Spring break is just around the corner. We’ve compiled some tips to help you prepare for travel. Let us know where you’re going in the comments below.
1. Put a travel note on your card
Before you head out of the country, don’t forget to call the bank to put a travel note on any cards you plan to use while on your trip. The reason you’ll want to do this is to avoid getting your card declined. If the bank doesn’t know that you’re going to be out of the United States, a charge made in Cancun could be fraud. So the bank will decline those transactions as a way to protect you. Putting a travel note on the card will allow you to make purchases wherever you’re travelling to. And doing it ahead of time is way less stressful than sitting at the table when you’re trying to pay for dinner.
2. If you’re travelling abroad, call your Mobile Carrier
Call your mobile carrier to see what options they have for international calls and texts. Some carriers have special programs that you can add to your plan for the duration of your trip that are very affordable.
3. Getting Cash
Consider all of your options for getting cash.
- Bring the cash you need with you. Bring smaller denominations of bills. This allows for easier tipping, making small purchases and bargaining power for souvenirs from street vendors. Foreign currency can be purchased at the bank in advance too!
- Map out where trusted ATMs are located. Visit ATMs in groups to avoid being targeted by muggers.
- Visit a trusted grocery chain and get cash when you use your debit card on a purchase. This is a great way to avoid foreign ATM fees, and items purchased at a grocery store will have less of a markup than convenience stores on or near your resort.
4. Personal Documents
Don’t forget your ID and passport (if travelling outside the U.S.). Keep all of your travel documentation like airline tickets, identification, flight info, and currency with you in a small carry-on bag with a zip top. Having these handy and close by will ensure easy, safe, and stress free traveling.
5. Use your hotel room safe
Don’t carry all of your cash with you. Take only what you need for that day or particular outing. Keep the rest locked up in the hotel room safe with any other valuables like your passport, travel documents and small electronics.
6. Plan Transportation to Your Hotel Ahead of Time
Don’t leave this to chance. Expensive private car services love to target tourists at the airport. Make a plan of action and research your transportation options before you get there. You may find that there is safe public transportation that is much less expensive than other services.
7. Pack sunglasses, sunscreen, and a water bottle
The sun can turn a fun vacation into a miserable one if you get dehydrated or sun burnt. Be sure to pack protection for your skin and eyes. Be intentional about staying hydrated and pack a water bottle that you can refill.
8. Download the UBT Mobile App
UBTgo digital tools make it easy to stay on top of your money, even when you’re on the go. Before you hit the road (or sky), download the app to your phone or tablet. You’ll be able to use it wherever you have data or WiFi. If you’re travelling abroad, our text banking is an easy way to check your balance or transaction history without a data or WiFi connection.*
9. If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens travelling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling, you’ll receive important info from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. It helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency like a natural disaster, civil unrest or family emergency.