Planning a vacation is exciting, as you get to dream and look forward to the experience you're tailoring. Obviously, your plans have to be paid for at some point before you travel and it can be a lot of aspects that you don't necessarily think about when you prefer to be in the dreaming stage. Here are some of the things you need to think about when
Meet that Deadline! -
You may think that the final payment date is a general guideline but you really need to have your vacation paid by the date provided. Any reservations that are not paid by the listed date, either for the booking deposit or final payment, could risk being cancelled completely. While you could just rebook something, you run the risk of losing any non-refundable deposits, or having your preferred room, flights, etc., being unavailable or now a higher price. You may see a date from your travel agent that is a bit earlier than the supplier page. Many agents request payment earlier than the supplier to allow for a 'buffer' to process the payment and tackle things that may arise, such as website down times, card payments complications listed below, and other unexpected issues.
You may think this is the most convenient method of paying for your vacation but this actually affords you fewer protections. This means that the cash or check is going into the travel agency's bank account before making it to the travel supplier. While reputable travel agencies will do the right thing and make appropriate payments, Many travel agencies will not accept cash or checks to protect themselves for any conflicts about payments, or due to licensing issues. Our licensing dictates that we do not accept cash or check payments, but apply payments directly from our client's payment method to the travel supplier (without funds going through our bank accounts.) Be careful when making cash payments (or checks) that you are getting a receipt from the travel agency that shows exactly how much money you paid.
Debit Card -
Paying with your debit card is a safe method to make vacation payments, since it will be a transaction directly between your bank to the travel supplier's bank. Before making your payment, be sure to check for any daily maximum transaction amounts. If your payment is over that maximum, contact the bank and let them know you may need to make a larger payment, so they can approve the upcoming transaction.
Credit Card -
This is the best method of paying your vacation! Not only does the transaction happen directly between your bank and the credit card institution, most credit card company's will offer more protections than using your debit card. You still need to be sure your transaction and credit limit will accommodate your payment, to avoid any delays in applying the funds. If you don't want to accumulate debt on your cards, you can always apply a payment to your credit card account from your bank, as soon as it shows up on your account.
Gift Card -
Did you get a gift card for a specific supplier or Visa/Mastercard type gift card? Most travel suppliers will allow payment using these gift cards to pay your balance, however, some do not. Before investing a large amount of money into generic gift cards for your payment, check with your travel advisor or supplier to verify they will be accepted.
Refund Considerations -
Any time you make a payment, be sure to have a record of how you made your transaction(s). If you need to request a refund, for some reason, the funds are almost always refunded to the original form of payment. Sometimes you may use a credit or debit card that may expire (or you close an account) between the time you make your deposit/final payment and the time you are scheduled to travel. You will need to know your payment information because the money will go back to the originating financial institution. You would then need to contact your institution to get the funds transferred into your new account. For payments made with a gift card, specifically a Visa/Mastercard type, do NOT throw away the card. The money will usually go back to that specific gift card and you'll have no way of accessing the funds again, if you don't have the physical card.