How to Book a Hotel Without a Credit Card

A vital part of any vacation or out-of-town trip is your sleeping arrangements. Hotels, motels, lodges and the like commonly require credit cards in order to book or at check-in. This can prove to be troublesome if you prefer to carry cash or don’t have a credit card.

It’s certainly possible to book a hotel room without a credit card. However, it’ll require a little bit of extra work to get done. In this article, we’ll explain why credit cards are commonplace among lodging facilities. We’ll also give you tips on how to find a cash-friendly hotel and other important tips.

Why Do Many Hotels Require a Credit Card?

Prior to the 1950s, cash was king in just about every establishment. However, credit cards and the idea of personal credit took the market by storm. So, lodging establishments have adopted a card policy ever since.

While this seems like a hassle to a non-card-wielding person, the policies are put in place to protect the establishment and cover any arising fees. Most commonly, the card will be charged a deposit when you check in and if you cause any damage to the property, they have a card on file to charge you with. If the hotel only dealt in cash, this opens them up to potentially having to cover expenses that were the cash-wielding person’s fault.

Finding a Cash-Friendly Hotel

Although most establishments require a credit card, it’s possible some will accept cash too. Many chain hotels will accept cash for payment including Hampton Inn, Quality Inn, Days Inn, and Holiday Inn. This may vary by location though, so it’s important to call ahead and make sure before trekking there.

If you prefer to book online, using a website like is helpful because you can filter your results to only show places that accept cash. Local establishments that aren’t affiliated with any chain may also be accommodating to cash payers too.

Booking Tips

Once you’ve nailed down where you’d like to stay, there are a few different ways you may choose to book:

  • Book online using your bank debit card: This will ensure you have a room reserved when you get to the hotel. In most cases, you won’t be charged until checkout, so you can always switch payment methods when you get there.
  • Use a travel agency to help you: Travel agencies are equipped to help accommodate all of your needs. If you don’t feel comfortable calling a hotel, a travel agent will go through the entire process for you up until you leave for your trip.
  • Use a prepaid card to book your hotel: if you don’t want your bank account information connected to the hotel in any way, you could purchase a prepaid card at any major grocery store and book using the prepaid/gift card.

Parting Thoughts

Whether you don’t have credit available or you simply just prefer cash, you can absolutely book a hotel room without a card. Booking a hotel without a card requires a few extra steps, but it isn’t impossible.