Vacation Credit Cards for Bad Credit

August 21, 2013, Written By Justin Hefner

Going on vacation should be a lot of fun, but for people with bad credit, it can be a source of stress and frustration. Just about every element of a vacation usually requires a credit card reservation–from the flight to the hotel room to the rental car. Believe it or not, there are many vacation credit cards for bad credit that are available on the market. You just have to find the right one for your situation. Here are some suggestions.

Secured Credit Cards

By far, the easiest way to get a credit card for vacation is to pay for one yourself. You can do this through a secured credit card, where you deposit a certain amount of money which serves as the credit line on the account. The concept is similar to what you would find with a prepaid debit card, but the benefit is that many secured credit cards are reported to the credit bureau. This will help you build your credit score. You have to pay back the money you spend on your secured credit card to maintain that credit line. You will get back whatever is left of your security deposit if and when you cancel the account.

Secured credit cards like First Progress Elite and Open Sky Secured Visa register as actual credit cards when they are swiped. Prepaid cards act more like bank cards, which are not accepted for reservations. If you have money for your vacation but you don’t have a credit card for bookings, a secured credit card may be the way to go.

Low Limit Credit Cards

Another way to get vacation credit cards for bad credit is to look for some with low introductory limits. One of these may not be able to cover all of your vacation expenses, but it should at least allow you to make some reservations. Something like the Citi Dividend Card for College Students is a great first-time credit card, offering low fees and easy acceptance for those who apply.

How to Get the Most out of a Credit Card on Vacation

If you only have one credit card to use for your vacation, that may not be enough to cover all of your expenses. In that case, you need to find ways to maximize the use you get out of it. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Reserve with a credit card but pay in cash. This will give you a chance to at least book a good deal and still have your card to use during vacation. Just be aware of situations where the companies take money out for the reservation, like with a rental car. That money will only come back after an alternative payment has occurred.
  • Ask about other payment options. If you can reserve a hotel room or flight with a bank card instead, you may want to do that. Leave your credit card for times when you have no other choice.
  • Keep an eye on your credit card account while you are on vacation. If you start to see unauthorized charges occur, cancel the card and get a new one. This may put a damper on your trip, but that is better than you paying for someone else’s entertainment.
  • Pay off your credit card long before your vacation if you already have something on it. It takes most payments a few days to show up on the account, and that could leave you without any money when the vacation starts.
  • Keep your credit card in a safe place. You don’t want a pickpocket to ruin your vacation.

Finding vacation credit cards for bad credit may not be easy, but it is far from impossible. You can get a credit card for vacation reservations and still enjoy your trip. Check out your options and start planning your adventure.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 21, 2013. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.