How to Book a Hotel Room Without a Credit Card
Most people think they need a credit card to make a hotel reservation. But this often isn't true. Instead, a traveler can use a debit card, or even cash, to secure accommodations. In rare cases, a hotel may accept bank account information in lieu of plastic. Finding a hotel that takes cash or debit instead of credit can take some work. However, many locations want your business and will make the transaction happen. So don't count out travel because of debts or the desire to live a cash-based life.
Use a debit card with a Visa or MasterCard logo to make your reservation. Often, the hotel reservation system doesn't even recognize that you're not using a credit card. Still, check before using this method to see if the hotel charges fees for such transactions; otherwise, you might have an unexpected debit from your checking account to cover the fee.
Call ahead to see what the hotel's policies are regarding debit and cash reservations. Some hotels will accept a debit card but at check-in will withdraw a fully refundable amount per day to cover incidentals, such as the minibar or pay-per-view movies. Even more hotels will accept cash along with checking account information. Others won't accept anything but a credit card.
Offer the hotel manager a cash deposit covering several nights' stay. The website Creditcard.org advises, "Do not berate the hotel for wanting money up front (when you book with a credit card, the hotel is 98 percent likely to collect your money). People with no credit card greatly increase the hotel's risk in having you stay there." An upfront cash amount will do much to assure the management that you're responsible and able to handle the liability for the room.
Inquire at small, local nonchain hotels in addition to corporate establishments. A local hotel may be more amenable to working with cash, since it's not tied to any sort of corporate procedures. If any local residents are willing to vouch for you, ask the hotel manager to call them for a reference. The extra tie to the community may raise the manager's confidence level, making it more likely that you'll land the room.
Set up a PayPal online payment account to reserve the room. PayPal is an accepted method of payment on several travel sites, and you only need a bank account to use the service. Therefore, a credit card wouldn't be necessary to pay for a reservation. Call the hotel ahead of time to find out about fees for incidentals and whether they're payable through PayPal.