Why you should always keep your receipts when travelling

Always keep your receipts when travelling

Settling a dispute when you’re back home is a lot easier if you have receipts


As a freelancer, I always keep my receipts since I can claim many things for taxes. But there’s an argument to be made that everyone should keep their receipts. Receipts are provided to prove you’ve paid something. If you have a dispute about something, those receipts could mean the difference when making your case.

When it comes to travel, these receipts are especially important since it won’t be easy for you to contact merchants later if you have a dispute. It’s not just receipts from purchases you need to keep, you also need to hang onto on your boarding passes. Confused? Let me explain.

Keeping boarding passes

Many people choose certain airlines or routes because it allows them to collect loyalty points. Sounds pretty straightforward, but what happens if you didn’t receive credit for your journey? Logically, you would just call the airline and get the points applied to your account, but it’s not that simple. To get your points, you need to have completed that journey. Even though you clearly checked in, some airlines may still investigate your claim before awarding you your points. By hanging onto your boarding pass, you can provide proof that you were actually on that plane. There’s no way an airline can deny you your points after your show them your boarding pass. Yes, people have been denied their points because they didn’t hang onto their boarding pass.

Keeping your boarding pass is also important if you need to make an insurance claim later. Let’s say your plane is delayed and you’ll be grounded overnight. You call your travel insurance provider and they confirm that they’ll pay for a hotel as well as the costs of any small items you need to pick up. Even though you’ve been approved for these expenses, you still need to pay for everything out of pocket first. Once you return from your trip you’ll need to provide all the receipts, including your boarding pass to file a claim. The boarding pass is key since it is proof you were on a plane that was delayed. Without these documents, you may not be reimbursed.

Keep all your receipts while travelling

I might be a little paranoid, but I tend to be extra cautious with my expenses when I’m abroad. I keep every receipt when I pay by credit and I compare them to my statements when I get home. Why do I do this? Because when I use my credit card abroad, I’m charged in the local currency and I want to make sure that what’s been posted to my statement is indeed the correct amount. I’ve had two incidents where the tip I left was changed later to a higher amount. In both situations, I had paper receipts to prove that what I was charged was not the price I agreed to pay.

In a more recent situation, I stayed at a resort down in the U.S. where I paid my resort fees in cash when I checked out. They asked me if I wanted a receipt, but I declined since I thought it would be good for the environment – seriously. This was a huge mistake as when I returned home later, I noticed that the hotel had charged those fees to my credit card. When I called the hotel to get the charges reversed, they refused to do so because I had no proof of payment. Fortunately, VISA took my side and reimbursed me the charges. If I had a receipt, I wouldn’t have had to go through all the extra trouble.

Final word

When disputing international charges without a receipt, you need to build a case. That requires time and possibly long distance charges while you investigate. The combination of time and money spent is usually not worth your trouble. However, if you just keep your receipts, you’ll win your case without any problems.

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at Moneywehave.com

This article originally appeared on MoneyWeHave.com and has been republished with permission.