A Vacation Checklist to Ease Your Mind

The last thing you want to think about when your toes are in the sand is whether or not you paid the electric bill. Stop guessing and pay your bills in advance. A convenient feature of online banking is the ability to schedule payments to be made on your behalf while you are away. There will be less paper waiting for you when you get home if you switch to paperless billing. If you need to delay any paper correspondence, you should call the post office. This not only helps you maintain a clutter-free mailbox, but it also makes it harder for thieves to steal personal information from things like bank and credit card statements.

It's common to use your credit card or debit card while out and about in a foreign country or city. When you are on the road, it is important to take precautions against credit card fraud. If you make a purchase in an unusual location, your phone's location services may be able to verify the purchase for you if you have them turned on. Due to ongoing security efforts, including monitoring your accounts and sending automatic alerts to your phone or email if suspicious activity is detected, Bank of America no longer requires customers to set travel notifications. You should make sure your email and mobile phone number are on file with your bank and credit card company before you leave.

In recent years, the use of online and mobile banking has grown significantly. But for the frequent traveler, the convenience of online and mobile banking allows account management from nearly anywhere, even the beach. Keep in mind that you'll need to know the answer to your security question whenever you use a different device to access your online bank account.

Use this one as a comfort item. It's a good idea to duplicate important travel documents like your passport, credit cards, and airline boarding passes in case of an emergency. Don't forget to bring a copy along with you, and leave one with a loved one back at the house. To protect yourself in case your belongings are stolen, some travel sites suggest photographing the documents and storing the digital copies in the cloud. The specifics of your trip should be shared with a trusted person.

It's tempting to want to show off your travels by posting photos online, but you should be careful about who can see them. Make sure you're only sharing with people you know and trust by adjusting your social media's privacy settings. Take care with the wireless networks you join. If you don't want complete strangers to be able to see what you're doing on your device, you should stay away from public Wi-Fi. If you absolutely must use public Wi-Fi, make sure your browser starts with HTTPS:// or use a VPN. The best protection against viruses, malware, and other online threats is an up-to-date operating system, as well as updated security software and applications. Keep up with the latest developments in cybersecurity for enhanced online safety.

Make sure you can access your accounts securely while you're away from home in a foreign country. You should get your PIN ready before going abroad. At some foreign ATMs, a four-digit PIN is the maximum that can be used. A zero at the beginning of your PIN is not a good idea, and you should memorize your PIN in numerical order in case you need to use an ATM in a foreign country that does not use the standard set of key symbols. Your credit card's PIN number may be required by some card readers abroad. The personal identification number (PIN) associated with your card will be required in these situations. It's best if you can recall your PIN and not have it written down or carried around in your wallet.

Be familiar with your health insurance policy's coverage details in case you require medical attention while abroad. It's important to know ahead of time which doctors in the area are part of your insurance network if you have a preexisting medical condition. It's possible that your insurance won't protect you if you get sick or injured while traveling abroad. Should this be the case, there are temporary plans available from private companies that cover international travel.

If you plan on traveling with permanent identification cards, you should bring at least two. It's important to remember that temporary cards don't always work, and that it may take several days for replacement cards to arrive. Verify the expiration dates on the cards and make a note of the customer service phone numbers; put both of these pieces of information somewhere safe. Think about getting a credit card from a bank or other issuer that uses chips if you'll be traveling internationally, as the chip makes it harder for thieves to steal your information and create a counterfeit card. To prevent merchants from seeing your actual credit card number when making purchases, you may want to add your eligible debit and credit cards to your device's digital wallet.

If you're taking a trip within the United States, it's smart to bring some cash in case your bank doesn't have any branches or ATMs where you plan to stop. Pre-ordering foreign currency is a good idea for any trip abroad. You can avoid the hassle of finding a currency exchange and instead immediately use your local currency to pay for taxis, snacks, and other incidentals upon landing.

While your bank may be a national chain, that doesn't mean there will be a branch or ATM near your destination. Locate the nearest place of interest to your intended destination. This is also true for trips across international borders. Travelers should research whether or not their domestic financial institution has formed relationships with foreign financial institutions. There is a chance that you can avoid ATM fees by using the services of a bank with which your own bank has an affiliation. Your bank's partner network information is probably readily available on the bank's website or via phone. Finding an international partner ATM is easy with Bank of America's locator.

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