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Charge Smart: 5 Credit Card Travel Tips

Unlock the world with every swipe: Your credit card is your ultimate travel companion!

Let’s set the scene: You’re all packed and ready for that dream vacation. But wait! Have you thought about the best way to finance your adventure? Using a credit card while traveling is not just about funding your trip – it’s about leveraging its benefits. Yes, we’re talking about booking that flight and maximizing the perks every time you swipe. Using the trusty plastic card is not only more secure than carrying wads of cash, but it also provides a clear record of all your purchases.

Here are five tips to make traveling with your credit cards easier and safer.

  1. Contact Your Card Issuer Before You Go
  2. Remember the days when we’d call our card providers before a big trip? (If not, ask your parents.) It might sound quaint now, but it’s still good advice. While many credit card companies boast advanced anti-fraud technology making this step seem redundant, giving them a quick heads-up about your plans can save you potential hassle. The last thing you want is an embarrassing moment at a posh restaurant abroad when your card gets declined.

    Your card issuer will likely ask you to provide information like when you’re leaving, where you’re going, and when you plan on arriving home. You’ll also want to make sure that the credit card you’re using is accepted at your destination.

  3. Unlock Rewards and Benefits
  4. Many credit cards come packed with rewards like points, cash back, and miles, especially when they are used for travel-related expenditures. This could translate to discounted flights, hotel stays, and even car rentals.

    Consider booking your trip through your card issuer’s dedicated rewards portal. Here, you can utilize accumulated reward points and often gain access to exclusive travel deals.

    Remember, all cards are not created equal. Some might surprise you with benefits like zero liability, auto rental damage waivers, travel accident insurance, and even lost luggage reimbursement.

  5. Carry Multiple Cards
  6. Diversify your card portfolio when traveling. Evaluate the travel perks of each card you own and pack those that offer the best returns. The more travel-centric benefits you utilize, the more value you extract from your spending.

    Always have a backup card or two. There’s no predicting when you might face a card decline, and it’s always good to be prepared. Different cards have varying degrees of acceptance worldwide, so ensure you’re not solely dependent on one.

  7. Keep Track of Billing Dates
  8. Stay on top of your billing cycle. Travels might distract you, but your credit card bill waits for no one. A missed payment can lead to unwanted fees. To stay ahead, think about setting up automatic payments.

    Here’s a handy hack you might not be aware of: If you’re not juggling bills and paychecks, remembering one due date can be a lot easier than remembering three or four. Call your card providers and get all your billing dates moved to the same day each month. It’s not something many credit card users do, but it can save you some stress, simplify payment management, and reduce the chances of missing a deadline.

  9. Be Vigilant About Secure Transactions
  10. Exploring new destinations is always thrilling. But remember, unfamiliar territories might present unfamiliar threats. Always stay vigilant for any skimming devices or suspicious activity when making payments.

    Use one of these secure payment methods: Contactless is safest, followed by chip-based, or swiping. The fewer the touchpoints, the better.

    A word of caution: Public Wi-Fi networks and shared computers, like those in internet cafes, are a gold mine for cybercriminals. Stay clear of them for sensitive tasks. If you need to check your account, rely on your personal cellphone and use your financial institution’s or card issuer’s official app or website. Safety first!