If you don’t already have a credit card or if you do but you want to travel without it, it can be extremely difficult to rent a car or book a hotel room. Most companies simply won’t let you do it without a credit card on file, and if they do, they usually require a deposit in case you leave without paying.
Fortunately, there are a few workarounds that will allow you to pay without credit cards, even if you don’t have a bank account. Here are a few different ways to do it.
Prepaid debit cards
You can buy prepaid debit cards pretty much anywhere these days. They allow you to load them with money so that the card itself acts as an easy way to make purchases without having to supply a credit card number or proof that you have one when making reservations or renting cars. You can usually get them without needing a credit check of which you can learn more about on this site and they’re usually issued either by MasterCard or Visa, meaning that they’re accepted virtually everywhere. Just look for a company that doesn’t charge monthly fees, and make sure you’ve got enough on it for the trip.
While the fact that you can’t use PayPal without an account is annoying, it is possible to get around it. If you do have a checking or savings account (even if it’s at a credit union), you can give them your debit card number and routing number and set up automatic transfers, allowing you to make purchases on sites like Airbnb without ever needing to enter in your PayPal information. And while this means you’ll be giving up some of the benefits of having a PayPal account (like no transaction fees), it also means avoiding problems like limited availability.
Smartphone Wallet Apps
Chances are your smartphone already has some kind of wallet app installed on it. Apple Pay and Android Pay allow you to use your phone in place of a credit card, although you should know that this doesn’t mean you can just lose your phone and automatically have access to whatever money is on it. Instead, your smartphone should act as a sort of digital wallet allowing you to make purchases online or in stores while letting you set up passcodes or other security features so that no one else can get their hands on your cash.
A lot of people choose to travel without credit cards by purchasing gift cards. While this works for some, it’s highly dependent on where you’re going and what you’re doing. For example, if you’re looking to book a hotel room, you’ll usually have to use a special type of gift card that can only be used at the company in question. However, if all you need is cash and not prepaid debit card money, buying an Amazon gift card and using it instead can save time, hassle, and even money in most cases.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can go about traveling without credit cards doing things like buying prepaid debit cards or having a checking account. Learning about each of the different card types is important so you know which ones can be used in certain scenarios and knowing your options will go a long way in helping you avoid the hassles and pitfalls that come with needing to rent a car or book a hotel room.