View Full Version : Stupid question.

01-27-2012, 04:35
I tried to use the search to find the answer to no avail. Are major credit cards accepted in AT Trail towns, or are cash and debit cards the preferred payment type? The reason i ask is i am trying to decide if i should pay off my credit cards and use those on the trail, or if i will need my funds more liquid.

Thanks for the info.

01-27-2012, 05:36
Yep. Pay off your credit cards.
And then use a debit card when you can.
Save the credit card for emergencies, but try to have the funds you need.
That way, when you find out how much you enjoy hiking, you will be able to save the money for your next thru-hike that much quicker. (by staying out of debt)

01-27-2012, 08:13
My philosophy is don't spend what you don't have. I always try to use debit cards or cash. You won't have any problems in the towns down around this section of trail. :)

Papa D
01-27-2012, 08:44
Credit cards are accepted but cash is almost always preferred by smaller businesses that have to pay a fee every time you use a credit card - a $50 charge costs the vendor about $1 if you use V/M and about $2 if you use AMEX. People who provide shuttles or offer showers for $2-$3 always expect cash. I would suggest always having between $50 - $100 in cash - keep it somewhere it won't get stolen or fall out of your pack - pocket of your rain pants? under sweat band in your cap? It's not a problem to use a credit card for larger expenses on the trail - hotel rooms, restaurant meals, outfitter stores, whatever but, if you ask (and this goes for a lot of businesses on and off the trail), often, a vendor will give you a little discount if you offer to pay cash for a significant purchase - like new shoes - (and some places just don't take cards).

01-27-2012, 08:45
when you say pay off the cards do you mean cancel the card?If so,I would not cancel a card at this time just in case I needed to get bailed out(no not jail),If not yeah pay em down baby!While it is always good to have enough "Gold" to bribe the boarder guards,and some trail towns may look third world,Bank,credit,travelers checks and yes "gold" are always (most always)gladly accepted.

01-27-2012, 08:49
The guide lists some places that don't accept plastic. Best to do your own homework and know where you will need a little more cash.

Papa D
01-27-2012, 08:55
Hey - why did you (OP) title this thread "stupid question" - I think it is a most appropriate question.

Pedaling Fool
01-27-2012, 09:30
Yep. Pay off your credit cards.
And then use a debit card when you can.
Save the credit card for emergencies, but try to have the funds you need.
That way, when you find out how much you enjoy hiking, you will be able to save the money for your next thru-hike that much quicker. (by staying out of debt)This seems like the best advice.
BTW, I'm a little wary of carrying just one type of card, but if I had to choose one it'd be a Visa. I've had the worse luck with American Express, especially overseas, very few places accepted that card and it seems to me even some places here in the states don't like that card. I have no idea why, never really tried to find out why, money matters bore the hell out of me:)

01-27-2012, 09:47
Yes most of the time cards/debit are able to be used but cash is preferred. I always try to come out of hikes debt free and would recommnd a debtit card just for the fact that it is cash and when the cash is gone it is gone.

01-27-2012, 10:14
Take both a debit and credit card or two credit cards. Visa and MC are accepted pretty much everywhere, more so than AX and Discover. Thre are a couple of reasons to take multiple cards: If one of your cards winds up on a corrupted list, it will be deactivated and you will have to wait for someone to retrieve the new one from your mail and forward it to you or whatever arrangements you can make. Card magnetic strips can also get corrupted, which although the info can be manually entered, some store clerks don't know how to do. If you need to rent a car in an emergency, it's easier to do with a credit card as there is no added hold put on the card as they do with debit cards, plus many credit cards offer automatic insurance when you use them to rent a vehicle. BTW, your own auto policy likely covers you for both liability and collision in a rental car, but not for the rental company's "loss of use" (charges for not having it available for rent while being repaired/replaced).

Check to make sure none of your cards expire during your hike, and if they do get new ones issued or make arrangements to get them sent to you.

Don H
01-27-2012, 13:21
Always carry some cash, you'll need it for shuttles and donations at hostels like Kincora ect. Also other situations could arise where you will need cash. I had a case where Trent's Groceries was out of power and could only do cash transactions. I was really counting on that as a resupply so I was glad I had enough cash on me.

Shaw's Lodge and White Landing in ME doesn't take credit cards.
Had several ATM machines out of service in ME too, none were working in Stratton when I was there.

Always carry some quarters for when you come across a soda machine a hot day.

01-27-2012, 13:47
I had the most trouble using plastic in New England than any other section- not impossible but beware. Prepare to carry more cash when you hit New Hampshire and Maine.

I carried a balance on my major credit card then set up an automatic minimum payment through online banking (along with my other major household recurring expenses) and settled up my finances when I completed my thru. That way I didn't have to worry about missing a payment or trying to manage monthly bills from the trail.

You have lots of options. I learned a few tricks by researching what the RV crowd does while living on the road. Here's an example (http://www.happyvagabonds.com/Rving%20Guide/Forwarding-Banking-and-Credit-Cards.htm).


01-27-2012, 13:53
cash is always the prefered method of payment. if you have an rei credit card then you could use that at times and get money towards new gear.

01-27-2012, 15:15
I use a credit card for everything I possibly can, then have the bill auto-pay from my checking account every month. This gives me all the advantages of a debit card, while keeping the better protection offered to credit purchases. It means I also take advantage of the "float" for the month. I kept a certain amount of cash for hostels and small stores, for which I used my ATM card in towns along the way.

01-27-2012, 17:27
Cash seemed especially helpful in Maine. ATMs were rarer in Maine as well.
But plenty of places along the way accepted credit cards. You'll find it to be the same as in 'regular life' - places like Walgreens and Dollar General and major chains/motels etc. will have no problem with credit cards, and then smaller locally owned stores/hostels, etc. will be more likely cash only.