Originally Posted by landphil
Don't forget gas money. Not just plastic either, carry enough cash for a couple tanks full.
I alternate cash and the debit card (don't have any credit cards).
My bank has a habit of putting a 24-hour security lock on my card if it is used to purchase fuel 3 times, so I only use it once a day for gas and use cash for the 2nd tank. I generally leave home with enough cash for gas and food for half the trip. Any cash I still have when I get home goes back to the bank.
Few things to look out for...
You never know when you'll find a station with older pumps that can't electronically scan the card. Cashier manually running the card is wide open for fraud... it happened to me in Anaheim when the system was down.
Ever since the expose on card skimmers being easily installed INSIDE of the pump (the same key operates nearly every gas pump in the country), stations have been better about maintaining the tape seals on the pumps.
No seal, or a broken seal, I pay cash.
Give the card reader a gentle tug to make sure it's not a dummy overlay that will skim the card.
Cover the keypad when inputting your PIN or ZIP.