American Consumer Credit Counseling explains five ways students can best manage their money while on spring break
Boston, MA – February 25, 2019
College students around the country are preparing to break out their bathing suits, sunscreen, and passports as they jet off for spring break in March. Students will flock to Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and other exciting travel destinations for a chance to relax before starting final exam preparations when they return. Before they go, students must make sure they are prepared financially and that they will not have any problems accessing money while they are away. To help, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) provides students with a financial checklist before going on vacation.
“Students are often caught up in the excitement of leaving for spring break, and they can sometimes forget to determine how they will access their money while they’re away,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Students also aren’t always aware of the hidden fees and hidden savings their banks have for traveling abroad, so it is important that they do their research before getting on the plane.”
Travel Agent Central says that 53 percent of Millennials went on spring break last year. While away, students spend most of their money on food, outdoor and recreational equipment, and alcohol. This year, the spring break industry is likely to gain in popularity. Forbes noted that popular spring break locations saw a 43 to 53 percent decrease in airfare prices from 2018, increasing the accessibility of fun in the sun for many college students.
ACCC offers five tips to make sure students prepare their spring break finances before they get on the plane.
- Call your bank – If a consumer starts trying to swipe their card far away from home without informing their bank first, it’s likely their card will get locked. Many banks now allow cardholders to enter travel information online or on a mobile app well before they leave. If a consumer’s bank does not have this option, a quick phone call will ensure they can use their card without any worries the minute their plane touches down.
- Determine your foreign transaction fees and travel rewards – For the majority of cardholders, there will be some form of a fee for using their card abroad. These fees can add up quickly. Consumers should be sure to get all the information they need from their bank and minimize the extra money they will have to pay. A good way to do this is to withdraw larger sums from an ATM and use cash during the trip, rather than getting fined every time a purchase is made. To reduce risk, consumers should store extra cash in a safe at their hotel and only carry what they need. An opportunity to keep in mind, though, is that many banks now offer travel rewards credit cards with rewards for travel expenses and no foreign fees. This is something that frequent travelers should look into.
- Be aware of exchange rates – Before leaving, consumers should research which currency their travel destination uses, whether it be the pound, euro, etc. Pay attention to the exchange rate four weeks prior to leaving to have a better understanding of where this rate could fall.
- Exchange currency before you leave – Even if a consumer has a credit card without foreign fees and has located all the ATMs in the airport and near their hotel, it is still a good idea to exchange some currency at the bank before leaving in case of an emergency. More often than not, the exchange rate is higher at an airport conversion center or ATM than it will be at a consumer’s bank. International banking can be complex, and consumers need to make sure they are covered in case something goes wrong.
- Cellphone coverage – If a consumer plans to take their cellphone on the trip, it is important to study the international roaming fees from their carrier. Some carriers will offer free roaming up to a certain data usage while others will offer affordable ‘day passes.’ Many places will have Wi-Fi, so consumers should remember to turn off their cellular data upon landing and take advantage of free Wi-Fi.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling and student loan counseling, call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at http://www.ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit https://www.consumercredit.com/debt-resources-tools/