travel and vacation planning

 

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, circumnavigate the globe with a backpack, fly first class, visit the neighboring state or foreign lands—all travel carries certain risks.

Lessen that risk and hit the road!    

With the following tips, we help keep you safe while traveling and help to increase your enjoyment level.

  • Keep connected, but keep it quiet

Keep close friends and family updated on where you are, what you are doing, and where you are going next. This assures that they know where you are, and when they can expect to hear from you. Leave a copy of your itinerary with them, and include contact information for your accommodations, people you’re visiting, and any other information that will help them track you down if necessary.

However, as much fun as it is to share with everyone; do not announce your travel plans on social media. To the wrong people, this can be an open invitation to visit your home while you’re away.

  •  Pack and carry your valuables wisely

When you pack or carry your belongings, keep in mind that they could get lost or stolen.  
Leave a copy of important documents with close friends or family, and put a copy in a cloud-based storage—such as My Virtual Strongbox 1—so you can access it from anywhere. My Virtual Strongbox is secure online storage available to all Redstone members through their Online Banking account.

Don’t keep all your payment methods, IDs and documents in one location, and keep a secret emergency cash stash hidden away somewhere deep in your carry-on luggage. Use your hotel safe, and only carry with you what you’ll need when you venture out.

Consider using a Travel Card from Redstone. Travel Cards are a Visa® card tied to a specific Redstone account. Because it’s a Visa, it is accepted worldwide for purchases and at ATMs. You won’t have to carry cash or travelers checks, but get the security and convenience of Visa—without using your primary checking account.

Let your credit card issuer know when you’re traveling internationally, so that your charges aren’t rejected. Watch out for double-billing, and keep an eye on your card at all times. Your Redstone Visa2 card comes with liability and fraud protection.

Always keep your medication in their original containers, and pack them in your carry-on luggage. Most airlines will not reimburse you for jewelry, electronics or other valuables if they lose your suitcase. That's why it's best to use your carry-on luggage for anything you can’t stand losing.  

Spend a little extra time securing your luggage when on public transportation so you’re less likely to nod off and wake up to a bag picked clean or missing.

  • Bring a door stop wedge

Whether you’re staying in a hotel, Air B&B, or couch surfing, you want to feel safe when settling in for the night. A door stop wedge is a cheap, easy, and portable security measure that will keep accidental or intentional intruders out of your room. As an added bonus, you’ll never wake up to housekeeping barging in on you again.

  • Buy travel insurance

Travel insurance offers peace of mind before and during travel and is the indispensable ingredient that will save your vacation, and your wallet, should things go awry.

Redstone Insurance ServicesSM3 can provide several value-priced travel insurance options.  Your Redstone Visa Signature®2 card offers Travel Emergency Assistance, Trip Cancellation and Visa Concierge services.

  • Keep your wits about you

Meeting and engaging with locals is one of the absolute greatest benefits of traveling. Don’t be afraid to spend time and interact with the local population. They’re the ones that can truly teach you about the place and people you’re visiting, advise you on anything from cab fares to drinking water, show you how the locals really live, and maybe even become your friend. However, always keep your wits about you, especially if you’re traveling alone.

Don’t go anywhere with someone alone, and don’t divulge too much about your travel arrangements or yourself. If you’re recommended a local spot, look it up online or check with the hotel staff, tourist information, or police department before going. Stay aware of your surroundings.

  • Checklist for the international traveler 

Check your passport’s expiration date. Some countries require that a traveler’s passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond the dates of the trip.

Some countries also require a visa for U.S. travelers. Whether you need a visa depends on the country or countries you will be visiting and the length and purpose of your stay. Visa requirements change frequently, and it can take several weeks to obtain one. Do your research.

Prepare for an emergency and know what to do and who to contact. Regularly check the U.S. Department of State website for travel alerts, crisis situations, financial assistance, or medical emergencies.

Register your travel plans with the State Department. You can register your trip through the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Registration is free, and allows the federal government to contact you if there is a family emergency stateside or if unsafe conditions arise in the area in which you are traveling.

If your family needs to reach you because of an emergency at home or if they are worried about your welfare, they should call the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, DC at 888-407-4747.

Vaccinations are required for entry to some countries. Learn what medical services your health insurance provider will cover overseas. Social Security and Medicare do not provide coverage outside of the U.S.

  • Tips for traveling with seniors or children 

Planning is key when traveling with the elderly or young children. When possible, book non-stop flights and avoid regional jets. Look for special discounts for the elderly and make certain to take advantage of the resources available by the airport, such as wheelchair or cart assistance. Airlines will usually allow you to book wheelchairs at no extra cost.

Always pack snacks and items to keep children occupied, including a favorite blanket and earphones for electronic devices.

Babies often cry at take-off and landing because their ears hurt. Babies' ears are more susceptible to feeling pressure change than an adult's ears. Allow babies to nurse or give them a bottle during take-off and landing. The sucking will relieve some pressure in their ears. Get more tips here.  

Here are two websites that offer lots of insight and advice for traveling with seniors and children: aarp.org or parents.com.

More information is available from The Points Guy, travel blogger. 

By following these essential tips for travel, you should experience a positive and stress-free trip.  The world is your oyster—go explore!

1Must have online banking username and password to access online banking and My Virtual Strongbox. Additional storage space may be purchased for a fee. My Virtual Strongbox is a product of Digital Mailer. RFCU does not warrant, guarantee, or insure any product or service provided by Digital Mailer. RFCU and Digital Mailer are separate entities.  Age and other restrictions may apply.

2Visa Zero Liability policy covers U.S.-issued cards only and does not apply to ATM transactions, PIN transactions not processed by Visa, or certain commercial card transactions. Cardholder must notify issuer promptly of any unauthorized use. Consult issuer for additional details or visit www.visa.com/security. RFCU and Visa are separate entities.

3Must be RFCU® member to obtain insurance products. Must be eligible for membership and open a share savings account to join. A $5.00 minimum balance is required to open and be maintained in share savings account. Fees and other restrictions may apply. Insurance products are offered through third-party insurance companies, are not Redstone Federal Credit Union products, and are not NCUA or federally insured. These products are not obligations of Redstone Federal Credit Union and are not endorsed, recommended, or guaranteed by RFCU or any government agency. RFCU does not warrant, guarantee, insure any service or product offered by any third-party insurance company or Redstone Insurance Services. RFCU and Redstone Insurance Services are affiliated, but RFCU, Redstone Insurance Services, and third-party insurance companies are separate entities.

More Helpful Travel Tips

  • Don’t forget unexpected “extras” when budgeting for your trip such as baggage fees, taxes, surcharges, and other expenses.
  • Consider shipping your luggage via a freight company. It may save money and your back.
  • Compare prices carefully, and read the fine print for hidden costs on all travel packages and vacation deals.
  • Don’t let a tight budget deter you. Consider day trips, early-bird or last-minute specials, camping and tour packages.

Airline resources for seniors or those with special needs

These links will give you more information about policies and services available for elderly, disabled, or special needs passengers from various domestic airlines:

Earn CashBack on Your Next Trip

Don't miss out on CashBack earnings on your flight, hotel stay, meals, and more for your next trip.  Get tips for finding the right CashBack credit card and maximizing your earnings.

CashBack Credit Card Kit - Download Now

Travel Checklists

These checklists can help make planning your trip easier.