Don’t Let Credit Cards Ruin Your Vacation

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Without a doubt, the summer is the most popular time of the year for people to travel. No matter where you’re going on your vacation, it’s important to plan ahead to make sure that your trip goes smoothly. For many people, credit cards play an important role in traveling. They’re often used to pay for everything from plane tickets to hotel rooms to dinner.

Many people have had negative experiences in the past while using credit cards on the road. There are a number of different nightmares that travelers need to watch out for in regards to their credit cards. By following the five pieces of advice here, you can help avoid the most common credit card issues and spend more time enjoying your vacation.

1. Make Sure You Bring More than One Card

It may not happen to everyone, but having a card frozen while you’re traveling can quickly put a wrench in your plans. For those who only carry one credit card, this can mean you have to stop everything until the problem is sorted out – and can also mean having no money available for food or lodging. In order to avoid being put into an emergency situation, be sure to bring multiple cards with you. Not only will this prevent a catastrophe from occurring, but carrying certain cards, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards, may offer you better rewards on some purchases that are commonly made while traveling.

2. Tell Your Card Issuers Where You Are Going

No matter how long you will be gone for, make sure to let your credit card issuers know when and where you are going. With all of the identify theft rampant across the world today, transactions out of the ordinary can be an immediate red flag to credit card companies. Taking a few minutes to call and inform your cards’ service providers of your plans can save hours of headache down the line.

3. Watch Out for International Fees

If you’re traveling around the world, watch out for international fees. These charges can add up quickly, especially if you’re using your credit card often. Many of the best credit cards out there with travel rewards also offer no international fees. For people who travel a lot, consider using a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred for the majority of your overseas purchases.

4. Plan Ahead Before Traveling to Europe

All across Europe, credit card issuers have been placing microchips in their cards for years. By this point, many card readers can only process the cards that have them. Unfortunately, this trend has not caught on in the United States yet, so it is likely you’ll run into equipment that cannot read your cards. Try to book and pay for as many things ahead as possible, and consider getting a prepaid card with a microchip once you get there for emergency purchases.

5. Don’t Lose Your Credit Cards

With our reliance on credit cards, it is crucial to make sure that you don’t accidently lose them while away from home. Do not carry all of your cards in your wallet or purse, but instead keep one or two separate, such as one hidden in your luggage and another at home with a friend that can overnight it to you. This way, in case you lose the cards with you, a backup can always be obtained. Also, keep records of your card numbers with a trusted friend to help further minimize the damage of a lost card. Another plan is to consider using a company that offers virtual credit card numbers to book reservations online in case you lose and must cancel your cards.

For many people, summer traveling is one of the most anticipated events all year long. Don’t let an avoidable credit card problem ruin your vacation. By planning ahead and being prepared with your credit card situation, you can ensure that your family has more time to enjoy the sights rather than spending time on the phone arguing with your financial company.

+Chris Mettler is a personal finance blogger. His blog is comparewallet.com where he shares his insights about credit cards and personal finance tips.