Whether you are a corporate jet setter or are just taking the family across the country for a nice vacation, there are some important things to consider about your credit cards. Follow these simply tips to avoid getting further into debt or becoming a victim of identity theft:
Plan and watch your spending — Many people try to set a budget for vacations, but most don’t stick to it. The costs of eating out, fun activities, and souvenirs can really add up if you aren’t tracking your spending. Using a credit card can make this worse, as you typically aren’t paying much attention to how quickly your balance is growing. Create a budget and track your spending through receipts or balancing your ledger to keep you better within range.
Set alerts for your accounts — When you are away from home it can be easy to forget whether you left the porch light, locked the back door, or paid a bill. If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time or have bills due while you are away set an alert on your phone or calendar to remind you. Missing a payment because you were on vacation isn’t an excuse your creditors are likely to accept or be flexible over. Be sure you know what financial obligations are timed with your vacation and take the time to ensure you are on time with your payments.
Stop the mail — While it is true that tampering with mail is a federal offense, that won’t stop a criminal with a mission. There is a lot of personal and identification information that travels through the mail, and its information you certainly don’t want lying around unsupervised. Those preapproved credit applications are a disaster waiting to happen the hands of a criminal. Put a temporary hold on your mail while you are away from home to prevent any chance of identity theft through stealing of your information.
Be mindful of internet usage — If you do need to check your bank account, make a payment or have access any financial information while you are away be sure you are only using a secure internet connection. Wifi connections are rarely secured and are easily breached. Only use a trusted connection, and be sure to log out of any active sessions. You may also want to delete the history and cookies inside the browser to ensure none of your information is being stored.