacation. This may not sound like an enticing proposition, but hear me out: While it might seem counterintuitive to work while on vacation, it can be a wise and enriching experience.
Many businesses at travel destinations seek out seasonal workers for short-term gigs, though employers often find it difficult to meet the work demand. As a result, it is remarkably easy to find such work during the summer months. Landing a job at a resort, summer camp, or restaurant can be a rewarding experience. Supplement your income (or your vacation pocket money) by searching through summer job postings.
A vacation doesn’t have to be a financially stressful time. Arranging your payments prior to your vacation can give you some much-needed peace of mind. Relying on your own bank and credit/debit cards can help you avoid currency exchange charges. Investing in insurance can protect you from financial ruin due to lost property. Finally, working a side gig can supplement your income and provide unique experiences. These steps can keep your finances secure during and after your vacation.