Dayia Shurtleff, marketing, Lewiston State Bank
Are you dreaming of going somewhere exotic this summer? Foreign travel is a great way to experience different cultures and truly “get away” from your hectic day-to-day routine. If you are planning to take a trip outside the United States in the near or distant future, try implementing some of these easy tips to make the financial aspect of foreign travel a little less of a burden.
Create a separate travel checking account. Creating a separate checking account specifically for your vacation fund is a great way to both help you save up for adventures and protect your primary funds while you are gone. Keeping a separate travel account also encourages you to keep on budget while on vacation and ensures that if you lose your card, unwanted transactions will stay away from your primary funds. Find a checking account that offers interest and allows you to withdraw from any ATM without paying extra fees.
Monitor exchange rates. If you are heading to a country with different currency, you may want to monitor exchange rates weeks or months in advance. You can occasionally get a better exchange rate compared to historical exchange rates if market conditions are favorable. Exchanging your currency at a local bank rather than at the airport could help you avoid fees associated with the exchange.
Let your bank know where and when you are traveling. Most banks perform extensive security checks on your accounts to keep your money safe from fraudulent transactions. If you don’t alert your bank of your travel destination and dates, they may put a freeze on your account when you purchase that souvenir in Brazil. Make sure to inform your bank when and where you are traveling anytime you take a foreign trip.
Create an itinerary. Even if you are more of a “go with the flow” kind of person creating an itinerary for your trips with rough estimates for costs can help you budget your funds more efficiently and can also help you accomplish more while on your trip. It does not have to be minute by minute, but estimating how much you think you will spend each day can help you avoid overspending.
Research the little things. While most people research big excursions and hotels in detail, it’s not a bad idea to do this for little things such as restaurants or local attractions. You can often find menu pricing and reviews of local eateries online. This can help you better plan your food budget and avoid dinner disasters. Looking into local shop reviews and local events that are occurring during your trip can help you discover unique destinations that will make your trip more authentic.
Know how to contact your bank in an emergency. In some foreign countries 1 800 numbers are not available or will incur heavy fees. Check with your bank before you head out to make sure you have any foreign contact information you might need in a financial emergency.
Pay bills a month ahead. Even if you try your hardest, going over budget on vacation can happen. We suggest paying all of your next month’s bills in advance to avoid any financial stress upon your return.