Home > 2013 > Credit Score

How Sunscreen Can Ruin Your Credit

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 2 Comments

How Sunscreen Can Ruin Your CreditIn the spring, snow melts and flowers bloom and many people take time off for a little vacation. Regardless of whether your preferred vacation spot is just around the corner or on the other side of the globe, you might be surprised to discover that your sunscreen can keep you from buying a car this year. And your hotel room rental might keep you from buying a house next year. And the gate admission to your favorite amusement park might lead to a lost job.

I know it sounds outrageous because these vacation items are more or less harmless. But if your good financial behavior takes a hike while you’re on vacation, these seemingly harmless things can lead you into trouble with your credit.

[Credit Score Tool: Get your free credit score and report card from Credit.com]

Even people who remain relatively vigilant with their credit could be tempted to let their guard down while on vacation, making several mistakes that can haunt them for years to come. Here are some common vacation-related credit mistakes:

Free Credit Check & Monitoring

Mistake #1: Sloppy identity theft precautions

While you enjoy laying on the beach or checking out the local sites of your favorite resort, do you know where your identification is? What about your credit cards? Don’t just be cautious about theft; be cautious about identity theft.

A passport or credit card that is carelessly left out in the open in a hotel room or on a table near the pool contains enough information for an identity thief to spend YOUR money without you realizing it. Most people are cautious about cash but they don’t take the same care with other items that can have an even longer-lasting impact on credit scores.

The best practice is to hide your identification and credit cards as diligently as you hide your cash, and make sure you have contact information of the appropriate organizations (like embassies and credit card companies) if these invaluable items go missing.

Mistake #2: Overspending

Vacations are usually when we splurge and enjoy a little extravagance. Some extra shopping, within reason, is OK as long as you can pay it back on time. However, once you factor in the souvenirs, the hotel minibar tab, a little gambling, some generous tips, and a night out on the town in a great new outfit, that once-thrifty vacation looks very different on a credit card statement.

The best practice is to set a budget and stick to it. If you’re worried, bring a prepaid credit card and leave your regular credit card at home.

Mistake #3: Being unprepared for emergencies

We go on vacations because they get us away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But sometimes those stresses and emergencies catch up with us. From medical emergencies to lost luggage to car repairs, vacations can come with high price tags during emergencies. For this reason, you should spend some “glass is half empty” time predicting what could go wrong before your vacation and doing something to help you prepare. Spending a little on travel insurance, for example, can provide peace of mind and help protect your credit if you are injured during your vacation.

[Free Resource: Check your credit score and report card for free with Credit.com]

The best practice is to assume the worst and be ready for it — often with some insurance and pre-planning — and you’ll “invest” in a happier, healthier, more carefree vacation… that won’t haunt your credit report for years to come.

Vacations should be restful, enjoyable experiences that erase the stresses of everyday life and build positive memories. Avoiding these three huge credit mistakes when you travel can ensure that it stays that way. If you want to make sure your credit hasn’t gone south, you can monitor your credit score for free using Credit.com’s Credit Report Card.

Image: iStockphoto

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Dona Collins

    It’s critical to not overspend on vacation. Imagine coming home and not having enough cash to pay your electric bill! I always recommend keeping vacation money in a completely separate account from household funds, so that you simply can’t access your “bill” money while away. Your vacation savings should include enough for the “extras” without putting you into debt when you get home!

    • Gerri Detweiler

      A great strategy – and put it in an account that isn’t too easy to get to.

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Have Fun for Free This Summer | Best Credit Repair()

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team