**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. All opinions are my own.
Everyone dreams about travelling. It’s fun to fantasize about what you’ll see and do, but to reach your bucket list destinations, you need to ensure you have enough money saved so you can reach your goals.
The good news is that money you set aside for your holiday is protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation as long as it’s deposited in a CDIC member institution. That means you can sleep well knowing that cash you’ve put aside for your hike to Machu Picchu isn’t going anywhere.
Keeping your money safe is the first step to ensuring your vacation goes smoothly, but you also need to think about what you’ll be doing on the ground as well as the things that will be going on at home when you’re away. From getting your finances in order to checking the weather, don’t forget to do these 10 things before a trip or it’ll cost you big.
Check when your passport expires
This should be obvious, but just take a look at the number of comments on the post I wrote about getting an emergency passport! Unless you’re travelling within Canada, you need a valid passport to fly. Many people realize their passport has expired the day before their flight and they often don’t have time to get it renewed before their flight takes off. As a result, they’ll have to pay to reschedule their flight and then pay the rush fee to get a new passport.
Get your travel visas
Although some countries allow you to get any required visas when you land, some must be obtained before you depart. It’s also worth noting that some countries including Canada now require you to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to visit even if you’re from a visa-exempt country. Without a visa or eTA you could be denied boarding. Visas and eTAs could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks to obtain so make sure you get them right away.
Purchase travel insurance
Canadians are spoiled by free healthcare, but what many people don’t realize is that your coverage doesn’t apply when you leave the country. If you had to make a quick visit to the doctor or emergency room in the U.S., it could cost you hundreds of dollars. A more serious injury could cost you thousands. Fortunately, your employer or credit card benefits may include travel medical insurance so you’ll be covered. If you don’t have a policy in place, purchase one. To simply put it, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
Exchange some money
Some people prefer to use a credit card that has no foreign exchange fees when they travel, but it’s always good to exchange some cash into the local currency before you depart. At a minimum, exchange enough for a cab ride from the airport to your accommodations.
Keep in mind that foreign currency deposits are not protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Only eligible Canadian currency deposits at each member institution are covered by CDIC which is free and does not require you to sign up. That means the money you’ve set aside for your trip to Southeast Asia that’s currently sitting in a savings account, chequing account, or term deposits (such as GICs) is totally safe. Keep in mind that the $100,000 maximum applies to EACH of the seven different categories listed here.
In case you’re wondering, CDIC is a federal Crown corporation established to protect the savings of Canadians in the event of a member institution failure. They are funded by premiums paid by their member institutions, which means they don’t receive public funds to operate.
Call your credit and debit card providers
Many of the major banks in Canada no longer require you to call in when you’re going to travel, but some of the smaller players still need to know about your travel plans. Without putting a travel alert on your credit or debit card, your card may be blocked since your provider may think the transactions you’re making are fraudulent. It only takes a few minutes to call in your travel plans, so don’t forget to do it.
Prepay your bills
Even though your credit cards usually give you a grace period, it’s always a good idea to so you don’t have to deal with it when you’re away. I once had to pay a bill, but when I logged in from another country, they wanted to verify my identity by sending me a text message. The problem was that I could not receive SMS messages on the phone network, so I couldn’t access my account. Since it was a short trip it didn’t matter, but if you’re away for an extended amount of time, you’ll want to ensure you have your banking in order.
Research local scams
A lot of popular destinations have local scams that you need to be aware of. It could be cab drivers that don’t use meters or pickpockets in specific areas. Unfortunately, you need to be on guard in some places, so make sure you do a bit of research in advance. That being said, your credit card or bank may reimburse you after they’ve done their own investigation.
Buy attraction tickets
Many major attractions now allow you to buy tickets in advance at a discount. It may just be 10% off but why pay full price when you don’t have to? Another advantage of buying your tickets in advance is that you’ll likely be able to skip the lines when you arrive. You’re basically saving time and money!
Read up on public transportation
Every city has public transportation. It may not be very good, but you’ll want to read up on your options so you don’t end up taking taxis or rideshares everywhere. While doing your research, find out what passes are available and if it makes more sense to buy individual tickets. Google maps is pretty useful for helping you plot routes when you’re on the ground, but they’re not always accurate which is why you want to have a basic understanding of the local public transportation before you arrive.
Check the weather
I realize the weather changes all the time but you need to check it a day or two before you leave. If you’re expecting a week of sun and then all of a sudden it rains, you may not have the appropriate clothing. That means you could end up spending money on sweaters, umbrellas and boots. I’m not suggesting you need to pack for every season, but you should do a quick weather check the day before you leave to see if there’s anything else you need to bring with you.