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July 2017

Tips for Reducing Financial Stress Before, During, and After Your Vacation 

Do you have summer travel plans? If so, you’re in good company. According to AAA, 42% of Americans planning a vacation in 2017 will be traveling during the summer months, with most heading to warm weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad. While vacations can be the source of cherished memories, without adequate planning, they can also be a source of stress. Fortunately, a little foresight and planning can go a long way to heading off common vacation headaches, helping to ensure your getaway is the relaxing break you planned. Below is a look at how Americans are spending their vacation dollars in 2017, plus vacation stress-busting tips, to help safeguard your finances and your budget while traveling.

How Americans are Redefining Vacation Travel

Experiential travel has become more popular than ever as more people seek to maximize their travel dollars through meaningful travel experiences. Adventure-minded travelers are heading to dude ranches in the American West, scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef, and canyon-jumping in France. Those looking for less physically-challenging escapes are nonetheless seeking to facilitate deeper connections to various cultures and traditions, from dining with local families to receiving hands-on tutorials from local craftspeople. So where are they all going? The top destinations for 2017 are:

Top 5 International Destinations:

  1. Rome, Italy
  2. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  3. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  4. London, England
  5. Nassau, Bahamas

Top 5 Domestic Destinations:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  3. Anaheim, CA
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Las Vegas, NV

Source: AAA.com 

7 Tips for Safeguarding Your Finances and Reducing Stress While Traveling

No matter where you’re headed, escaping the daily grind for a few days or a few weeks requires advanced planning. The following tips will help turn your travel plans into vacation memories you and your travel companions will cherish for years to come.

1. Make a budget - Time spent researching and budgeting for the cost of travel, accommodations, activities, meals, and even shopping excursions will help you determine whether you’ve set aside enough or need to scale back your plans.

2. Make a packing list - Forgotten items, from cell phone chargers to rain gear can quickly deplete your vacation budget. Make a list of items you need ahead of time and check them off as you pack. If you’re flying, double-check the TSA’s most recent list of prohibited carry-on items.

3. Put a hold on mail - Don’t become a target for identity theft or a home burglary by letting mail pile up while you’re away. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will hold your mail at your local post office for free and deliver it in bulk the business day following your return, or you can choose to pick it up there yourself. Simply visit www.usps.com to put a temporary hold on your mail.

4. Bring the right credit card - Check your credit card terms and conditions to determine if your card charges foreign transaction fees which can add up quickly. In addition to saving on fees, some cards provide benefits from trip insurance to allowing you to check your first bag free, among other perks.

5. Notify credit card providers in advance - Avoid the hassle of proving you’re you while away. Most banks and credit card companies make it easy to notify them in advance of your travel plans either by phone, internet or mobile app. This can prevent your card from being frozen while you’re out of town due to activity that may appear unusual to your credit card company.

6. Make sure you're covered - While no one likes to think about the possibility of a medical emergency while traveling, being prepared for the unexpected can help you better manage the emotional and financial aspects of a crisis. Check your health insurance plan to see what types of out-of-network and international medical expenses are covered. If you’re worried about paying out-of-pocket costs for a health emergency when traveling, you may want to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy that covers such expenses.

7. Set up automatic bill payments - Nothing ruins a vacation afterglow faster than coming home to a pile of unpaid bills—especially if they’re overdue. To avoid late fees and interest charges, set up recurring bills for automatic payment and try to pay any remaining bills in advance of your trip


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