Call your bank to place a travel alert on your card. Your bank’s fraud detection service is a wonderful resource to protect your money, but it will be a huge source of frustration if your card is blocked when you stop for gas and drinks on the interstate. Be sure to tell your bank a few days before you leave where you will be traveling and when so your card is less likely to be declined for possible fraudulent activity.

Update your contact information with your bank. Does your bank have your current cell phone number? Will you be staying in one area for an extended period of time and need your account statements sent there? Did you know that your bank statements may not forward to a seasonal address? Your bank should have up-to-date contact information on file to make it easy to keep in touch with you in case there are any questions or concerns about your account while you are away.

Schedule payments ahead of time with Bill Pay to ensure your bills are paid while you are traveling. Vacations are no fun when you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat because you forgot to pay your car insurance or the electric bill. Use Bill Pay to establish your payees, then schedule the payment dates and amounts to be paid before you leave so that you won’t have to worry about forgetting a due date.

Set a budget for your trip and stick to it. Sit down and think about how much you want to spend on airfare, hotels, rental cars, food, entertainment and souvenirs. Write down the maximum you can spend in each area and keep it with you while you travel to prevent you from overspending.

Have more than one payment option available to use. Don’t just rely on one debit or credit card to make all of your purchases while on vacation. Emergencies happen; be sure to bring at least three forms of payment, including a bit of cash or the area’s currency if traveling outside the US.

Check your balance on the go with your bank’s app or text banking service. Most financial institutions offer a mobile app and text banking for accessing your account balances and history on the go. When logging into your account, be very careful not to connect to a public Wi-Fi connection; keep your information safe by using a hotspot on your phone or a secure connection.

Yvette Temple

AVP, Customer Solutions Manager