The holidays are right around the corner and planning a vacation is one of the most exciting things to do. What country will you visit? What sites will you see? And of course, what will you eat? Once you’ve got all the essential trip planning done, it’s time to think about the smaller things like getting your finances in check before you depart.

It doesn’t matter if you’re taking a short trip across the border, or taking an extended leave to backpack across Southeast Asia. Before your trip begins, it’s important that you take care of the following so your trip doesn’t get derailed.

1. Make a budget

If you don’t have a vacation budget yet, what are you waiting for? There’s literally no point in taking a vacation if you can’t afford it. Yes, you could put it on credit but do you still want to be paying for your trip months after you return? Since flights and accommodations are a fixed cost, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how much you’ll spend on the ground.

2. Research tax exemptions

In many countries, a tax refund is offered to visiting tourists but there are certain requirements that need to be met. Take the time to find out what you can claim, and what the process is to get your money back.

3. Find out how to tip

How people tip differs all around the world. In Japan tipping is considered rude, while in Egypt a tip is expected in addition to the mandatory service charge. It’s important to find out how locals tip so you don’t appear rude or cheap.

4. Decide on a data plan

Cell phones are pretty much a standard travel gadget these days, but if you’re not careful you can end up paying very high roaming charges. Fortunately, data roaming doesn’t need to be expensive. Using a local SIM card, SIM sticker, or sticking to just WiFi are easy ways to keep your costs down. Of course, you can avoid charges completely by keeping your data roaming off.

5. Empty your wallet

To be realistic, when travelling there are only a few cards you need to carry: one form of identification, two different branded credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), and your debit card. There’s no need to carry your social insurance number card, birth certificate, or even your employee ID. If you lose any of those, you risk having your identity stolen.

Discover the last 4 things to do with your money before travelling on & share your financial travel tips below! is a website that compares mortgage rates, credit cards and deposit rates with the goal to empower Canadians to search smarter and save money.

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