Summer travel season has arrived! Whether you’re going to the beach, the lake, the mountains, or “The Happiest Place on Earth” (at least from the kids’ perspective), summer vacation can be expensive. It also can put you at risk for theft — both of your personal belongings and your identity.
According to Experian, the average per-person cost of a vacation is $2,275, and half of this expense is put on a credit card. Planning ahead, setting a budget, and saving money in advance are essential for a debt-free vacation. Even after putting in the time and effort to start a vacation fund at the bank, using credit can be a smart financial choice. Here are seven ways using credit as a financial tool during your summer travel can help you have a safer, less-expensive vacation without taking on debt.
Figuring out foreign currency can be like Harry Potter counting Muggle money. Using a credit card can eliminate uncomfortable stares from the locals, who you know are thinking, Yup, they’re tourists, while you and yours hold up the line deciding whether the gold coin with the lady on it or the silver coin with the man is the right change. A credit card can also automate the calculation of exchange rates. Look for cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Finally, credit cards hold up much better than cash when you drop your wallet in the pool.
2. Travel insurance
Some credit card agreements provide travel insurance when you book flights or hotels. You’ll be glad you didn’t reserve those nonrefundable tickets with cash when the hurricane blows through two weeks before departure…