Most people plan to use their credit card when they go on vacation. Indeed, it is a reliable source of money when a family would prefer to have some freedom. If you plan your summer and going to finance it with your credit card, make sure you consider how to use it in the best way.
As you plan your family vacation this year, you will probably also plan to use your credit card to pay for it. This is a great idea for most families who want to focus more on the fun than the finances but it is extremely important to note that regulations, limitations, and certain specific stipulations that you might not be aware of can actually ruin your vacation plans. Plan your summer having in mind 5 things that can negatively affect your vacation:
First of all, many people do not realize how important it is to actually inform their credit card issuer about their summer travel plans.
While you might be responsible by informing someone about your plans (for, say, emergencies) Jordan Harvey, the co-founder of Knowmad Adventures, reminds that your credit card company needs to know what you are doing too:
70 percent of the time, they’re going to shut that credit card down right after the first time you use it.
The reason for this is that they will think that your card was stolen and so they will shut the card off to reduce liability. Of course, this happens most in Third World countries but it is still important to consider.
Secondly, it is extremely important to note that many credit cards used in the United States cannot necessarily be used in Europe. This is, obviously, a very big deal as many people would like to travel to Europe for a little vacation and it is especially true right now as the European market has been more readily willing to convert to cards with the new microchip technology.
This chip technology is very different from the magnetic stripe technology that has been popular in the United States for decades. For the sake of argument, for example, a 2009 survey by the financial services research firm Aite Group found that 50 percent of US travelers experienced trouble using their card in Western Europe with at least 25 percent of all travelers reporting that this conflict ruined their vacation.
Third, it is important to make sure that you understand that international service charge fee. The Pew Charitable Trusts performed a study in 2010 that found 91 percent of bank cards and nearly 60 percent of credit union cards charge a “foreign transaction” fee every time you make an overseas charge.
This fee is, on average, about 3 percent of the total transaction. You won’t know what you are being charged until you get your bill when you get home, and this is often quite a surprise. Plan your summer responsively.
Fourth credit cards are just as susceptible to theft when abroad as they are when you are at home. As a matter of fact, though, depending upon where you visit, you may be more of a target because of your tourist status. Indeed, Harvey points out that “World thieves are fairly clever,” so they are always on the lookout for unsuspecting victims.
Finally, if you want to get the most out of your travel experience, Andrea Woroch, a consumer savings expert, counsels that cardholders should make sure they understand all of the benefits their card offers. She says
Many credit cards offer travel perks and additional insurance coverage when it comes to rental cards, lost luggage, and airline cancellations, but most cardholders don’t know they have such benefits and end up doubling up, which results in spending unnecessary money.