Summer vacation rentals and debit cards don't mix

Don't mix summer vacation and debit cards
Don't mix summer vacation and debit cards

Summer vacation season is almost upon us. But before you throw your bathing suits in a duffel bag and drop the dog off at a kennel, take time to read this advice about using your debit card while enjoying your well-deserved getaway. Make the wrong move when it comes time to pull out the plastic, and you could wind up ruining your vacation faster than a week of rain showers.

While it's commonplace to use debit cards for many purchases -- especially while traveling, when carrying a lot of cash might be unwise - there are a few types of transactions for which you should elect to use a credit card instead. Booking any kind of a reservation for your summer vacation, such as for a hotel room or rental car, should not be done with a debit card. Why? Read this average American's cautionary tale and you'll find out.

A few years ago, New Jersey resident Gary Frisch decided to enjoy what he thought would be a cheap getaway. A resort in nearby Atlantic City had sent him dan offer for a free room for a night, so he thought, "Why not?" He was required to provide a credit card for incidentals as well as the tax on the hotel room. Since he didn't plan to raid the minibar and knew that the room tax was less than $10, Frisch had no qualms about giving the booking agent his debit card number. To his surprise, the resort slapped a $200 hold on his card.