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Old 12-08-2013, 04:22 PM   #1
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Gift Cards: To carry money RVing or Traveling

In the past, I used Travelers Checks, when traveling. But, they are hard to get cashed and don't work like they used to. Gift Cards are more popular now.

While you can buy most anything, you can't get cash from GCs. Yet another disadvantage I see, is if you don't use them all up when traveling, you can't put the money left, back into your account. GCs expire after a while. Am EX Travelers Checks do not expire. GCs are not protected from unauthorized use like Travelers Checks are either.

Anyone know of a GC that can be password protected and does not expire? That way I could use it on the next trip or a trip 2 yrs from now.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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I can't help you with a gift card. Are you off-the-grid for some reason? Otherwise I would just use a debit card.
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:03 PM   #3
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Haven't ever used travelers checks and wouldn't bother with gift cards either. I almost never carry cash, just credit cards. If stolen or lost you can call your card issuer and just cancel it (we carry two different cards, from two different companies - one with me and one with the DW). They will also alert you for fraudulent purchases, provide some level of protection on fraudulent purchases, additional insurance in some cases, and you can withdraw cash if necessary. With the right card you can get rewards like cash back, airline miles, or hotel points as well. The only tip I would offer on credit cards is use them and pay the balance off each month. That's when the benefits of the extras really kick in, otherwise you are buying the cash back or whatever your reward might be with the interest you are paying each month.

If you choose not to use credit cards than, debit cards work to and some credit cards will provide virtual account numbers for use online.
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:43 PM   #4
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We use a lot of gift cards - mostly because my daughter's school uses them as a fundraiser. You buy gift cards for face value and a portion of the cost goes to the school. It's a pretty neat program that doesn't cost us any money but the school gets a benefit.

You're right about the lack of protection nor the safety if you lose them.

That said- I don't know many that expire any more. There was a stretch of time where they did, but generally most don't any more.
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:47 PM   #5
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Where did you have difficulty cashing a Travelers Check?? They are supposed to be as liquid as cash and accepted everywhere. I've never used them while camping, but traveling out of the country ie...Los Angeles, never had an issue.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:03 PM   #6
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In the last 10 years or so I use nothing more than my debit card. Normally start the trip with about $300 in my pocket for convenience of smaller purchases. I was trying cash for fuel but that turned into a pain in the butt at the stations that won't allow pumping without paying first. Travelers checks are out dated....
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
That said- I don't know many that expire any more. There was a stretch of time where they did, but generally most don't any more.
Most don't expire however there is usually an annual cost if not depleted to handle ongoing administration and maintenance costs associated with keeping them active and overall program maintenance. You can read this on the fine print of the card and you pay for the first years worth when purchased (also called an activation charge). Usually a buck or two every year.

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2006/...s.fees/10.html
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QCCowboy View Post
Most don't expire however there is usually an annual cost if not depleted to handle ongoing administration and maintenance costs associated with keeping them active and overall program maintenance. You can read this on the fine print of the card and you pay for the first years worth when purchased (also called an activation charge). Usually a buck or two every year. http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2006/...s.fees/10.html
To be honest, I was only really thinking of store cards which are generally fee free (that I'm aware of and the article agrees). I'm curious if the Visa and MasterCard gift/pre-paid cards still have activation and usage fees since that article in 2006 (which is about when I remember there being a brouhaha over credit card fees and what not).
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
To be honest, I was only really thinking of store cards which are generally fee free (that I'm aware of and the article agrees). I'm curious if the Visa and MasterCard gift/pre-paid cards still have activation and usage fees since that article in 2006 (which is about when I remember there being a brouhaha over credit card fees and what not).
Yeah, the laws were reformed slightly after that article was written, but fees still apply. Here is one from end of 2012 beginning of 2013. Look at the bottom of the article. It outlines some of the fees with several gift cards....
http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/20/pf/gift-card-fees/
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:17 PM   #10
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I'd go with a PayPal acct. Then get their debit card. You can keep a minimum balance of whatever you want in it, and transfer money from your bank into it. There's a couple day lag when you transfer cash from the bank to the paypal acct. So set up a second paypal acct without a debit card using a different email address. Keep a higher balance in that, and you can "recharge" your paypal debit card anytime, instantly.
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