Dear Jeff,

I have $30,000 in credit card debt and have considered signing up for credit counselling, but my mom’s 75th birthday is next month, and she lives in Montreal. How do I fly from Vancouver if I don’t have access to my credit cards? You can’t fly these days with just cash!

Doug J.
Vancouver BC

First of all Doug, congratulations on taking positive steps to regain control of your finances!

Having to give up or close credit card accounts is often one of the hardest things we ask clients to do when enrolling in a debt management program. After all, there is a good chance that you have been relying on credit to cover budget short falls for quite some time.

But learning to live without credit is an important step to building a financially healthy future.

While there was a time when it was virtually impossible to book a hotel or flight without a credit card, this is no longer the case. Thanks to improved technology, you can now book both hotels and flights online using a Visa Debit Card or other bank cards with chip and pin technology.

If you feel more comfortable using credit to make these types of purchases, then I suggest looking into getting a secured credit card. These work in the same way as a traditional credit card, but you put money down up front to secure the credit. As long as you pay the balances in full and on time, a secured credit card can be a useful tool. You can not only book flights and hotels, but also rebuild your credit.

Jeffrey Schwartz
Executive Director

Jeffrey Schwartz is the Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada and President of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto (CAGT).

If you have a question about credit counselling or just about finance in general, Jeff is here to help. Send us an email with your question to [email protected]You’ll get the expert advice you need and your question may be featured here on our