Until recently, my husband and I did not own a credit card. It’s true. We used only our debit card and cash. Before we even applied for one, people would ask us all of the time how we could travel if we did not have a card. The funny thing is we did not need a credit card to travel.
For some reason, there is this belief that you can’t travel without a credit card. That is no longer true. If you want to travel, but do not have (or don’t want to use) a credit card, there are ways you can still enjoy your trip, without them. You just need to know how to travel without a credit card.
TRAVELING WITHOUT A CREDIT CARD
Airlines will accept your debit card as payment to book a flight. Best of all, there are not any additional fees nor holds (where they apply a fee to your account and reverse it at a later date).
The reason is that if you use a debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo, most large airlines will accept it without any issue.
It is always good to use cash when you dine out and vacations are no exception. Just don’t carry all of your cash with you. Many hotels offer in-room safes or you can place the extra cash in a hidden compartment in your luggage. Take the amount you need with you for the day and leave the rest behind.
If you are really nervous about using cash, you can get traveler’s checks which can are reimbursable in the even they are lost or stolen. Just make sure you keep the receipts for them in a separate bag from where you keep your checks!
Hotels will allow you to make reservations and pay with a debit card. Many will not allow pre-paid or gift cards as a form of payment. To avoid any issues, stick with debit cards with either a Mastercard or Visa logo on the front (it is hard to know the difference when using these cards).
It is sometimes good to call the hotel directly and confirm before you book and find out that they have additional fees or deposits for using a debit card.
Keep in mind that some chains may place a hold on your account to cover incidental purchases, but those are usually relatively small amounts. Just know how much you have available in your account before you travel, so you don’t end up getting your card declined!
This is the only time you might have an issue. Some car rental companies will not allow you to rent a car with a debit card. However, if your debit card has the Visa or Mastercard logo on it, they will. The cards they do not accept are bank-issued debit cards that are not connected to these credit card companies.
I would recommend that if you do not have a credit card, call the company to find out if they will allow rental with a debit. If they do, they may place a “hold” on your card for anywhere from $200 – $500. It will be in addition to the cost of your rental. The good thing is that you will get that hold money back – after they have received payment.
Traveling doesn’t mean you must have a credit card. You can enjoy a trip away and pay for it all with cash!