Leave financial worries at home

By Angela Iermieri, financial planner and group savings representative for Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc.

Enjoy your summer without unnecessary financial worry.

1. Stick to your vacation budget
Start by making a plan and a budget, and then have the discipline to stick to them. You want to keep it as realistic as possible, so you'll need to determine your expenses and how much you expect to spend on:
- Travel
- Accommodations
- Meals
- Entertainment
- Unexpected expenses

This is a quick way to find out if your plans are realistic and doable. It isn't always easy, but by sticking to your budget as much as possible, you can leave with your mind at ease and come back without extra debt.

There are many financing products available to help you, if you need them. You just need to choose the one that best meets your needs and, most importantly, pay off the balance as soon as possible.

2. Check your insurance coverage
Regardless of what kind of vacation you take, you should check your insurance coverage. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Before you go, check your insurance coverages or talk to your insurance company. Check the health and travel insurance you have through your employer, and your auto insurance policy, too. You can always get travel insurance, with coverage personalized to meet your needs. Remember that some countries require proof of health insurance upon arrival.

Some credit cards offer short-term travel insurance, and some even offer coverage of up to 48 days (emergency healthcare, baggage, accident, trip cancellation), in addition to providing access to 24/7 travel assistance service, at no extra cost.

3. Stay on top of your finances
Before you leave, be sure to contact your caisse to:
- Get a list of ATMs in the area you'll be visiting.
- Request a second debit card in case the first one is lost or damaged.
- Request a PIN in case you need to get a cash advance on your Visa card at an ATM.
- Buy foreign currency or traveller's cheques.
- Register for Accès D Internet to manage your finances from anywhere your travels take you.

You can check your account balance, track your expenses, pay your bills or transfer money between accounts.
- Inform Accès D and Visa of when you'll be away and where you're going to. It's a good practice for preventing fraud. Desjardins continually monitors suspicious activity and could freeze your card or account if they detect what they deem to be fraudulent or unusual activity.

4. Prepare before you go for an overseas trip

Find out what documents your destination country requires. Will you need a passport, a visa or vaccinations? It's a good idea to leave your itinerary, a copy of your insurance policy and your credit card numbers with a friend or family member in case you run into problems.

5. Save for next year's holidays
By setting up an automatic withdrawal program, whereby a set amount of money regularly goes into a dedicated investment vehicle, you can start planning for your next vacation now. Automatic savings is easy and hassle-free, and you can set it up directly in Accès D or contact your caisse to set it up for you.


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