It's True: You Can Travel Without A Credit Card

from on 27 Jun 2011

For years, we’ve been hearing the same thing over and over: “I can’t travel without a credit card!”

Our response is, “What planet have you been visiting?” Because here on Earth, unless you’ve time-traveled back to the 1990s, debit cards work just as easily as credit cards.

But there’s still a myth floating around that debit cards won’t work when it comes to traveling. It’s true that rental car companies will make you jump through a few extra hoops to use a debit card, but that shouldn’t make you pay for that ride on a credit card with a jacked-up interest rate.

So in case you’ve still bought into the myth that credit cards are the only way to go when traveling, we’ve put together a few helpful tips:


Is it really that difficult to buy an airline ticket with a debit card? All major carriers take them, and it’s incredibly easy to just hop on a website—whether it’s a carrier’s site or an online broker—and book a trip. That’s the cool thing about debit cards, you see. The money you use is your money, not a bank’s money.


Yes, you can use a debit card at a hotel too. Some hotels will place a temporary hold on your account for the amount of the bill to cover “incidentals.” In other words, if you invite Motley Crue to your hotel room and they put a guitar through the TV, you can expect the incidental (plus some) to cover that. So you need to be aware of how much money you have in your account before you travel. But if you’re on Dave’s plan and have a budget, you’re not worried about overdraft fees anyway, right?

Rental Cars

Some people are convinced that they can’t use a debit card to rent a car. But get this: In 2008, surveyed 45 locations from nine major rental car companies across the country. All 45 locations said they would accept debit cards—and that was three years ago! Of course, just like hotels, most rental car companies will likely put a hold on your account (anywhere from $100–500). That’s just in case you imitate Jeff Gordon while driving in your Corolla. So if you still believe that you can’t use a debit card to rent a car, you’ve bought into an old myth that is hopefully breathing its last breath.

International Travel

If you’re traveling overseas, you can probably expect some additional fees, depending on where you bank. Some banks will charge a small fee for each transaction or an exchange surcharge for withdrawing money from an ATM. Check with your bank before you go and make sure you clearly understand their policies. Again, this isn’t a reason to stay away from debit cards. Plan ahead and you’ll be fine. That sure beats the long-term costs of using a credit card.

It’s really not that difficult to travel without a credit card. Don’t allow that decade-old traveling myth to hold you back from cutting up those credit cards forever and committing to a life of Financial Peace!

Why do you enjoy traveling with debit or cash? Leave a comment below.

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