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Laker Cents: Money & Traveling: Here’s What You Should Know

If you’ve ever traveled anywhere, you probably know that the more prepared you are, the better. Having things taken care of in advance make the whole travel experience enjoyable and fun. We’ve heard the travel nightmares: three day layovers, lost baggage, empty gas-tanks and car troubles, and hotels that aren’t as promised. While these things are sometimes out of your control, you CAN take some steps to ensure your finances are in order before your trip!

First, let your financial institution know you’ll be traveling.  They’ll make note of it so your card doesn’t get flagged for potential fraud when you use it outside of your normal location. Mention if you’re driving or flying, which cities you will be stopping in for prolonged periods of time, and your departure and return dates.

Prepare for multiple forms of payment. It’s never a bad idea to have options. Having cash along with your debit card is a smart idea. Have a checkbook or credit card? Bring them along and store them in a safe place. You never know when you’ll need a backup form of payment in a sticky situation.

Going out of the country? Ask your financial institution about credit and debit card usage. At our credit union, debit and credit cards work anywhere in the United States but not outside it. You’ll want to make sure that you ask about this – if you use your card outside the country, it may be blocked.

If you need foreign money, you can order it from your financial institution. Call 2 to 3 weeks before your departure and explain which form of currency you need. This extra perk allows you to have foreign currency on you right when you reach your destination country. Although you can always use an exchange location, it adds an extra layer of security to be prepared.

Take advantage of Visa Travel Money cards. These can be purchased and filled at most financial institutions for a small fee and work anywhere in the world that Visa is accepted. They have a $100 minimum balance with a $5,000 max and are re-loadable for up to 7 years. This option is great for people traveling in and out of the country, because the compatibility and convenience remove the question of whether or not the card will be accepted.

If you lose your credit or debit card on vacation, act quickly! We know this is everyone’s worst case scenario and why we urge you to bring backup forms of payment. If it happens to you, call your financial institution as soon as possible to report the card lost or stolen to ensure you don’t have any unauthorized charges through your account.

Remember: you can never be TOO prepared when it comes to your finances while traveling. You should enjoy your experiences, not worry about them. Safe travels!

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