Barbara Daroca: 5 To-Dos Before Going on Holiday

Most of us spend hours comparing flight and hotel prices and are very good at money when booking our holiday in advance, but we tend to lose our financial savviness as the date gets closer. Here are 5 basic things that can help you keep your finances in check while you are away.

1. Consider what type of insurance you want or might need while away. From medical expenses to lost baggages or cancelled trips, unexpected events can have significant financial consequences. Make sure all the members of your family (and pets, if you are travelling with them) are covered by your policy.

2. Not everything that glitters is gold and that is especially true of credit cards. Check the conditions of your credit card: can you withdraw money abroad? Does your credit card offer assitance and/or insurance while travelling? It’s the case for ING Visa cards, which even include travel insurance (accident insurance as well as cancellation, lost or delayed luggage and more).

3. If you are travelling outside the Euro zone, learn about the exchange rate of the currency you will be using when dining or buying souvenirs. Check the exchange rate from reliable sources, like The Financial Times, to avoid ugly surprises. Think about where you will buy the new currency – airport shops tend to offer the worst conditions! You should also take a look at the tax system of the country: can you recover VAT before flying back? In the US, different states tax different items and the tax is not always displayed on the pricetag. And, last but not least, check for roaming fees – it’s easy to forget now that they are abolished in Europe.

4. Decide which credit and debit cards you will be using and let your bank know where you are going and for how long you will be gone, so the charges and withdrawals you make while you are out will not be flagged as suspicious (this could lead to your cards being blocked for security purposes!).

5. Set up banking tools like automatic push notifications or email alerts when your account balance goes below a defined level, when you use your credit card (even for amounts blocked but not charged yet, booked by hotels or car rentals) or when a transaction is flagged or declined. These notifications also protect you from identity theft.