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5 money tips for safe travel

When you’re traveling, money matters. Whether you're a seasoned globetrotter or setting out on a maiden voyage, financial considerations can make or a break your trip.

No matter where you’re headed, find savings, spend confidently, and avoid fraud by following these 5 tips.

1. Set up a spending plan

You’ve worked hard to save for your upcoming trip, but small expenses add up fast. Drafting a realistic travel budget is the first step to sticking to it. Consider including these sections in your spending plan:

  • Transportation: From planes, trains, and automobiles to gas, tips, and parking
  • Entertainment: Day trips, entrance fees, souvenirs, shows, rentals
  • Food: Meals, snacks, coffee stops, happy hour
  • Lodging: From hotels to vacation rentals (plus the associated tips and fees)
  • Emergency fund: Set aside a margin at your disposal should something go wrong

2. Find savings before you go

Often, the easiest way to save money is in advance. Here are some things to consider when making arrangements for your trip:

  • Redeem airline miles, hotel loyalty points, and rental car discounts
  • Book hotels that offer free breakfast
  • Choose accommodations with a kitchen so you can cook
  • Take advantage of memberships that offer travel discounts
  • Consider credit cards with travel benefits, such as Numerica’s Visa Platinum or Visa Luna*
  • Research vacation rental options, which can be cheaper than hotels
  • Weigh the costs and convenience of transportation options (rentals, ridesharing, public transit, etc.)
  • Make dining plans in advance to avoid hangry, expensive regrets
  • Compare the savings of booking sites and bundles against the convenience and comfort of booking directly

3. Understand trip protections available to you

It’s nearly midnight. You’ve made it to the front of the car rental line. All you want is the keys. Instead, you find yourself considering a variety of rental car insurance options. Do you need these add-ons?

This is just one example of how advance legwork can be a game changer for your trip.

  • Rental cars: Check if your personal auto insurance policy or credit cards offer coverages
  • Air travel: Review trip protections that came with your booking
  • Medical: Does your health insurance plan provide coverage where you’re going?
  • Lost or stolen luggage: Some home and renters’ insurance policies cover this
  • Trip cancellation, roadside assistance, and more: Many credit cards, such as Numerica’s Visa Platinum, include a variety of protections*

The travel insurance option

If you find gaps in your protection that concern you, travel insurance may provide a safety net. Common types of travel insurance include:

  • Trip cancellation: Returns prepaid, non-refundable deposits if you cancel for a reason noted in the policy.
  • Travel delay: Reimburses expenses incurred due to travel delays, for reasons noted in the policy.
  • Travel health insurance: Covers medical expenses during the trip.

4. Bring more than one payment method

Whether traveling to the next state or the next continent, it’s smart to keep your payment options open — and plentiful. Here are pros and cons to help you decide when to use cash, credit cards, and debit cards.

Cash

  • Pros: Easily accessible; accepted or exchanged worldwide; can be used for small purchases in cases where cards may not
  • Cons: Can’t be replaced if lost or stolen; need to collect receipts if you are expensing

Credit cards

  • Pros: Offers purchase protection and rewards; can be added to mobile wallet; fraud detection, alerts, and defenses, such as chips and tap to pay features
  • Cons: Not accepted in all places or for all purchases

Debit cards

  • Pros: Access cash from ATMs; encrypted, contactless payment options; fraud detection and alerts
  • Cons: Not accepted in all places or for all purchases; fraudulent transactions pull funds directly from your bank account

International considerations

If you’re traveling out of the country, it’s important to research the payment options you’ll have available once you arrive at your destination. Some countries make it easy to use credit cards, offering added protections. Others favor cash transactions, and credit transactions may not be available. Will your debit card be able to withdraw local currency from an ATM at a favorable exchange rate?

Here are some best practices to consider when traveling internationally:

  • Shop around, as currency conversion fees can vary widely
  • Buy a small amount of currency before you leave home
  • Research if U.S. dollars are accepted where you’re traveling
  • Bring some U.S. dollars with you (keep in mind some foreign exchange services won’t exchange older currency or smaller denominations)
  • Avoid airport exchange kiosks that often have high fees and less favorable rates
  • Sign your cards; some foreign banks won’t give local currency off an unsigned card

5. Take steps to protect yourself from fraud

Numerica credit and debit cards come with enhanced security measures. This guards your finances wherever you happen to be. Alongside our partners at Visa, we operate a global system that runs around the clock to detect potential fraud on member accounts.

Here are some dos and don’ts to protect yourself from fraud.

Do

  • Confirm your contact info before you leave: Numerica will always alert you of suspected fraud. If we can’t reach you to confirm a purchase, your card may be temporarily blocked. That’s why it’s important to doublecheck your contact information on your Numerica account before you go. You can do this through Online Banking or at a branch.
  • Stay connected to communication channels: This can pose challenges when traveling abroad. Since we notify you of potential fraud by text or phone, check with your mobile carrier about international travel plans. If you won’t have access to your phone, consider alternate ways to get in touch with us, such as our website chat function.
  • Reply when you receive a Fraud Text Alert: When you receive an alert from us, reply as soon as possible. If you confirm the charge is legitimate, your card should continue to operate as normal. If you didn’t make the transaction, your card has likely been compromised. We will immediately block the card and walk you through your next steps.

Don’t

  • Give out PINs and codes: We will NOT ask you for things like a debit card PIN, the 3-digit security code on your card, or a text message verification. If someone asks you for this information, they may be trying to add your card to their own digital wallet in order to defraud you.
  • Place a travel notification: In a previous era, we asked cardholders to let us know when they traveled. This helped with the fight against fraud. Today, your card is 100% ready for use anywhere in the world. The frontlines in this battle have shifted away from geographic and physical considerations.

Numerica: your partner in the fight against fraud

Helping you live well financially means Numerica is with you every mile of every journey you take. We’re here to help when it comes to battling fraud and keeping your accounts secure. Visit our library of fraud and security resources for more articles to help keep you safe.

*Here’s the legal stuff: All loans subject to approval.

Today's Rates

May 28, 2024