CPA Tom Walpole discussed a list of financial to do’s before you head out for that summer vacation Monday on News 8 at Sunrise.

Walpole began by recommending taking advantage of auto pay to address your bills. “Make sure you check all the bills that are due to be paid while you’re on vacation,” he said. “Either pay them before you leave or put them on auto pay. You don’t want to come back and have a lot of late fees looking at you.”

Make your financial institutions aware that you will be traveling. “If you let your bank and your credit card companies know that you’re traveling, and all of a sudden they see charges coming up from out of town, they’re not going to put an alert on those and maybe have the transactions suspended,” Walpole said. “They’ll know it’s you and it’ll go through okay.”

Walpole said there are travel friendly debit and credit cards. “If you’re going to be going out of the country especially, there’s a foreign exchange rate,” he noted. “Not all credit cards charge the same rate for the exchange. Some cards are more for you than others. Check your cards and make sure they’re going to be the same.”

Budgeting tools and pre-paid cards can help control spending. “If you give the kids a pre-paid card, then they know how much they can spend on vacation,” said Walpole. “They’re not going to go hog wild. There’s also apps you can use that will track what you’re spending so you can set your budget ahead of time. It’ll let you know how you’re doing on your budget, rather than you coming back to a big surprise.”

Walpole recommended setting up account monitoring tools. “A lot of the hacking and skimming takes place when people are out of town” he said. “They go to these tourist places — you’re going to give your card to a waiter, they’re going to give it back, and all of a sudden you’re identity is stolen. If you set up the monitoring tools, they’ll let you know if all of a sudden charges come up on your account that you weren’t aware of.”

If you’re heading out of the country, preparing for different currency and a favorable exchange rate is important. “Check those probably three to four weeks before you leave the country,” Walpole suggested. He also said consider insurance. “There’s a couple types of insurance. One is auto insurance. If you’re going to rent a car, see if your own insurance covers that. You might not have to buy that. The other is travel insurance, so if you have a missed flight or another emergency, you’re not going to have your whole vacation ruined. You can get some money back on things like that.”

Walpole also said update your important documents like insurance policies, wills, health care proxies and powers of attorney, and have an emergency contact who knows where your important documents are kept.

Check cell service options because many times roaming fees can be encountered and data speeds can be restricted.  Also, put mail and other deliveries on hold.

For more information, visit the New York State Society of CPAs website, click here.