Submitted by Jen Jones on Sat, 07/04/2009 - 10:03am
Okay, so you made the decision to file for bankruptcy some time ago and things are moving along smoothly. In fact, you're sleeping better, getting along with your spouse and you wake up confident that the world is indeed, still spinning on its axis.
It's a good feeling, to be back in control, to be out from under the thumb of creditors who don't understand the human side of financial management. And now, for the first time since emerging from bankruptcy, it's time to go away for the weekend. However, you're still re-building your credit history and have been getting by without credit cards. But wait, don't hotels require VISA or Mastercard? How can you book something ahead of time?
Actually, traveling without credit is pretty easy. And even when you have credit, it can be the smarter thing to do. All it takes is some planning. You've come this far with your economic standing, so there is no sense in letting it deny you a couple of days away from home.
Most of the popular hotel chains with allow you to reserve and pay without using a credit card. The key is simply to prepay your stay or just the first night's deposit, which is typically the most important component of reserving a room. Remember that Travelers Cheques are an option as well. Your local bank or AAA office can issue them to you. Understandably, they can be a tedious way to pay for things and sometimes carry restrictions. Cash is always best when possible.
All hotel chains have a centralized 1-800 number you can call to inquire about their "creditless" policy. But here is a policy rundown on some of the more popular chains:
Essentially, the key to traveling without credit is to use good judgment about planning. While sometimes the best trips are of the simultaneous sort, you can nevertheless enjoy a great weekend away to visit family or reward yourself for getting your financial life back on track. When traveling with cash, remember to be extra careful about where you keep it and always divide it into different "pockets" so all is not lost should a purse or wallet be left somewhere. And most importantly, have fun. You've earned it.
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