Credit Card Usage Tips During Vacations

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Credit Card Usage Tips during Vacations

Source: Cayman

With summer vacations about to start soon, most people are likely to be planning a trip to Disneyland, a beach somewhere, a new city to explore, an out-of-state or international location to help the family bond and relax. Additionally, traveling can be a learning experience as well.

However, even traveling within your state can lead to additional expenses because you need to pay for accommodation, gas, car rentals or possible maintenance, and restaurant food. Additionally, a vacation can involve the purchase of theater tickets, boat or diving kit rentals, ski slope fees, ski equipment rental, travel insurance, and so on.

Most people use credit cards to book airline tickets, hotels, and rental cars. Additionally, credit cards are a safer and more convenient way to pay for all the expenses incurred during the trip. Instead of coming back from the vacation to a huge credit card bill, you can maximize the returns from your credit card usage to reduce your holiday bill significantly even as you enjoy a sterling and mesmerizing vacation.

Reward Miles

Many travel credit cards offer reward air miles for purchases made through them. By using these cards throughout the year to make purchases of groceries, gas, medicines, and clothes you can significantly reduce your air fare costs. Collect the reward points and redeem them for air miles that you use toward the family vacation. You might find that you can now afford to visit destinations farther away from home.

Specialized Portals

Additionally, these cards offer bonus miles if you use them to book air travel and extra points when used through a recommended travel portal. This combination usage can help you reduce air fare costs not only for this vacation but the next as well. Travel portals that offer the facility to book airline tickets, car rentals, and accommodation often have special deals for those who book all of these facilities through their portal. By making such a booking you can obtain a discount on the total costs or free travel insurance cover.

Before you book your air tickets, you should research all the offers and deals available on all the cards you and your spouse own between you and compare the rewards offered. This pooling of resources can help you pick the best deals for your family.

Partnerships

Many travel credit cards have partnerships with hotels and car rental companies to offer superior rewards when bookings are made using the specific card. By researching these deals before you make a booking either of a hotel or a car rental you can either obtain discounts, additional air mile points or reward points, or even an extended stay. As such it makes sense to keep a list of all the credit cards you have and research all the offers they have at present before making your booking. Just changing the car rental company or the hotel can lead to substantial rewards when using credit cards.

Insurance

Some credit cards offer free or discounted travel insurance if they are used to make the travel bookings. This can help you recover expenses if illness delays or prevents the vacation or illness or accidents mar your trip. Booking a rental car through a credit card that offers insurance cover for the use of the car can save a significant sum and provide peace of mind. Some travel insurance covers drug store costs as well, offering greater savings in the long run.

No International Transaction Fee

If you are planning to travel abroad, you should use a credit card that does not charge an international transaction fee. This will help reduce your overall expenses with ease as many credit cards charge 3 percent of the transaction value as international transaction fee. See No International Transaction Fee card offers.

Cash Back Cards

While using credit cards, take optional cards that offer cash back on purchases at national or international restaurant and grocery chains. This will ensure that you obtain an automatic discount every time you eat out or purchase groceries when on vacation.

In order to maximize the returns and rewards offered by the various credit cards you won, you need to first research all the deals and offers they have. Next, you need to calculate the financial value of each of these offers and compare them to see which one is the best for your needs. This will depend on a combination of factors such as the cards you own, the offers available, your vacation destination, your mode of travel, the composition of your family, your place of stay, and your planned holiday activities.

For instance if you plan to stay in a condo and cook, you should take a cash back card that enables you to save on grocery costs, while those staying in a hotel should use a card that offers an extended stay, meaning that you pay for two nights but get to stay an extra night for free. Some cards or resorts offer discounts for young children, so this needs to be factored in when choosing accommodation for the vacation.

The frugal traveler can enjoy a dream vacation at an exotic destination by combining careful planning, research, and the right credit cards to reduce the total cost of the trip. By planning ahead about which card to use for restaurant meals and which for paying for gas, you can easily have a hassle free vacation at a lower cost.

While credit cards are convenient and offer significant rewards for travelers, they need to be used with care. Keep in mind that the benefit of these rewards will vanish if you miss a payment and end up paying high interest charges for a late payment. Even when planning to use a credit card to maximize the discounts and rewards obtained during the vacation, you should plan to have sufficient funds available to pay them off as soon as you return from your vacation or your post vacation will probably mean your last vacation for a while.

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About Author

Benjamin is from Sacramento, CA. He has 2 master’s degrees and served 4 years in the U.S. Navy. He has worked at Wells Fargo Financial and has been investing in equities since 1995. He is a constant reader of finance articles and books related to business.


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Advertiser Disclosure

CREDIT DAD is an independent, advertising-supported website. Many debit cards, credit cards and other financial offers that appear here are from companies from which CREDIT DAD Websites receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this website (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CREDIT DAD Websites do not include all card offers in the marketplace.