Ryan P Page, Staff Writer
It is better to use a credit card than a debit card on vacation because credit cards are more secure and more likely to help you earn rewards while you’re away from home. Some credit cards also come with valuable travel perks like airport lounge access, free nights at select hotels, or a statement credit for TSA PreCheck. Similarly, if you have the right travel credit card, you’ll benefit from travel insurance that can protect you and your possessions while you are on vacation.
Why It’s Better to Use a Credit Card Than a Debit Card on Vacation
Hundreds of credit cards reward you with points, miles or cash back for every $1 you spend. Choosing the right credit card for your credit score and spending habits can save you hundreds of dollars per year, which you can put toward a vacation. However, only a very small percentage of debit cards offer rewards at all, and only a handful can compete with what credit cards give you.
Better Fraud Protection
Credit cards offer better fraud protection than debit cards. Credit card users have a $0 fraud liability guarantee for all transactions, unlike with debit cards, and the money in your bank account isn’t at risk when someone steals your credit card. When traveling to a new and unfamiliar place on vacation, that protection is likely to be very appealing.
In addition to $0 fraud liability protection, the right credit card can also protect you and your possessions while you’re on vacation. If your card includes travel insurance, it can cover damaged or lost luggage, trip cancellation, damage to rental cars, and more. Make sure to check with your card’s issuer or review the card’s benefits guide before your trip to see what types of travel insurance your card may have.
More Options for International Travel
If you are heading abroad for your trip, you will want to avoid foreign transaction fees. Although both credit and debit cards are subject to this 2-4% upcharge, getting a credit card without a foreign transaction fee is a bit easier than finding a debit card with no foreign fees.
Best Credit Cards to Use on Vacation in 2023
If you don’t have a credit card for travel, or would prefer a card that helps you stay within a set budget, you can mitigate fraud concerns by getting a prepaid card. Unlike a debit card, prepaid cards are not connected directly to your checking account, which can help keep your finances safe while traveling.
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