Pre-Trip Checklist: Financial Things To Do Before Vacation – Episode 108

Financial checklist for traveler - pre-trip financial checklist
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Before a trip, there is a lot to do. You’re researching things to do, checking the weather, packing your bags and double checking boarding passes. Hopefully, you’re also getting your finances in order. In this episode, we’re focusing on the important but often overlooked financial tasks to complete so your finances are taken care of before departure. Some tasks will be related to your vacation, while others cover managing your day-to-day finances. Whether you already have a pre-trip financial checklist or haven’t considered creating one, here’s a list of financial tasks to complete before going on vacation.

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Welcome to The Thought Card, a podcast about travel and money where planning saving and creativity leads to affording travel, building wealth, and paying off debt. We are financially savvy travelers.

Before a trip. There is a lot to do. You're researching things to do at a destination checking the weather, packing your bags, double checking boarding passes, sharing trip details with your close family and friends, tidying up your home and hopefully getting your finances in order. Right? Right? Welcome financial savvy travelers back to another episode of the Thought Card Podcast. In this episode, we're zeroing in on the important but often overlooked tasks to complete so your finances are taken care of before departure and I'm calling this our pre-trip financial checklists. Some tasks will be related to your trip while others will cover more routine tasks for managing your day-to-day finances like pre-paying your bills. The goal of creating this checklist and again, using this checklist is to really help us all have a stress free vacation which we totally deserve.

But first I have some updates to share with you. Firstly Listen Notes featured The Thought Card Podcast as one of the top travel podcast to inspire your next trip. Now this is a huge honor for me because Listen Notes is a very big platform, but also the other podcast on this list, some of them I've been listening to for years, even before I started this podcast in 2018. So it means a lot to me to be featured on this list in particular. Also, the handbook dot com featured The Thought Card Podcast on a list of top travel podcasts stating that The Thought Card podcast is dedicated to both travel and personal finance and The Thought Card wants to help you travel in style without paying through the nose. Desir details different holiday destinations and where to go to experience culture. Often with ideas you probably wouldn't have thought of like where to find the best art in Tempe Arizona. So thank you for the right up the handbook dot com. I appreciate these features and both of them made my day. And if you're wondering about that Tempe, Arizona episode, listen to episode 91 for where to experience culture and art in Tempe. There will always be a link in the show notes.

Okay, so let's chat about, you know why create a financial checklist. This pre-trip financial checklist I'm calling it. Number one, your finances and your financial responsibilities don't stop because you're on vacation sadly enough, right? We often go on vacation to escape to take a break from our day to day routine, but it doesn't necessarily mean that our financial responsibilities are on hiatus with us. So we're creating this checklist so that we can stay on top of our finances even when we're on vacation because things are going to come up and things are going to become due while we're away. So it's really important that we're going to stay on top of our finances, even on vacay.

Another reason to create a financial checklist for yourself is to avoid late fees and avoid expensive interest charges that can accrue on your credit cards if you're not paying these bills. Okay. So we're really trying to avoid missing any payments and this checklist will help to keep you organized. So you cover all of your bases before you go on this vacation. Also, what I personally love creating this checklist is because it really helps me to intentionally plan ahead for issues that may come up while on vacation. So there's two sides, there's preparing for things that may come up while you're traveling and there's also preparing for issues that may come up in terms of your financial responsibilities back at home as well. So that intentionality is what I think makes a financial savvy traveler were intentional were thinking ahead or planning for potential issues that may arise a preacher. Financial checklist will also help you to stay organized by keeping a running list of things that you have to do. There has been many, many, many times before I created this checklist that I would forget some of the small details and I'd come back home to a bit of a emergency or a bit of a mess. So this will help you to stay organized and again cover all of your bases so you can have a worry free vacation knowing that everything that you have to think about when it comes to money is taken care of. Also, I love that this checklist is reusable so you can refer it back. So you don't miss anything, you can use it over and over and over again and you know as things come up when you travel come back to the checklist, update it, so you don't have to deal with that again that issue again. So there are lots of reasons to create this type of pre trip financial checklist and we're going to talk through some ideas that I had in mind and things that I have covered in my financial checklist, things that I do before any trip. Alright, so hopefully that makes a case for why you want to create this checklist. But I think overall it's about intentionality, it's about preparing, make sure that you are ready for what may come because things do happen while we're on vacation and the best thing that we can do is be intentional and plan ahead and prepare for these potential issues. Alright so again I created this checklist after forgetting so many important and small details. So I use this checklist to keep me and my family both organized.

So let's talk about time frame for a second. I typically start looking at my pre trip financial checklist between 2-3 weeks prior to my trip since some items may take some time to accomplish. So whip out your checklist a couple weeks before your departure and that should give you more than enough time to kind of make sure you're going through the list and making sure that all of your bases are covered.

So let's talk about the actual task that you'll have on your pre trip financial checklists. So one of those tasks include paying upcoming bills including your rent or your mortgage. An option here is to put bills on autopilot. But if you decide to do that, go to automation route make sure your big account can cover these expenses because if not you're going to have overdraft issues overdraft fees that may come in. So what I typically like to do is make sure my upcoming mortgage is all paid off and I try to make sure I have all of my bills taken care of. So I don't have to worry about any bills when I come back home. So these are some things to think about. So number one is paying upcoming bills. That is very important if you're traveling internationally and they don't accept the currency that you use at home. I recommend exchanging for the foreign currency at your local bank. So that way I have cash on hand on arrival because some expenses are cash only and this has happened to me many times before where I didn't exchange currency at my local bank. I didn't have any cash on me some ATMs were down at the airport and I was kind of a little bit stressing out because I didn't have any of the local currency on me at the time. So now I plan ahead whenever possible. I go to my local bank and say hey do you have this currency? Sometimes a local bank will actually have it on hand and you can just do the quick swap and you're all taken care of. But sometimes a local bank actually needs a couple of days or a couple of weeks to get that currency for you. Which is why I recommend tackling this checklist here three weeks before so you can have some time baked in just in case if the foreign currency exchange takes a little bit of time, you're all covered. So this is probably one of the first things that I'll do once I know I'm going to go to access the nation and I know the currency I'm going to go to the bank and say hey do you carry this currency that's possible to exchange? Alright, so next up on the list is to transfer any additional funds to your travel fund to cover your travel expenses on this trip. If you're wondering what a travel fund is, It's simply a separate bank account for your travel savings. And I recommend listening to episode number two for more details on why you should start one. But it's really important if you don't have all the funds in your travel fund account that you're going to be using for this vacation for you to go ahead and do the actual transfer. So now you have all the funds accessible to you in this travel fund bank account. Do not forget to pack your ATM card. Yes sometimes we bring credit cards with us. I bring credit cards because I love earning points and miles on the road. But also pack your A. T. M. Card just in case if you have to pull out extra cash, you have your ATM card with you. Okay now if you're going to go the credit card route, the next task will be to decide which credit card if any you plan on bringing with you with that being said Be on the lookout that you're taking a credit card that does not have any foreign transaction fees if you plan on traveling internationally. And also visa and Mastercard are widely accepted internationally versus American express. Sometimes you may run into issues with American express cards so just be mindful of that by the way. An episode 76 I tackled and shared some tips on how to manage your money while actually traveling. So for this tip figure out which credit cards are going to be using. Look for the ones that don't have any foreign exchange and foreign transaction fees. Also consider taking a Visa and Mastercard instead of your american Express because those are more widely accepted around the world. Next up take photos of your credit card and also your debit card. So just in case if you misplace your wallet, hopefully not. But if for some reason your wallet gets stolen and all of your credit cards and all your debit cards disappear. You have photos on your phone to access the front of the card which has the numbers the back of the card and also the numbers that you can call if there is ever an issue need to contact your bank or your credit card provider. So having these photos on your phone is just a great measure that you can take just in case if anything goes wrong. But I would also encourage you to take it a step further by actually making a photocopy of it and printing it out and putting it somewhere in your bow belongings with you. So that again if you lose your phone in this case you still have a copy of the printout that you can use to access cards. So just kind of thinking all encompassing here having it on your phone, having a photocopy and print out, you just never know which of these you may need. So I recommend having both. Now another thing that I include in my preacher financial checklist is research and when I say research, it's really researching how finances and money works at the destination that you're traveling to. If it's a destination that's a broad international destination. Some of the things that I look at include the local tipping culture. So it's tipping customary is tipping not customary. So for example like in Iceland, tipping is not necessarily customary because it's typically built in to your service or built into the cost. So this is important to know. So I'm not necessarily paying above and beyond unless it's a great service you know, but I'm not necessarily paying above and beyond if that's not normal in the normal tipping culture there. So definitely recommend having taken a look at the local tipping culture and seeing if it's 15% 20%. What is the Vibe and things that you should be knowing about when it comes to a destination. Of course the currency, what's the local currency that they use? That's very important. Haggling is haggling and negotiating prices appropriate. Some destinations. That's a no, no it's very disrespectful to do that while other destinations. That's normal and that's something that you should be doing to get the best price. So is haggling negotiating price, something that you should be doing on the lookout for. Also some destinations are really considered cash focus while others have a plastic preference. So like Iceland is I would say call it a cashless destination because there's no need to really carry cash. So that means I can skip going to the bank when I'm going to Iceland, I don't have to necessarily pay ATM fees when I am traveling throughout the country. So that's really good and important to know. so I can make more informed decisions when I am traveling? Lastly where is the most appropriate places to exchange your money? Is it going to be at an actual bank at the destination? Is it ATM? Is at the airport kiosk?Which of these places is the best place to offer the best rate. So a bit of research will help you to make more informed decisions as you prepare for your trip. And also while you're on the ground traveling, another task on your checklist can include downloading a currency converter app. I love doing this before an international trip because it offers me easy access to exchange rates on my phone and I'm always up to date. One of the things that I find challenging when you're traveling internationally, when there's a different currency is knowing how much you're paying for things right? Sometimes when I'm traveling I'm like okay, you know I'm on vacation, I don't mind spending extra because you know I'm a tourist and it's probably a little bit extra but sometimes I'm like whoa this is like really really expensive and it kind of feels like they're ripping me off here and the only way I'll know that is if I have a currency converter app with me on hand. So when I am going through and checking out something to purchase? I will just take a quick look at my currency converter app and see okay they're asking this prices this feel reasonable. Do I feel like it's like super high because I'm a tourist or what's going on here. So again, this is helping for us to make more informed financial decisions. Lastly just wanted to highlight, how are you going to track your expenses while you're on the road and taking a step back is tracking your expenses even important to you? I think I asked a question like this on twitter and I believe quite a few people were saying it's actually said that tracking expenses while on vacation isn't necessarily important to them. Okay, but if it is, how are you going to actually do the work? Are you going to actually track the expenses? Are you going to use pen and paper? Are you going to use spreadsheets, Are you going to use a travel budgeting app? So these are some things to think about and definitely recommend adding it to your pre trip financial checklist.

So let's do a quick review since there are quite a few tasks here. Task one pay upcoming bills if you're traveling internationally, exchange some money at your local bank and have that foreign currency on hand with you before you go on the justification before you go on this trip, transfer additional funds to your travel fund to cover your travel expenses, pack an ATM card, decide which credit cards if any, you decide you're going to be bringing with you, take photos of your credit card, both the front and the back, take photos of your debit card as well and if possible go one step further and make a photocopy and print it out and put it with your belongings. Do a little bit of research when it comes to the local tipping culture. The currency if haggling is important or appropriate if there's a cash or plastic preference and where are the best places to exchange money. Oh I forgot to mention this but a lot of times when you're just looking at travel guides for different destinations, a lot of them will have a finances section and this is where you can find all this information or you can just google or search for local tipping culture in Bermuda, local tipping culture in china. So these are some thoughts when it comes to researching, definitely download a currency converter app. So you know how much things cost, how much you're planning to spend and if you are into tracking your expenses on the road, how will you do that? Is that an app And paper spreadsheets, what will you be tracking? Okay now I know we covered a lot in this episode but you can steal my pre trip financial checklist and make it your own by heading over to podcast dot dot card dot com slash pre trip one word. Free trip with this download, you'll get the full list and also you can customize it to your liking. It's going to be in a google doc format so you can go ahead and add things. Delete things again. That's podcast dot dot card dot com slash pre trip one word. Okay, now let me know what I missed. Hit me up via email at the thought card at gmail dot com and let me know what else you do to prepare for your finances before going on vacay. I want to hear from you. You could also hit me up on twitter and let me know your thoughts at the thought card on twitter. Remember if you enjoyed this episode, you'll find episode 76 really helpful because we cover how to manage your money while traveling abroad or domestically and in episode number two, I break down why every financial savvy traveler should have a travel fund and how to start one. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I look forward to seeing you in the next one. I hope you enjoyed this episode.

But don't forget there's way more where that came from. When you become a supporter of the show, you'll get bonus episodes, additional tips on affording travel real time updates as well as strategies for building wealth and creating multiple income strings. Head over to dot com forward slash join to support. Also be sure to follow me on instagram. I'm at the Danielle Desir, slide in my DM and share with me your thoughts about this episode. What did you enjoy? What stood out to you? Let me know. I'd absolutely love to connect with you outside of the podcast. See you in the next one.

A Financial Checklist For Travelers

Download our customizable and printable Pre-Trip Financial Checklist!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How a financial checklist can help you have a stress-free vacation
  • [2:57] The benefits of creating a pre-trip checklist
  • [6:22] How far in advance to start thinking about your finances before a vacation
  • [6:47] Recommended tasks to complete before any trip (domestic and international)

Watch the episode here:

Why create a financial pre-trip checklist? 

  • Your financial responsibilities don’t stop because you’re on vacation 
  • Avoid late fees and expensive interest charges 
  • Intentionally plan for issues that may come up during your trip 
  • Stay organized by keeping a running list of things to do
  • Have a worry-free vacation, knowing all your bases are covered.

How early should you review your finances before a vacation?

I typically start looking at my pre-trip checklist 2-3 weeks before my trip since some items may take more time to accomplish than others.

Financial tasks to complete before a vacation

  • Pay upcoming bills, including your rent or mortgage  
  • Exchange foreign currency at your local bank 
  • Transfer additional funds to your travel fund to cover travel expenses 
  • Add an ATM card to your wallet 
  • Decide which credit card (if any) you will bring 
  • Take photos of your credit cards and debit card
  • Print photocopies of your credit cards and debit card
  • Research
    • Local tipping culture
    • Currency
    • Is haggling acceptable
    • Cash or plastic preference
    • Where to exchange money
  • Download a currency converter app
  • Will you track your expenses? If so, how?

Listen to the podcast episode on Spotify.

Resources Mentioned

Download the Pre-Trip Financial Checklist. With this customizable download, get my full list of recommended tasks and make it your own. This checklist includes everything you’ll need to confidently manage your money before hitting the road.

Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy

How To Manage Your Finances While Traveling – Episode 76

How To Start A Travel Fund – Episode 2

Where To Experience Culture and Art in Tempe, Arizona – Episode 91

Connect With Danielle Desir Corbett

Instagram: @thedanielledesir

Twitter: @thethoughtcard