4/17/2013 4:15 PM ET|
How vacations can sink your credit
Don't leave your financial discipline at home before you hit the beach or the amusement park this summer.
In the spring, snow melts and flowers bloom and many people take time off for a little vacation. Regardless of whether your preferred vacation spot is just around the corner or on the other side of the globe, you might be surprised to discover that your sunscreen can keep you from buying a car this year. And your hotel room rental might keep you from buying a house next year. And the gate admission to your favorite amusement park might lead to a lost job.
I know it sounds outrageous because these vacation items are more or less harmless. But if your good financial behavior takes a hike while you're on vacation, these seemingly harmless things can lead you into trouble with your credit.
Even people who remain relatively vigilant with their credit could be tempted to let their guard down while on vacation, making several mistakes that can haunt them for years to come. Here are some common vacation-related credit mistakes:
Mistake No. 1: Sloppy identity theft precautions
While you enjoy laying on the beach or checking out the local sites of your favorite resort, do you know where your identification is? What about your credit cards? Don't just be cautious about theft; be cautious about identity theft.
A passport or credit card that is carelessly left out in the open in a hotel room or on a table near the pool contains enough information for an identity thief to spend your money without you realizing it. Most people are cautious about cash, but they don't take the same care with other items that can have an even longer-lasting impact on credit scores.
The best practice is to hide your identification and credit cards as diligently as you hide your cash, and make sure you have contact information of the appropriate organizations (like embassies and credit card companies) if these invaluable items go missing.
Mistake No. 2: Overspending
Vacations are usually when we splurge and enjoy a little extravagance. Some extra shopping, within reason, is OK as long as you can pay it back on time. However, once you factor in the souvenirs, the hotel minibar tab, a little gambling, some generous tips and a night out on the town in a great new outfit, that once-thrifty vacation looks very different on a credit card statement.
The best practice is to set a budget and stick to it. If you're worried, bring a prepaid debit card and leave your regular credit card at home.
Mistake No. 3: Being unprepared for emergencies
We go on vacations because they get us away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But sometimes those stresses and emergencies catch up with us. From medical emergencies to lost luggage to car repairs, vacations can come with high price tags during emergencies. For this reason, you should spend some "glass is half empty" time predicting what could go wrong before your vacation and doing something to help you prepare. Spending a little on travel insurance, for example, can provide peace of mind and help protect your credit if you are injured during your vacation.
The best practice is to assume the worst and be ready for it -- often with some insurance and pre-planning -- and you'll "invest" in a happier, healthier, more carefree vacation… that won't haunt your credit report for years to come.
Vacations should be restful, enjoyable experiences that erase the stresses of everyday life and build positive memories. Avoiding these three huge credit mistakes when you travel can ensure that it stays that way. If you want to make sure your credit hasn't gone south, you can monitor your credit score for free using Credit.com's Credit Report Card.
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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Some things to remember are vacations always cost more than planned.
I save ahead of time for vacation, rather than charge and try to pay later. I set aside cash each paycheck for vacation and it adds up. I rarely use credit cards (emergencies and car rentals), and the rest is cash or debit cards.
Planning is key when vacationing, as overspending is easy. I try to go places that offer at least breakfast, some resorts offer two or three meals daily.
If we go out, lunch is the big meal when we had the kids with us, same food but lower prices.
There are coupons and specials for most destinations.......I am a history buff, so national parks and museums tend to be a cost effective and fun day trip.
If I come back from a vacation with money, it is back in the bank for next time.
If your careless on your vacation it means your careless at home, the same goes if your a careful person. Just enjoy your vacation, have fun, no worries, stress free!!! That's what vacations are for.
The questions I have are:
What do you do about prescription drugs? Do you just bring what's left in your last open bottle?
Can you take bug repellant and sun screen with you on your carry on?
Do I need shots?
Do I need to do a money exchange or can I just let Mastercard or Visa Handle it?
What ID do I actually need besides my passport?
Is there vacation insurance? Like if I get everything ripped off and need to get home. What happens if I need medical care?
I assume I am going to an All-inclusive resort, but what are the pros and cons for that vs. just lodging.
This is for 3 adults and prefer a non family atmosphere. I do not want a swingers resort.
To be honest, I hate other peoples kids! I have heard horror stories about showing up and the rug rats are terrorizing the hallways and all the public areas, while Mom and Dad go about their business.
Find a vacation that the family can prepay almost everything. We took the kids, grandkids with us on vacation. Step one. Book well in advance for cruise for better rates. Another perk is it can be paid for over ax extended period. At the time of booking, buy vacation insurance for the mishaps. 2. Decide, if driving, where you will be staying, we booked a day before at Disney World and several after. We hit a time with specials on meal plans., which for us are the only way to go. We did not feel the larger meal plan was necessary, but at the time it was large dinner, breakfast and snack. What we found was that was all that really was necessary anyway. We booked, in advance of the trip where to eat, figured out tips, even what was food of choice for much. There are so many great places to eat, we decided on Cinderella's Palace (2 dinners for the one basically used), Marikeh, and some others. We picked Downtown Disney for the first night and an Irish Pub. With all of the walking on the trip, we did not have to worry one iota about calories. Each day we planned where we were going, had Magic Your Way, planning which parks were open to hotel guests early and which were open til midnight. We had fireworks out of our window at Cinderella''s Palace, fireworks on a ride to and from parks, fireworks on some beach, and again at Epcott. In the middle of all of that we went on the Disney Wonder for a 3 day trip-lucked out with the little ones free and actually a great price for everyone else. All was included except tips. The kids had places to go, a performance to be in, and dances and plays to attend. Of ship we went to Atlantis to see things, and Castaway Cay, their private beach.
Since we wanted to be extra precautious, we had the children fingerprinted at our local state police post-they gave us the prints to give to a family member if needed for emergencies and we went to the DMV and had State Photo ID's taken, which is a kids nondriver's license. They are so cute, at 4 one grandchild oprinted her name so that one had to look in the mirror to read it. Disney officer asked where we'd gotten them, thought they were a great idea. Disney does their own with a Famly portrait as soon as we walked on board the first time.
We also bought gasoline cards, for the trip, gift cards for chain restaurants (McDonalds, and such). We had and usually do have vacations paid for before leaving. On the way we went toArmstrong Space Museum (and of course Waffle House for the kids), Big Bone Lick, a good Kentucky stop for a walk and a stretch, a walk around Kentucky Horse Park, and a stay from one of the hotel chain clubs we're in. We went to Mammoth Cave, and of course Big Mike's Rock Shop and we went to Stone Mountain battlefield. Then we drove to Etowah Mounds only to find it closed by the time we reached there, in Georgia. We drove on to Orlando and stayed at a chain that was the Pits, the night before we went on to Disney Hotels(so much more convenient and safer).
On the way back same thing, more stops at free places, and eating with gift cards. For us, money needs to be well planned to get the most out of our bucks. It worked for us. It has since worked on less elaborate places as well.
it all boils down to planning. Even Disney sells gift cards, buy and occasional and use that to book when possible but apparently not all places at disney accept these, so ask before purchasing them. Really though, that was the most cost efficient vacation, because we hit the right prices, in the right season. It worked.
I don't have any money for a vacation after paying rent, food, and insurance.
It's more inconvenient and you will be more likely to use your brain.
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