Avoid These Money Mistakes When Planning a Last-Minute Vacation

Tips from travel experts on how to minimize costs and maximize the last days of summer.

Tips from travel experts on how to minimize costs and maximize the last days of summer.
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This is an especially good idea if you are literally racing out the door, setting up a flight or a hotel. If you've been mapping out your vacation for a while, booking your airfare with your credit card in June, reserving a hotel room with the same card in July, then buying something with the same card at a souvenir shop in August, one would think the credit card fraud department will figure out what's going on. But you will look suspicious if one minute you're in Toledo and then, bam! Without any warning, Tuscany.

[Read: The Frugal Traveler's Guide to Cheap Lodging.]

A couple of other tips courtesy of Schwartz that you likely wouldn't consider if you're in a hurry: If you're traveling abroad, he suggests making sure your debit card PIN number has no more than four digits, to make it easier to use international ATMs. He also says you might have trouble accessing your savings account if you're in another country, so consider transferring some extra cash to your checking account.

And while you're at it, call the post office. Seriously, an overstuffed mailbox is a sure sign nobody is home. Don't forget that.