11 Tips for Summer Trips
Vacations are that much needed time away full of relaxation and enjoyment with friends, family, or maybe even just yourself. It should be full of basking in the sun on the beach, or hiking up the side of a mountain - breathing in the fresh air without a worry in the world. The last thing you want to deal with is something like your debit card not working and making calls to get it fixed. To help you spend more time relaxing and less time stressing, we’ve compiled this list of 11 vacation planning tips that will give you peace of mind while you're gone.
- Notify your bank and credit card company that you’re traveling
We know you don’t want to make us jealous with your amazing plans, but give us a call before you go. Strange activity on your account can lead to it getting locked for suspected fraud if we don’t have it flagged with your travel destinations. This is especially important if you’re leaving the country, as your Southern Bank debit card will not work overseas unless we are notified. You can avoid these issues by telling us your plans ahead of time.
- Put a hold on your mail
While you may not mind someone else getting all that spam mail that fills your mailbox, you would probably be concerned if someone stole a package or sensitive information. Put a hold on your mail through the USPS if you plan on being gone for an extended period of time. It’s worth it to protect your information.
- Set up digital banking
You spent all this time budgeting for your trip, make sure you stay on it by watching your spending. At Southern Bank you can see your account through online banking and on the go with mobile banking. Access free features like the MySpending tool that helps you budget - or Bill Pay which can ensure your bills get taken care of even when you’re away.
- Create and take copies of important documents
Make copies of important documents like your driver’s license or passport and keep them stored safely with you while you travel. If the original is lost, having a copy could save the day - or the vacation. While this may not be as much of an issue while traveling within the country, this is especially true if you are traveling to another country where having ID is needed to get across the border and through security at an airport.
- Get notified about your card activity
Southern Bank users have access to a FREE service called CardValet® that allows you to control all aspects of how and where your debit card is used. CardValet® gives you the ability to turn your card off if it is lost or stolen, view transactions in real time, restrict debit card usage to your exact location, and more. Signing up for alerts about where your card is used is a must when traveling. Vacation spots are full of people looking to steal information from others who are away from home. Make sure your card is only being used by you by setting up alerts for your card.
- Check health insurance coverage and bring information with you
We hope you don’t have to use any of it, but being prepared in case something happens is wise. If you or someone with you were to get hurt, it’s best to know where you can go in the case of an emergency. See what hospitals will take your health insurance where you are vacationing and make sure you have that information to provide to the hospital if need be.
- Wait to post
Don’t post about your vacation on social media until after you get back. Sharing your vacation photos with all of your friends is great, but posting on social media could tip-off some ne’er-do-wells that you’re not home. Save yourself a costly break-in by posting that beachfront view after you get back.
- Bring some cash with you - but not too much
There is a delicate balance with cash on vacation. You should bring some with you in case of emergency or if you’re somewhere that only takes cash, but keep in mind that cards are replaceable, cash is not. Taking too much cash with you could be devastating if it gets stolen. Only take what you might need and keep it in a safe location the entire time.
- Confirm contact information with the bank
You probably don’t want to be on the phone with your bank while you’re on vacation, but we need to be able to contact you about your account if activity seems suspicious. This is of course to protect you and your money. So before you go, check and make sure we have the correct info on file.
- Know your daily card limits - and raise them if necessary
Your debit card has a daily limit for security reasons - so your account can’t be drained all in one day if theft or fraud were to happen. If you exceed this limit, you will get an error message when you try to use your card. If you need your limit raised, give us a call. We can raise it for a single day or the duration of your vacation.
- Avoid open public Wi-Fi
It’s best to only join networks from trusted sources that are password protected. Accessing an open public wi-fi network makes you more vulnerable to being hacked or your private information - usernames, passwords, etc. - being compromised. You could also look into getting a virtual private network (VPN) while traveling, which would give you a high level of security on any Wi-Fi.
We hope you enjoy your time away, and always know that in the case that something does happen, a Southern Bank team member is here to help. To get a hold of us, call (852) 452-7272.