Should You Use a Credit Card to Pay for Summer Travel?

Planning your summer vacation can be overwhelming. If you’re one of the nearly 100 million Americans planning a family vacation this year, we understand why. Searching for travel deals, coordinating itineraries with relatives, and figuring how you will pay for it all can have you wondering if a staycation is the better option. While we can’t tell you which vacation spot will work for your budget and travel schedule, we can tell you why using a credit card to pay for summer travel is almost always a smart financial move.

Reason #1: You have limited liability.

Traveling with large amounts of cash can backfire. If your money is lost or stolen and the funds are used by someone else, the chances of recovering your money are slim. However, with a major credit card, you’re protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. If someone gains access to your personal credit card information and uses it to go on a shopping spree, you won’t be stuck with the entire bill. The law aims to help consumers by limiting financial liability to $50 should fraudulent activity occur on your card. Also, if a thief uses your credit card after you’ve reported it lost or stolen, you aren’t responsible for those charges.

Reason #2: You can use this vacation to help fund your next vacation.

If you use a major rewards credit card to pay for your summer travel, you can earn points when you spend on just about everything. These points can be redeemed for cash back rewards and applied to next summer’s travel expenses. If you already have a rewards card, check on your rewards balance to see if points are available to use towards this year’s trip. Benefit from the

program’s discounts which offer cardholders savings on car rentals, hotel stays, and popular attractions like theme parks. Each credit card issuer determines which perks to offer to cardholders. Review the credit card’s website for details on promotions.

Reason #3: If you have an emergency, cash is readily available.

Even if you carry cash, it’s possible for a travel emergency to wipe out available cash on hand. A major credit card lets you withdraw money from most ATMs. But, remember that cash advance fees do apply. Exact fee amounts vary by credit card issuer, so be sure to only use this option for real emergencies. The withdrawal limit will depend on your available credit card balance.

Are credit cards always the best option?

There are circumstances under which you should forgo using your credit card to pay for summer travel. Here are a few:

· You’re close to maxing out the balances on your current credit cards.

· You cannot pay the balance off in the next few months.

· The interest rate on your credit card negates any potential savings you would experience by using the credit card.

· You only plan on making minimum monthly payments for the foreseeable future.

· You’ve partnered with a consumer credit counseling agency to pay off your existing debt.

Enjoy your summer travel without the financial stress of tracking every penny. Responsible credit card use lets you focus on what matters most: creating lasting memories for you and your family. As long as you have a short-term plan to repay the balance, using your credit card to fund your summer vacation can remove travel stress. Let Community Credit Union help you with your summer plans. Contact a representative today to apply for a Community CU credit card that meets your financial needs.