How to Prepare Your Finances Before You Travel This Summer

School is almost out, Christmas is fast-approaching and the summer holidays are around the corner. The lead-up to a planned holiday is an exciting time – researching hot spot tourist destinations, comparing and organising day trips, checking out that Balinese resort photo gallery …

But before you can guarantee a carefree holiday, you’ll need to get your finances in order.

Set up automatic payments for bills

Depending on how long you’re going away for and where, it might be helpful to set up direct deposits or automatic withdrawals. That way, you won’t have to stress about finding Wifi and doing it yourself. This will include a little bit of forward planning to work out when your credit card statement, car loan repayment, mortgage repayment and utility bills come out.

Setting this up will help you avoid late fees or getting your service cut off because of a bill due in while you’re away. It’s also a good idea to have a small savings cushion available if you come back home with little to no cash.

Decide how you’ll be paying while away (and tell your bank about it)

Decide on what cards you’ll be using while you’re on holiday – whether that be credit or debit. Contact your bank to let them know about where you’re going and how long you’ll be away for, so they won’t deem any withdrawal or purchase activity suspicious if you’re travelling overseas.

Remember that most credit and debit cards charge a percentage for purchases that are made outside of your country – and that the foreign exchange rate on each card may differ. It might be a good idea to look into using a travel money card and load up cash before you fly (Canstar gave the ANZ, HSBC, Travelex and Qantas travel cash cards all 5-star ratings in 2018).

Invest in a travel budget tool

Expense trackers can be a traveller’s best tool if you want to avoid buyers remorse. It’s easy to splurge while on holiday and travel budget tools help to curb the behaviour. With this tool, you’ll be able to set a daily or trip long travel budget and keep track of your spending in categories.

Keep an eye on the exchange rates

Keeping an eye on fluctuating exchange rates can save you a lot of money if you decide to exchange your Aussie dollars for foreign currency before leaving. Checking your destination’s exchange rate at least four weeks in advance can help you save money. You’ll also be able to shop around to find the best exchange before getting locked into one rate.

We mentioned travel cards before – you’ll find that with some of these, you’ll be able to lock in the current exchange rate if you load money onto it before you leave. While you may benefit from a great rate without needing to worry about fluctuations while you’re away, there is always the chance the exchange rate could get even better.

Insure yourself before you leave

Holiday specific travel insurance is a must! This will cover you for anything that may go wrong while you’re away. Make sure to check what your policy will cover you for. You’ll find that most travel insurance policies will cover sickness, accidents, theft of belongings, cancelled trips, etc. It’s also a good idea to have a look at your current insurance company to see if they have any travel deals for members.

There’s nothing worse than winging it, hoping for the best, and then breaking a leg that piles you with foreign medical bills and weeks out of work when you get back. It’s imperative you have insurance before you leave the country to cover you for any unexpected or unwanted events that may occur along the way. It’ll save you a *big* financial headache in the future.

Update important documents

Make sure your life insurance policies, wills and other important documents are up-to-date. We don’t mean to put a damper on the excitement, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

At Select, we make finance simple.