Credit Card Checklist for Holiday Travel

December 4, 2015, Written By Bill Hardekopf

Taking a trip for the holidays? You may want to take a look at your credit card account before you head out the door. There are some preparations every credit card user needs to take before going on vacation.

  1. Notify your credit card company if you are traveling to a different state or country. Some issuers may consider charges you make outside of your home state as “suspicious,” and they could temporarily put a hold on your account as a result. Alert them to your trip, and chances are, they won’t flag any transactions you make.
  2. Pay your bills ahead of time. You don’t want to miss a payment and have to pay a steep finance charge and late fee. Missing a due date could also damage your credit score.
  3. Understand your rewards program. Many issuers offer increased rewards at certain times of the year if you make purchases in specific categories. Check the terms and conditions of your rewards program to maximize your benefits.
  4. Review your credit card spending limits. Don’t try to make a $3,000 purchase on vacation if you have a $2,500 limit on your card. If you know you are going to go over your credit limit, ask your issuer for an increased limit or take an additional credit card on your trip.
  5. Upgrade your rewards program. If you have had your credit card for a long time, the issuer may be able to offer you a different card with better rewards before you start spending money.
  6. If you are going to a foreign country, consider getting a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Some cards charge up to 3% more for purchases made in a foreign country. Finding a card without foreign transaction fees can save you quite a bit of money on your trip.

Address these details on your credit card account and your vacation will be free of some financial hassles.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 4, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.