Vacation Travel Myths Debunked

Have you fallen for these top three myths?

from daveramsey.com on 14 May 2012
 

Who came up with the idea that you can only rent a car with a credit card? Or that a timeshare is a good deal? Or any one of a bunch of other myths that go along with vacations?

Well, never fear. We’re here to give those myths about vacations a heavy dose of truth. Let’s get to it!

Myth: You need a credit card to buy plane tickets, check into a hotel or rent a car.


Truth: A debit card will take care of that just fine.

This is one of the most common myths out there. As “they” tell it, hotels, car companies and airlines will only take credit cards to book a flight or a room, or rent a car. The fact is that since debit card use is so common nowadays, just about all of the above will take a debit card. If for some reason they choose not to take the debit card, leave and go someplace that will.

Some companies may place a hold on your account for the amount of your bill to make sure they get paid, but they will accept the card. For example, if your bill at a rental car company is $500, the company may place a $500 “hold” on your account to ensure they will receive their money, but you can use the debit card for the transaction. If you’ve budgeted for the vacation properly, you won’t mind a hold on the account. Read more.

I've used a debit card and never had any problems with hotels and rentals. As long as they have a piece of plastic with your name to charge your rental/room to, they're usually satisfied. – from Bwinzig, MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com member

Myth: It’s not safe to travel without a credit card. I might get robbed!


Truth: Debit cards and travelers checks are safer and more reliable than credit cards.

If you think using credit cards (and not cash) is the only safe way to travel, you’re missing something. The Visa debit card has just as much protection as a credit card, according to Visa’s own website. You are not liable for any fraudulent charges on your debit card if it’s lost or stolen.

Travelers checks are another option. You buy them with cash, so they are just as good as cash. They are accepted practically anywhere, and if they are lost or stolen, you can get them replaced quickly. If someone else uses your stolen checks, you don’t have to worry about being liable for one penny.

Myth: It’s smart to buy a timeshare in an area you visit frequently.


Truth: Timeshares cost money and are more of a hassle than they are worth.

The only people who buy timeshares are people who are pressured into it by some weekend seminar. Nobody would buy them otherwise!

You use timeshares in blocks of one or two weeks, usually once a year. If it costs $15,000 to $20,000 to buy the timeshare (not counting yearly maintenance fees, which can be huge) and you take a two-week trip, you are paying between $7,500 and $10,000 for a vacation. You could buy a luxury getaway package for that kind of money and not have to worry about the hassle of owning a timeshare. Read The Truth About Timeshares.

I had a timeshare a long time ago. It was a mistake from the word go. We used it for three years. After it was paid for, we ended up giving it away to avoid the huge maintenance fees. If I had known then what I know now, I would have just rented and saved myself a ton of cash and grief. – from mkane2008, MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com member

Vacation Side Notes

Car insurance – When you rent a car during a vacation in the United States, you should decline the rental car company’s insurance plan for two reasons. First, it is overpriced. Second, your regular car insurance usually covers you in the event of a wreck. Check your policy first.

But when you go overseas and rent a vehicle, you won’t be covered by your insurance policy. In that case, get the car rental insurance. Check on car insurance prices when you are planning an international trip.

Travel insurance – You may want to buy travel insurance for your trip, so if something like severe weather threatens to cancel your vacation, you are not out that money. But only purchase it if you know you are going. If there is some doubt that you will make the trip, then don’t buy it. Listen to Dave explain.

Now that you know these vacation truths, save your money, pack your bags and have a wonderful time! Remember, the best vacation is one that doesn’t follow you home.

Get some great vacation ideas from Dave Ramsey fans at MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com.

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