The bane of a traveler's existence -- the right kind of identification and cards.
Luckily, there are ways to book airline tickets without a credit card and you can legally road trip around Europe without an International Driver's License. Here are the answers to your card-related questions.
Q: We want to pay for airline tickets to fly my daughter and grandchildren home for a visit. Is there a way to use our credit card to purchase the tickets even though the names on the tickets will be different from ours? My daughter had to recently file bankruptcy and is not allowed to have a credit card; but she does have a bank debit card in her name on our account. Could she use this in lieu of a credit card?
A: Yes, airlines do accept debit cards, or even stored value cards and some of them, such as Southwest, sell gift cards as well that can be used like cash. If you use your credit card to buy the tickets, beware however: I’ve heard of instances where, to prevent fraud, someone traveling on a ticket bought with another person’s credit card has been asked to produce the card, or at the very least speak to the person who owns the card.
Q: My husband and I are traveling to Germany and England to visit family and staying for a month. We're not sure how we will travel between those countries...car, train, or plane. If we rent a car do you have some "what not to do" advice? Also, will we need an International Driver's License?
A: If you don’t mind driving, your best option is to use a “buy back” program when renting a car. You’re not actually renting the car, you’re purchasing it for a short time (minimum 21 days). There are so many advantages to this, besides typically lower cost than renting. The buy back includes full insurance including all-important third-party liability, you get a brand new car, and much more. Some cars may be non-automatic shift however. For example, take a look at Renault’s programs here, but there are others. You won’t need an international driver’s license. Of course, taking the train is much more relaxing and can usually be faster than driving, but can be more expensive unless you qualify for senior discounts and shop carefully, and it’s less flexible. I would probably avoid flying unless you’re traveling very long distances between countries.
George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and founder of the low-airfare listing site Airfarewatchdog.com.