Before You Travel, Do a Credit Card Check-up

Florida is one of the top vacation destinations in the United States, and for good reason. Besides our #1 vacation spot (Disney World, obviously), there are all sorts of other destinations that pull millions of visitors from around the world to the Sunshine State every year (check out this list of ten great destinations).

Now that you’re getting excited about all the great things to see and do here, here’s a practical question: how will you pay for things on your trip? I’m not talking about hotels or flights—most of that is done well in advance. I’m talking about on the trip itself: what method of payment will you use when you’re actually on your vacation?

While you’ll always need some cash, primarily using a credit card for all of your spending needs can significantly simplify travel. Credit cards are easier to conceal and keep safe, and even if your card is stolen, you won’t lose money. Just report your card missing and any unauthorized purchases will be taken care of.

But credit cards are so much a part of our lives that we forget they may need a little routine check-up now and then. Before you head to the interstate or airport, here are a few credit card tips to consider.

  1. Call your bank before you go. Make a call to whatever bank issued your card and alert them of your travel plans. Credit card accounts are closely monitored for suspicious activity these days, and this will help ensure that your cards aren’t suspended when the issuer spots a disruption in your normal spending patterns.
  2. Check your credit limit and expiration date. The last thing you want is to find out that your card is not up to date in the middle of your vacation. Even if you’re sure you know, it never hurts to double-check.
  3. Are you a strip or a chip? The majority of Florida retailers now accept EMV “chip” cards … but gas stations have been slower to adapt to the new technology. Most chip cards still come with a magnetic stripe, as well … but again, it’s good to check.
  4. Keep those eggs out of one basket. Many couples share credit cards–a single account with two or more names attached. But what happens if one partner’s wallet is lost or stolen? Canceling the credit card will cancel all the cards connected to that account: if all you have are mirrored cards, you could be out of luck. A better idea is to split accounts between the partners, so if one set is lost, you still have a different set to fall back on.
  5. What about debit cards? In truth, you’re better off leaving those at home. Unlike credit cards, debit cards are a direct link to your bank account. You’re protected from fraudulent purchases made on a credit card, but the rules are different with debit cards. If you’re not careful, you can end up stuck with hefty bills for purchases you never made.

In the end, your vacation shouldn’t be defined by worries over being stranded with lost or non-functioning credit cards. Get your spending methodology down before leaving, take basic precautions, and allow your focus to shift to its rightful place: having a good time here in Florida!

Times 10 Travel

Being native to Florida, Times 10 offers valuable information to businesses both locally and abroad who are looking to make a viable, effective connection to the state of Florida. Times 10 covers the most widely used methods of travel, and helps deliver effective results to businesses.

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