$ave & Protect Your Summer Vacations
Travel Tips to Prevent Identity Theft
According to a recent study released by Experian, one in five of us manage to lose some sort of sensitive personal information while traveling, from debit and credit cards to drivers’ licenses and passports. Not only can this ruin your trip, but it can also expose you to identity theft and financial fraud. However with proper planning, the following tips courtesy of identityguard.com can help you protect yourself and enjoy your vacation!
- Don't leave critical documents in hotel rooms: Ideally, anything you keep in a hotel room should be safe from prying eyes. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Since you can't guarantee that someone will end up getting their hands on the items you keep in your room, stay one step ahead by not leaving behind any sensitive information at your hotel in the first place.
- Don't leave these records in cars either: Rental cars are just as vulnerable to theft as your own automobile, if not more so - after all, you never really know who had - or still has - access to your vacation wheels. Never leave behind travel documents or other personal records in your rental car.
- Don't access bank accounts on public computers or Wi-Fi: Whether you're on a hotel computer or using your own device on a public Wi-Fi connection, you should never try to access any of your private online accounts. These public computers and networks often don't come with any sort of cyber protection, leaving your personal information completely exposed to ID thieves. It is much safer to only use your own devices on a cellular network or via a personal hotspot.
- Keep your eyes and hands on your electronics at all times: Smartphones, tablets, and laptops now contain more than enough data for ID thieves to hijack your accounts. If you have to take any of these devices out with you, make sure they don't leave your sight.
- Stay mindful of your surroundings: Unless you've frequented your vacation spot before, you'll likely be in unfamiliar territory, making it all too easy for others to prey on your personal information. Always be aware of people around you. This doesn't necessarily mean being fanatically suspicious about everyone present, but keep your eyes open for anyone who may be looking over your shoulder at the ATM, for example.
- Watch out for pickpockets: While they aren't much of a fashion statement, body travel belts or fanny packs, and “cross-body” bags that can be securely fastened and carried in front of you can help defend your personal possessions against pickpockets and thieves.
- Consider credit monitoring services: Before leaving on vacation, consider enlisting the help of a subscription credit monitoring service to oversee your credit activity and identify any suspicious transactions that appear during your travels. These services can keep you apprised of certain activity on your credit file that may indicate fraud, helping you to stave off identity thieves from causing further harm to your financial history. Please note, these services do typically have a monthly or annual subscription fee.
Ways to Save on your Vacation!
1. Set up a Separate Vacation Savings Account
It’s hard to not spend money. Seeing that you have an available balance while you’re shopping, you will most likely spend it. However, if you put funds in a separate savings account that is just for your vacation and check the account regularly it will keep you motivated and on track with your savings plan. Out of sight and out of mind!
2. Automate transfers as your direct deposit hits.
Each time you get paid is the perfect time to have a set amount transferred to your vacation savings account. Check with your employer to see if you can split your paycheck into multiple accounts. This can also come in handy if you need to save up for a big expense such as a car, wedding, or house renovations too!
3. Determine Your Vacation costs Now
To help save the proper amount, determine a rough estimate of your summer vacation cost months in advance. This way you will be able to focus on a target number before you leave instead of the night before trying to budget your trip. If you have the funds in your account for travel, food, housing, and souvenirs then you will be able to leave your money woes behind.
4. Scale back on leisurely expenses
Commit to cutting back on extras for at least 90 days before you leave. Take a closer look at your spending habits, and consider how much you are spending on eating out, entertainment, or even a last minute shopping trip. All that cash on the extras could maximize your deposit into your vacation savings account.
5. Prepare your own food
Dining out on vacations can increase your vacation spending a lot, but you can lower those costs by going grocery shopping when you get to your destination and making a few meals where you’re staying at.
6. Save your change
Although you might not be able to save up for your entire vacation this way, you may be able to save up for a part of it, like gas and souvenirs. Whenever you have some change, even as little as a penny, put it in a jar. You don’t even just have to save coins. If you have a few dollars throw that in the jar as well. Once the jar gets full, deposit that into your vacation savings account and over time you will see how much those extra coins added up.
7. Sell Stuff
We all have a few things that we want to get rid of or that we put in a “get rid of pile”. Take a look around your house and see if there is anything that you could live without. If any of these items do not have a use for you anymore put them on sell page like Marketplace, Craigslist, or even eBay to name a few! Chances are, if you haven’t used the items in the past year, you won’t miss them + you will enjoy the extra cash on your summer vacation!
"ProtectMyID." ProtectMyID RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://blog.protectmyid.com/2015/06/16/summer-travel-and-identity-theft-survey-results/>."6 Tips for Identity Theft Protection While on Vacation | Identity Guard." Identity Guard RSS. N.p., 2014. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://www.identityguard.com/identity-theft-resources/articles/identity-theft-protection-vacation-tips>.