Bad Credit On Vacation: What You Need To Know So You Don’t Make Things Worse

Everyone deserves a break every once in a while. And if you are like most Americans, summertime just seems like the best time to take a vacation. But there are special considerations to make if you have bad credit on vacation. If you’re not careful, your dream vacation can very quickly become a nightmare.

Here are 4 bad credit vacation nightmares you can avoid:


Hotel Holdover

If you don’t have a credit card to check in to a hotel, they’ll gladly take your debit card… and a big, fat hold on your account. Typically, hotels take the equivalent of one night’s stay (or more) and put a “hold” on it to cover room charges and any possible damages. The problem is that hold lasts for 72 business hours… and there is nothing you (or your bank) to make it go faster. If your vacation budget is tight, this hold can cut into your fun money. Even worse, your debit card might get rejected when you try to use it to buy dinner one evening or pay for parking as you exit the airport parking lot!

Not the best way to end your vacation…


The Cruise to Nowhere

Cruises are fantastic vacations. Their “everything is included” philosophy, however, makes it far too easy to rack up a huge bill at the end of the trip. Once the ship pulls into port, you’ll be given a final copy of your bill under your door – unless your credit card on file gets declined. Then you’ll have to endure the embarrassment of hearing your name called over the loudspeaker asking you to report to the purser’s office. Then you’ll have to stand in line with a bunch of other humiliated people who also had their cards declined.

You’ll either have to find a way to pay up for what you owe (by begging friends and relatives to bail you out of “cruise jail”) or sign legal documents that you owe a debt to the cruise line. Then, if you don’t make good, it can go to collections – and then garnishment!

No cruise is worth that kind of damage to your credit.

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Driving Your Credit Down

When you rent a car with a bad credit score, the rental company will take a bigger hold than for a customer with better credit. (Deposits can also vary with age of the driver, city, and type of vehicle.) Once you return the vehicle, the hold can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks to be removed from your account, depending on the rental company and your specific bank.

Whether you rent your vehicle with a credit or debit card, consider that “hold” amount gone until you actually see it clear back into your account. If it has been more than a week, first call your bank to see if the hold is about to come off, and if it isn’t, call the rental company to ask about your hold. Make sure you keep a copy of your rental agreement handy so you have all the important rental information.

If you do choose to rent with a debit card, be extra careful not to overdraw your account while the hold is in place. Bounced check and NSF fees can add up fast!



So, you’re on a road trip and you blow your transmission… or you’re skiing and break both legs… or you miss your connecting flight and have to fork over $700 to rebook.

Can your credit cards handle that? Many people struggle with emergencies because of bad credit on vacation. You may have one or two cards with a few hundred dollars available, maybe a secured credit card with a $400 limit… but in a real emergency that won’t be enough.

You will be away from home and far from any support network. How would you navigate a major emergency while on vacation? If you don’t have the credit to float the expenses, you could find yourself in real trouble.

Vacations are supposed to be fun… but bad credit can make your vacation risky and dangerous. Never sweat out another vacation bad credit mishap. Get your credit restored AND learn what you need to do to keep it in good shape for good!

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If you have any questions, please give us a call at 770-952-5168 or contact us online.

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Other articles that may interest you:
Cheap Summer Vacation Ideas That Are Fun, Too!
How Does Getting Married Affect My Credit Score?
7 Ways to Improve Your Credit

This information is intended for informational and educational purposes only and not as legal advice. If you have concerns about your credit report, harassment, identity theft, illegal collections activity, garnishments, or property liens, you should consult an attorney who specializes in consumer rights and defense.

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